I’m pretty confident in saying that only a Republican could be this mushbrained and callous. A group of New Hampshire kids wanted to get a lesson in politics, and so drafted a bill that would make the red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) the Official State Raptor. (I’m sure Stephen Barnard would be on board with this). But in this crazy country of right-wing loons, here’s what happened next. PuffHo reports:
A New Hampshire Republican lawmaker said last week that he strongly opposed a bill drafted by local fourth-graders to establish the Red-Tailed Hawk as the “State Raptor” because the predator bird reminds him of an abortion provider.
The hawk “grasps them with its talons then uses its razor-sharp beak to basically tear it apart limb by limb,” State Rep. Warren Groen (R) said on the House floor as the class of 10-year-old students watched from the gallery. “And I guess the shame about making this a state bird is it would serve as a much better mascot for Planned Parenthood.”
The fourth-graders from Lincoln Akerman School in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, had drafted House Bill 373 as part of a lesson on how politics work. Lawmakers rejected the bill in front of the students by a vote of 133 to 160, with some arguing that the legislation was unnecessary.
“Do we need a state waterfowl, a state pet bird, a state wild bird?” Groen told The Huffington Post in a phone interview. “How many types of birds do we need?”
Groen said he directed the abortion metaphor at the adults in the room, not at the kids, although he knew the students were there watching. “The selective outrage about this I find quite curious,” he said. “Every week in Manchester, the fourth-grade class from 2025 is killed out. Babies that would be 10 years old and in fourth grade 10 years from now are aborted in Manchester, and there’s no outrage.”
Seriously, if you were to write a comedy script about Republican political foot-in-mouth syndrome, it would be this one. But you probably wouldn’t be so imaginative! I can only echo the statement of one of the student’s parents: “”I am ashamed of these people we call our representatives.”
Here’s a funny video by John Oliver, the British political satirist, about this debacle, showing some of the House debate. A live specimen of Buteo jamaicensis appears at 2:50, which he proclaims as the Official Raptor of his Show (“Last Week Tonight”). It’s followed by a video honoring the bird. Be sure you watch it all, because there’s some really nice raptor footage in here:
h/t: Robin, Mark