MNGOP Rep. Jim Newberger compares anti-bullying bill to Orwell's 1984 [VIDEO]
Hyperbole was taken to hard-to-top heights this afternoon on the House floor as Rep. Jim Newberger, R-Becker, compared the Safe and Supportive Minnesota Schools Act to the dystopian society described by George Orwell in his classic novel, 1984.
Newberger's main concern is a provision in the Safe Schools Act that defines bullying, in part, as "use of electronic technology and communications off the school premises to the extent such use substantially and materially disrupts student learning or the school environment."
"So if it has a battery, the Democrats want access into your private life," Newberger said. "If this isn't a mirror image of 1984, I don't know what is."
"Do you have children who play games on the internet? Do you have an Xbox or a PS2 in your home?" he continued. "Do they play against other children in their school? Can they text and chat while they're doing so? If they do so while they're machine-gunning and shooting and playing all of these games that are sci-fi or military in nature and they start trash-talking each other and that's over the internet and that's at 11 o'clock on a Sunday night, guess what? That would apply to you. Didn't think about the Xbox issue, did you? But it's there... this is 1984."
Much like Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, told us during a conversation last month, Newberger also took exception to a clause in the bill that characterizes "intentional infliction of emotional distress against a student" as bullying behavior.
"Members, people of Minnesota, if you're a teenager you're in emotional distress," Newberger said. "Name one who isn't."
Toward the end of his speech, Newberger said we should encourage Minnesota kids to treat bullies not in the appeasing way Great Britain treated Hitler, but in the ass-kicking way America did.
(For more, click to page two.)
"Finally we had to stand up to the guy and it cost millions of lives," Newberger said. "We stood up to the biggest bully on the planet, so standing up to bullies is necessary, whether it's Adolf Hitler or the big kid down the street."
The same lesson applied to Newberger's childhood, or at least so he says.
"One of the most memorable days of my life as a child was in the 6th grade when the school bully got his clock cleaned," Newberger continued. "He learned a lesson and I learned one too. If you stand up to bullies, you learn from it, you win."
Newberger closed it out by blasting Democrats for putting the very fabric of Minnesota society at risk.
"Democrats have created the Thought Police. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, they will have access and control to your children in your home, on your computer, on your iPad, on your notebook, on your cell phone, and, oh yes, even on your video games 'cause kids talk on those," Newberger said. "George Orwell was wrong. It's not 1984. But George Orwell was right, it's 2014... Big Brother is here."
Here's the video of all that:
Newberger wasn't the only Republican getting hyperbolic during the Safe Schools debate:
-- Stephanie Fenner (@stephfenner) April 8, 2014
The bill has already passed in the Senate. As we publish this, the House debate is ongoing. We'll update to let you know how the vote turns out whenever Republicans tire of talking about dystopia, Hitler, fascists, and whatever else. (Update -- the bill was approved after about 12 hours of debate. Read our follow-up post here.)
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