The Rebirth of Reason?
By now, most prognosticators and self-titled experts fairly uniformly agree it’s a safe bet Obama wins a second term. Of course, that’s not to say it’s a lock, and with hurricane Sandy’s impact on both early voting and Election-day numbers for people still struggling to recover, there could always be surprise results, especially if certain parties decide to activate their remote “election-machine assistance software”.
Of course, as important (and entertaining) as this election is, it’s homestretch has been trumped by the devastation wreaked by the worst storm in anyone’s memory. And in perhaps the biggest collective “aha” moment of all – the flooding of New York – finally, and permanently puts the lie to all those climate change deniers. That’s right, the oil companies and their political shills… all of whom argued so violently, and spent hundreds of millions over a decade to try and cast doubt on what all but a handful of paid scientists have been telling us – the place is getting warmer, and its making the ice melt. And when ice melts, it makes more water, which then makes the oceans overflow onto land. Hardly rocket science, and seemingly axiomatic to all but the densest and most dishonest, but you spend enough money and get enough “respected leaders” to say it aint so, and I guess at least some yokels are gonna buy it. No more though. After seeing the ocean rise up and completely cripple the entire infrastructures of power and transportation and sewage for a week, it’s plainly clear that we need to re-assess our whole approach to Mother Nature.
Turns out, Al Gore was right all along. We’ve been trashing the place, and there are some really bad repercussions in store if we don’t clean up our act. And by the way, all the pundits and politicians who mocked him mercilessly? On the wrong the side of history. Will any of them apologize to Mr. Gore and the rest of us now? Or will they simply move on and say there’s nothing we can do about it all anyway?
And the same people who denied climate change also deny economists who say that more tax breaks for the mega-rich probably would hurt, rather than help the country as a whole. And of course, these are the same guys who would like to dismantle the Federal programs which provide for disaster relief and infrastructure support. With such seemingly indefensible positions, one wonders how a party supporting them can possibly maintain any credibility whatsoever.
The good news is that the Fourth Estate seems to have finally awoken from it’s decade-long slumber. “Fact-checking” has gone from lofty ideal to regular practice – even by those “news” outlets not exactly known for their adherence to truth and logic. More and more, we are seeing a skepticism, if not an outright abandoning of the “false equivalencies” created by treating all issues as having two “equal” sides. Facts do not have two sides. Truth is truth, and the Earth is round. It goes around the Sun. Anyone who treats these or other facts established by our best scientific minds as “arguable” is is either very stupid, or worse, purposely lying to deceive those foolish enough to believe them. It’s about time we started treating falsehoods, and the people who speak them, as what they are – useless at best, harmful if left unchecked.
So why is Reason making a comeback? Because we need it to. We’ve got serious problems to address, and we need to use all the God-given smarts we’ve got to do it. Plus, don’t forget, the news channels are businesses too. And they need ratings to survive. And the people watching TV in America have changed along with the demographics of our nation. Furthermore, in coming elections, traditionally red states like Arizona, Georgia, and even Texas will be in play, meaning conservatives will either have to change their tune and expand their tent significantly, or face fading into the oblivion of irrelevance.
Of course, it’s not like the battle for Truth and Logic is anywhere near over. In fact, it’s probably still much closer to the beginning. While a few seats may get switched, no one forsees the sweeping changes in our elected representatives that one would expect to accompany such supposedly widespread dissatisfaction. The lowest approval numbers in history, the fewest laws passed of any congress in half a century, and yet somehow, we’re gonna keep these same fools in office?
The rebirth of Reason should accompany a rejection of un-Reason, but most Tea Party incumbents can likely expect to keep their jobs. There are probably a few running in your state, and maybe you know that they’ve fought against equal rights for women, gays, and immigrants. And you’ve probably heard that they got together and agreed to do all they could to make Obama fail, including refusing to deal with their Democratic counterparts in the House and Senate. But did you stop and think about just what that means?
We elected these people, in some of the toughest times anyone alive can remember, to steward our country and take care of America’s business. But instead, they chose to do nothing. And they made that choice for their own personal gain, and to see their rival fail. Now ordinarily, not doing your job as a strategy for moving up the ladder is questionable at best, but when that strategy includes making the President of the United States fail, it crosses over from lazy and ruthless to downright treasonous. Moreso than any other person or position, the success and failure of America is inextricably tied to that of our President. And anything done to purposefully make him fail is by definition also an attempt to make America fail as a nation. And for a group of folks who claim to be so darn patriotic, undermining our leader – especially during times of crisis – is quite literally an act of high treason. A very long time ago, they used to draw and quarter people for that. And not so long ago; time was, that even during the best of times, political brinksmanship was recognized as a potentially dangerous game to be played always with one eye toward averting disaster. Nowadays, it’s almost as if that disaster is courted by our most (or least) ambitious representatives.
I know this is like, over a year ago already, but please…someone…does anyone remember the debt-ceiling showdown? You know, that whole thing where certain congressmen threatened to refuse to pay America’s debts and sent the stock market plummeting and ruined America’s perfect credit rating for the first time ever? They basically played chicken with our country’s good name. It’s one thing to fight hard. It’s a whole other thing to betray the country that has entrusted you to help it out of a crisis.
So when you get ready to go vote, remember the times we live in. And remember not just who’s been part of the solution, but also who’s been all too happy for there to be problems.
K. Steven Zimmerman is a patriotic American on a Mission to Civilize who knows that Truth is always the best defense to Stupid.