Speaking of Surveys…

It’s not like more evidence was required that the adult U.S. population consists of way too many people who are little more than intellectual mirror foggers, but here ya go:

Six years after the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S., it seems the media still have some educational work to do. A new CBS/New York Times poll reveals that even today, 1 in 3 Americans believe that “Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the September 11th, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”

This notion was thoroughly debunked by official sources, including those in the White House, years ago, but the myth endures. Polls have shown that belief in this untruth was a prime component in support for the attack on Iraq.

Four in 10 Republicans still hold this view, compared with 32% of Independents and 27% of Democrats.

No Adult Left Behind

A recent survey by the non-partisan First Amendment Center may be the most disturbing thing I’ve read in quite some time. It finds that 55% of Americans believe that our Constitution establishes a Christian nation. Further, 75% of people who self identify as evangelicals or Republicans believe the founders created a Christian nation. Minimally, the irony that we are spending blood and treasure to create a secular democracy in Iraq while believing that we ourselves do not live in such a state is a bit much to bear.

Also disturbing is that 44% believe that freedom of religion does not apply to all groups regardless of how extreme their positions are. Granted, there is a lot of interpretation left to the definition of “extreme”. I suppose that many could have interpreted that to mean religions practicing otherwise illegal behavior (e.g. sacrifices), but in a post-9/11 world, you have to wonder how many respondents interpret Islam to be “extreme”.

And finally, half believe that teachers should be allowed to use the bible as a factual text in history class. Not only are a majority of Americans ignorant, but they are adamant about passing that ignorance on to the next generation. How do we progress as a nation, when the majority of the population exhibits intellectual disingenuousness in spades? Let me be clear here. There exist mountains of evidence that the bible is not a factual accounting of history. Aspects are based on real events, but it’s hardly a history book. Excepting a few hardcore evangelicals, even biblical scholars agree with this position. Which is not to say the bible is without value. As a philosophy or theology text, it is without equal. But that does not make it a history or science textbook. So for a person to claim that it should be used as such is to assert that this person is capable of ignoring any information, data, or evidence which does not fit his preconception of reality. This is virtually the definition of ignorance. It certainly is not a position taken by a learned person.

It is bad enough that as a nation we are ignorant. It is quite another that we seem to take pride in that fact. Embracing intellectualism does not mean that religion must be rejected. Religion plays many roles, only one of which is easing fears of the unknown. As the body of human knowledge has increased, religion has yielded that ground. Fears subsided with understanding. Solar eclipses are no longer messages from an angry god. But there are mysteries to which man will likely never know the answer. What happens when I die? Is there a greater purpose to my life? Religion fills a void in many people’s lives by providing comforting answers to these quandaries. And religion plays many other valuable societal roles as well. There is no reason that it needs to be an intellectual anchor to 2000 year old understandings of history and science.

We worry as a nation that we are leaving some of our children scholastically behind. Maybe the place to start is by the adults leading the way out of the dark intellectual abyss in which we find ourselves.

Mercer for President in 2008

Have you overdosed on Obama’s charisma, independent of Oprah’s opinion? Does the idea of a Clinton co-presidency just seem like pre-loading Sean Hannity’s cannon for him? Is John Edwards just more and better hair than you were really looking for in a world leader?

Then perhaps you should be looking to support an alternative Democratic candidate for President. May I suggest Lee L. Mercer Jr.?? Mercer’s platform is simple. Well, it’s short anyway… if not a tad abstruse. But minimally the statement verifies Mercer as a master of obfuscation.

My platform for President of the United States Of America is Criminal Law. It is developed from my Method of Education. I was ordered to create and or invent by the United States Army that is now intact regulating the United States Government protecting it through Military Intelligence Computerization Management a new Disipline I invented and the Administration of Criminal Law Laws across the board.

Mercer clearly comes qualified. According to his bio:

I have a doctor degree Phd. as a doctor of laws, medicine ( not practitioner of medicine, i.e. physicians, surgeons), theology, management, engineering and other subjects that are guaranteed by the United States Army in ROTC to be presented to me in a court of Law only.

He also appears to have a firm grasp on the wispy threads of reality that must wander through his feeble mind now and again. His position on the Iraq war is a paragon of lucidity.

There is some concern about the war in Iraq. I know of U.S. government evidence that the war in Iraq is illegal and it can be solved through me representing the United States Government with a peace treaty. I know there are notations in my ROTC Biography of a guarantee from Iraq through me for peace to the war in Iraq and that Mr. Hussein is innocent of his charges.

Since the current administration has rejected Baker-Hamilton, but is allegedly open to other strategies which do not actually alter the current course of events, perhaps they could deploy Mr. Mercer in advance of his shoe-in election as a special envoy to negotiate an Iraqi peace accord. I’m sure The Daily Show would sponsor the event.

But wait… don’t contribute yet. Not until you’ve read Mercer’s position on the discipline of the US government economy and the US public’s economy:

There is concern about the U.S. Government Economy and the US Public’s Economy enforcements. I will enforce the U.S. Government’s Economy and the US Public’s Economy regulating its enforcements itself with its regulations pretaining to itself and according to it’s enforcements to maintain 100% effectiveness with my tools.

Makes you wanna cry, doesn’t it? You gotta love a guy with 100% effective tools, and who’s not afraid to deploy them to regulate self-enforcement. I just know the world will be a better place (well, at least a funnier one) if we can just rally behind Mercer and get him in office. Get those credit cards out folks. This guy’s goin’ all the way… somewhere.

The Anti-Decider

In stark contrast to Bush’s leadership role as “The Decider”, the embattled, maybe soon to be former, and intermittently guilty Senator Larry Craig has now announced that maybe he shouldn’t have decided to resign either. Does this man understand the concept of a decision? Sure, maybe he was pushed to plead guilty to the sex sting. Maybe he was pushed to resign by his colleagues who wanted a little political cover and distance. But in both cases, the man rolled over and decided to accept those respective fates. Only to apparently find out later (presumably when yet other external forces acted on him) that there were options unexplored and he’d like to take a mulligan.

This man is a U.S. Senator. He is (allegedly) one of the top leaders in the country. That should imply some ability to comprehend the nuances and implications of the decision making process. That’s what leaders do, they decide, and they live with the implications of their decisions.

The question at this point is not whether he committed a crime in an airport bathroom. The question is, do his actions and behaviors demonstrate the skills and competencies of a Senator? I would content they do not. Should he have to resign? No. But at this point he is an embarrassment to Congress, to the state of Idaho, and I would assume to his wife. Maybe he should be thinking about all those people and institutions he swore to represent, and do the right thing for them, not the right thing for Larry Craig.