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Saturday, July 16, 2005
Can I have my country back?
I spent my formative years under Republican governments. I saw the "end" of the Cold War. I saw the decade end when it seemed the world could change in the blink of an eye. I remember Reagan and Bush I. I remember lots of fear under those administrations.
Fear of the Russians. Fear of the Japanese. Fear of economic collapse. Fear of atomic destruction.
I don't know what it was like to grow up during the Eisenhower administration, or what it was like during Nixon/Viet Nam, but I do know what government-sponsored fear feels like. It feels like it feels today.
I remember when "Challenger" exploded on launch. I remember what it was like to have to change my lifelong goal in an instant. Yeah, I was only in 3rd Grade, but, when you have spent your entire life up to that point wanting to be an astronaut, it shakes you to your core. I hadn't processed the fact that to be an astronaut, you had to be enlisted in the Air Force. I just knew that going to space was what I was going to do. I still intend on doing so. Someday.
Anyway, Space Shuttle blows up. So it goes. One of my classmates (who is now a cardiologist), in an effort to (presumably) a) comfort my sissified tears and b) make sense of the situation himself, suggests that perhaps The Russians blew Challenger up.
"Of course!", I thought. Incorrectly.
I'm fortunate in the fact that I grew up in a household that didn't place any emphasis on race or ethnicity. I didn't grow up in a home that preached any sort of ideology. I went to church (LCMS) every Sunday, but also watched "Nova" and "Cosmos" on PBS. I got jack shit for pop culture ('cept for "The Muppet Show"), but learned to think critically at an early age.
So why the hell did I grab onto the Russian theory? I needed something. Something to explain what turned out to be a terrible accident. My acceptance of the Russian theory was short-lived, of course, but I remember it vividly.
I remember the xenophobia that was taught during Republican administrations. I remember being in Kindergarten.
"Do you know where people aren't free?" asked Mrs. Neal.
"Russia!" shouted my classmates.
I was confused. I didn't know that Russia existed, much less that it wasn't free. I was short-changed in that department, I guess. Which was and is just fine with me.
I am not, and can not be, "patriotic" like Toby Keith. Even in Elementary School, I hated that damned Lee Greenwood song. It's a shitty song by any standard, but the lyrics are especially terrible. Did people sacrifice their lives in wars? Yes, they did. Did they die for our country? Golly, I hope not. I hope they died trying to keep their family and friends safe. I hope they died to bring justice to the world. I hope that they died to right wrongs. I hope they didn't die for our country or our flag. That would be a waste of life.
While I'm here, I want to go on the record as saying that I oppose with all my being an anti-flag burning amendment to the Constitution. Unless protection is extended to other religious and quasi-religious symbols, I am against it. And don't try to tell me that THE AMERICAN FLAG is not a quasi-religious symbol. It clearly is.
"But, it's not about the Flag. It's what the Flag stands for," you say. Replace the word "Flag" with the word "Cross" or "Icon" or "Saint".
The current administration seems to want do nothing but cultivate fear. They talk about the terrorists, and say that we shouldn't fear them, yet we have a color-coded "terror alert" scale. Go about your daily routine, but report anything suspicious. The mission has been accomplished, but it might last as long as 10 more years.
So, can we drop the fucking facade of Intelligent Design yet?
Yes, Darwinian evolution is a theory. At least it has other sciences backing it up.
ID teaches that the Grand Canyon could have been formed during the Great Flood. Except that it is not physically possible to erode granite that quickly. ID ignores the last 20 years of genetic research. ID teaches an absolutist, or Calvinist, approach to science. If one thing is wrong, everything is wrong.
I am not disputing the notion that Darwinian evolution is a theory. Know what else is a theory? Gravity.
We don't know what causes gravity, apart from the fact that it seems to be related to mass somehow. We don't know how gravity is transmitted, we don't know how fast gravity moves, we don't even know if gravity is an attractive force under every circumstance.
As far as we know, everything in the universe is composed of particles -- photons, quarks, protons, electrons, neutrons. What is gravity made of? We think that it's made of gravitons, but we've never seen a graviton.
We also don't know for a fact that germs cause diseases. If you would do a comprehensive blood screen on me my right now, you would find any number of diseases that I am currently not infected by. I do not have a staph infection right now, nor do I have a cold. Typhoid Mary never actually had typhus.
So, should we stop teaching about gravity and germs in schools? They're just theories, after all, and should be regarded critically.
Comments by: YACCS