the second bush term: god vs. science

When you boil it all down, the first Bush term, at least to me, seemed to be about the consolidation of corporate power and the rise of the American aristocracy. Shareholder value, deregulation and cheap labor trumped calls for clean air, sustainable business practices, and corporate responsibility at every turn. Media consolidation rules were relaxed, public lands were opened to corporate exploitation and large swaths of public sector were turned over to private industry. The shareholders of companies like Enron, Halliburton and Clear Channel were happy, and we were told that what was good from them was good for us. This, after all, was an “ownership society.” We all owned a piece of it, even if we didn’t all own stocks. To own a TV was essentially the same as owning shares in GE… Well, as I sit here thinking about what to say tonight, it occurs to me that we’re turning a corner. While these next four years will certainly hold more of the same with regard to the favoritism shown to America’s most powerful, I think the major thread isn’t going to be “corporation vs. man,” but “god vs. science.”

I don’t know that I believe it, but according to a new poll released by the Gallup organization today, only one-third of Americans believe there’s evidence of evolution. And, according to this same poll, almost one-half of all Americans believe that God created humankind just 10,000 years ago, in finished form.

So, I know it’s unlikely, but if you were looking for just one more reason to either 1) run screaming out your office window, or 2) start swimming for Cuba, there it is. Not only did 51% of your fellow Americans vote to keep the worst president in American history in the Oval Office, but they also apparently don’t believe that human history extends beyond ten thousand years into the past. (“What fossils? I don’t see any fossils.”)

So, be forewarned, it’s just a matter of time before they start collecting text books and tearing out the pages on evolution… Soon, it will be stricken from our collective memories like homosexuality and abortion.

The work’s well underway.

In 2002 the Cobb County, Georgia Board of Education began adding the following disclaimer to textbooks that dared mention evolution:

“This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered.”

Fortunately, some folks, like evolutionary biologist Colin Purrington, are fighting back, but I wonder if it’s enough.

Now that the extreme, fundamentalist right has tasted power, one wonders just how far they’ll go. Will we see legislation on creationism being championed by the Department of Education? Will we see monuments to the Ten Commandment going into our federal court buildings? According to the news, the fundamentalist assault on our nation’s landmarks has already begun. Here’s a clip from an ABC News article:

In the aftermath of the November presidential election and talk of a Bush administration mandate, some people on the right of the political spectrum believe the government has a greater responsibility to heed their views. In some cases, that means changes in the images that define the nation — including those at some of the nation’s most popular parks and monuments.

For roughly a decade, a film has been shown to visitors at Washington’s Lincoln Memorial, depicting historic events that have taken place there — from civil rights marches to antiwar demonstrations.

The film shows a number of marches with liberal themes like gay rights and abortion rights, intercut with older clips of historical figures like former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Marian Anderson.

Then, one day the Rev. Lou Sheldon saw it.

“It showed only those liberal, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual marches,” said Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition….

So now they’re demanding to have the footage removed, arguing that “special rights” for gays aren’t the same as civil rights, as championed by the likes of Dr. Martin Luther King. Of course, Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, says he would have disagreed with these people who invoke his name, but that doesn’t seem to matter.

In related news, the Parks Service at the Grand Canyon has recently been forced to sell the book “Grand Canyon: A Different View,” which contradicts well-established, accepted science, by saying that the Grand Canyon was formed by the great flood described in the Bible. Park Service employees maintain that offering the book violates their charter to promote responsible science, but that doesn’t seem to matter either.

So, if I were you, I’d go and buy a textbook on evolution this holiday season. Buy it and hide it in the basement, or bury it out in the backyard. At the rate things are changing, you never know when you might have to set up a secret reading society. (Not to sound too completely paranoid, but you might also want to pick up copies of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, as the originals are now being “safeguarded” by Diebold, the same Republican firm that owns and operates those electronic voting machines that leave no audit trail.)

Believe it or not, this post was a lot more upbeat than the one I first had in mind when I sat down here at my desk. When I first turned on my computer, I was planning to write about the coming economic disaster… or should I call it an economic Armageddon. Either way, it’s not looking good for America.

Right now, I’m tempted to take the advice of a reader by the name of Rocky and invest everything I own in Canadian and Mexican abortion clinics…

Good night, my invisible friends.

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  1. mark
    Posted November 24, 2004 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    I should have pointed out in this post that, in my opinion, there really isn

  2. Monica
    Posted November 24, 2004 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    Both the scientists and the religious are wrong anyway. The Grand Canyon was formed when Pecos Bill rode a tornado in an act of heroism.

    Hell, after reading your well-written, but rather unsmiling entry I am thankful we have nude girls to be thankful for.

  3. Tamara
    Posted November 24, 2004 at 6:15 am | Permalink

    “I don

  4. Posted November 24, 2004 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Nice…and again, our thoughts were similar.

  5. Aaron
    Posted November 24, 2004 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t agree more regarding the scarily growing role of fundamentalism in Bush Pt. II… but about your first paragraph, hasn’t the consolidation of corporate power and the neglect of the poor been accelerating since at least Reagan, with overwhelming support from Clinton? (NAFTA, free trade fast track, the decimation of welfare…) I don’t think you can say that was something new in W’s first term.

  6. mark
    Posted November 24, 2004 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    You’re right, Aaron, the push for cheap labor at all costs has been with us for a while now. I just have the sense that corporate power really came into its own with our first CEO president taking command in 2000… The same thing could be said about fundamentalism. That particular current, in it’s present form, can be traced back to the 70’s, if not even further. But, as with corporations under Bush’s first term, I get the feeling that they’re finally now coming into their own. Sure the so-scalled Moral Majority was around before, as was Wal-Mart, but it’s as though they’ve been fertilized and super-sized.

  7. Lori
    Posted November 26, 2004 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Dude, you’re killing me. Move on. We lost. Let’s look ahead. You have so much more going in your life to share with us. I just watched Obak Obama on David Letterman. HE ROCKS! We need to look ahead and not dwell on what could have been…what should have been… get on board Mark…I khow I’m from KY And all, but dude, Let’s go.

  8. Lori
    Posted November 26, 2004 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I know, barak obama. I suck.

  9. Oposnow
    Posted November 27, 2004 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    the only reason it doesn’t seem like two thirds of the country disagrees with the theory of evolution is you pick the people that suround you. i wouldn’t be suprised if the percentage was higher than that. when i moved to grand rapids a few last year i thought every one was liberal. i thought that because all of my new friends were liberal. it wasn’t until a local came around and i was like “oh shit! grand rapids isn’t as artsy fartsy as i thought it was. damn.”

  10. Tony Buttons
    Posted December 2, 2004 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I respectfully disagree with Lori. This is not the time to “move on.” We did that in 2000 and look where it got us in 2004. No, we tried moving on. We allowed Bush to run our country for four years in spite of the fact that he hadn’t won the election (even the Wall Street Journal has conceded the fact that Gore would have won Florida in 2000 in a state-wide recount, and thus the presidency). No, this is definitely not a time to move on. This the time to reflect on lessons learned and plot strategy.

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