OK, my last several posts have been long, highly structured, and took days to think through. But there are a lot of important things to say.
McCain and Palin are a threat to the future of America, not because of who they are or what they’ll do, but because of the thinking by which people consider them acceptable leaders of our country.
The job of vice president was fairly trivial as recently as the mid Nineties. But Al Gore and Dick Cheney have turned it into a significant (in Cheney’s case, dominant) part of the Executive branch. In most jobs of significant importance in America, a hiring manager would want to see extraordinary talent, significant experience, and a thorough understanding of the task at hand. No CEO would hire a global vice president who had, say, 18 months as a division manager after four years running a retail store. It’s lunacy.
Similarly, the job of President has been to run the country on the behalf of the American people. Even though it’s a partisan position, the job is to govern the country, and to hire someone with a marked distaste for governance would also be lunacy.
The twenty-first century fundamentalist conservatives have been so spurred to hate taxes and abortion that they are willing to sacrifice virtually all other American values to eliminate them. And this is a danger to the Republic.
Conservatives have been told that the colleges are liberal brainwashing factories. How will America compete with Germany and Japan if our people do not respect a college education?
Conservatives have been told that evolution is “just a theory,” the consensus on global climate change is “disputed,” and that one’s own beliefs and sense of the weather should be considered on par with the collective research and conclusion of thousands of trained professionals over centuries. How can we excel as a nation if our people are told to disbelieve science?
Conservatives have been told that the media are “liberal” and cannot be trusted, and that everything they hear from the media is a lie. Then when the media try to point out clear, obvious, bald-faced absolute contradictions of cold, hard, truth, it falls of deaf ears, conditioned to ignore them. How can we trust our government when we are told to disbelieve anyone who speaks against it?
Conservatives have been told that the path to national greatness is through personal wealth, and we should do whatever we can to become wealthy and to honor and promote the wealth of others. Eliminate the estate tax, which only 440 estates paid in 2004! Because when you’re rich, you wouldn’t want to be taxed like that! But the price of this is hideous income inequality, a slipping middle class, and a rising poverty class. How can we increase our wealth as a nation if we’re being told to help the wealthy at the expense of everyone else?
Conservatives have been told “government is the problem.” Every Republican candidate has campaigned to reduce regulation and make government smaller, and has succeeded on the former and failed on the latter. But deregulation has brought the energy crisis, the mortgage crisis, the S&L crisis, and the healthcare crisis. How can we govern this country if we are being told that government should not exist, when the effects of the lack of governance are so profound?
This is our decision. If McCain and Palin are elected, we’ve chosen as a country to turn our backs on knowledge, science, truth, community, and governance. Those are liberal values. The conservative base treats them with derision and scorn. Our position as the leader of Western civilization is at stake.