23 October 2005

This Modern United States

A post on Free the Hops's new board reminded me of my previous passion for the evolution/creationism "controversy", and so I started wandering over to The Panda's Thumb and checking out some of their archives. While there, I discovered a really interesting Response to a very interesting Tech Central Station article about the future of the Intelligent Design movement.

The original article (it's short, and worth reading, especially for those who disagree with the ID movement in general) is essentially about politics, listing a number of reasons why Intelligent Design is likely to eventually triumph over evolutionary biology in the not-too-distant future. The author, Douglas Kern, doesn't make any scientific arguments in favor of ID, but rather speaks largely in social terms, and on those terms he is probably --scarily-- correct. Here's the first part of his argument:

ID will win because it's a religion-friendly, conservative-friendly, red-state kind of theory, and no one will lose money betting on the success of red-state theories in the next fifty to one hundred years.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: families that reproduce people tend to reproduce ideas, as well. The most vocal non-scientist proponents of ID are those delightfully fertile Catholics, Evangelicals, and similarly right-leaning middle-class college-educated folk -- the kind whose children will inherit the country. Eventually, the social right will have the sheer manpower to teach ID wherever they please.

(Read the above-linked response, as well, for the author there deals quite nicely with the substance of this post, better than I'm going to do today.)

This reminds me of the very depressing fact that the country as a whole is leaning in a much more conservative direction, particularly on religious and social issues, and that secular liberals like myself are, quite frankly, largely outnumbered and have virtually no political power on the national level today. What's more, the argument above figures that the conservative movement as a whole will simply walk right over constitutional limits on, say, church-state issues, simply in order to get their ideology in place.

All of which I obviously disagree with, but which I must reluctantly agree is a likely course of future history. Theocracy encroaches slowly but surely, and what we have in the past believed were largely settled rights will probably become history lessons to my future children, and to Camden Thomas Harper.

All of which reminds me of a post that I made to the talk.origins newsgroup the day after the 2004 presidential election, mere minutes after the race had been more-or-less decided for George W. Bush. I'm going to link to the thread on Google Groups, and also quote it in full for those who dislike the Google interface.

I apologize for this, but I don't have a lot of moral support in my area, and I think I can keep this at least marginally on-topic, so please hold the anti-election flames.

Right now it's right at nine o'clock Central Time, and the final vote tallies haven't been done up yet. CNN has projected 254 electoral votes for Bush, 252 for Kerry, with Iowa, New Mexico, and Ohio being still outstanding. Iowa and New Mexico could go either way as far as the electoral college is concerned -- the big winner will be whoever gets Ohio's 20 electoral votes. The Kerry camp is talking about waiting for provisional ballots and overseas ballots, and that may very well be a significant factor here.

Unfortunately, the margin looks to be too large -- Bush is a little over a hundred thousand votes ahead in Ohio, and the provisionals would have to be overwhelmingly in support of Kerry in order for it to swing the election. As depressing as it is, absent evidence of major voter fraud as happened in Florida in 2000, or some numerical miracle in Ohio, George W. Bush will continue to be the President of the United States.

God help us all.

There are a lot of things that contributed to this event, not the least of which is that the electoral map shifted even more in Bush's favor, allowing for Kerry to actually pick up a state that Gore won in 2000 (New Hampshire), while losing the electoral college. At least Bush actually won the popular vote this time -- again, absent major vote fraud, it looks like Bush won the popular vote by something like three and half million votes.

Three and a half fucking million votes.

CNN pundits have been talking about the turnout issue (this is the highest turnout we've ever had), and while high turnouts tend to favor Democrats, in this case the majority of new voters look to be Republicans. It appears that Karl Rove organized major "get-out-the-vote" campaigns through evangelical churches, based primarily on ballot initiatives on social issues like abortion and, most especially, gay marriage.

In other words, Bush and Rove used the evangelical community's dislike of homosexuality to get out the vote and put themselves over the top. (Estimates are that somewhere around four million evangelicals didn't vote in 2000 -- add four million to Bush's 2000 vote difference with Gore and
you get approximately Bush's lead over Kerry.) I have no particular beef with those like Klaus Hellnick and Fred Stone who sincerely believe that Bush is the better man to run the country (although I wholeheartedly disagree), but at least a point of view like theirs is honest and reasoned. Bush and Rove didn't rely on people like Klaus and Fred to win this election -- they traded on bigotry and fear. On hatred just as nasty and virulent as the hatred that led Southerners to vote Dixiecrat sixty or seventy years ago, just with a different target.

It quite honestly disgusts me to the pit of my soul, and I am ashamed of my country that it has stooped to this level. May the rest of the world, and history, please forgive us.

One final note, and then I'll shut up. That douchebag Robert Novak was talking last night about how the Democratic party needed to reconsider the candidates they put out, the platform they embraced, that the country is more and more conservative, and that flaming liberals like John Kerry wouldn't be able to win the support of rural voters. That's a load of bull -- Barack Obama (the huge success story of the 2004 election, the new Senator from Illinois) was voted in on huge margins, with good numbers from even the most rural areas of his state. The problem is not the candidates, but they way they're packaged and the way campaigns are run -- Bush and Rove simply ran a killer campaign, with all the negative ads, all the mudslinging, and all the fearmongering that was needed to stay in office.

A girl that I work with yesterday said that Kerry was an atheist. How much longer are we going to let ignorance and propaganda run our electoral process?

I'm done. Hate mail to the listed addy -- unmung it if you want to be supportive. :->

[snip signature]

And which makes me think of one more thing, from the web comic I Drew This. It expresses perfectly what I felt on that fateful morning, and how I look at the world when I am depressed about the state of civilization in this country.

The Day After.

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