Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Christine O'Donnell isn't a scientist, a lawyer, or smarter than a 5th Grader.
I was at work when this story shot out across the Intertubes, so I wasn't able to see the video. The transcript alone had me kind of amazed: damn, she's uninformed. But the video itself is what's so incredible:
When the law students are laughing, she thinks they are laughing with her, not at her. She thought she made a point! And sadly, I think I know which one.
Religious fundamentalists just don't believe in separation of church and state. You can't make them. They won't hear it. They'll teach the opposite. If you look at guys like Robertson or Falwell and the like and things they have said and written, they go out of their way to disregard anything extraneous any of the Founding Fathers ever said about "separation of church and state", and just concentrate on how that phrase itself isn't in the Constitution. They don't bother to work with the very first line in the First Amendment--sometimes referred to as the establishment clause, which has historically been the basis for court rulings regarding the rejection of prayer in public schools and more recently and germane, the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District decision, which established that ID basically was religion, not science, and had no place in our schools.
As far as many fundamentalists are concerned, such rulings must mean "activist judges". And it isn't sheer ignorance--some of the people who hold this view are folks like former judge Roy Moore, of the Ten Commandments display fame, who seems to reject the First Amendment about as easily as he unwittingly rejected the First Commandment when he made a great big graven image of the Decalogue into the centerpiece of his life. (He's headed to Iowa to try and get some judges unseated for their surprising decision that equal rights for all means just that with respect to marriage equality. He's loonier than a tree full of gaviidae. Which aren't even likely to hang out in trees, which is saying something.)
And she doesn't know what the scientific meaning of "theory" is, and I'm not giving anyone the satisfaction of Wikipedia copy-pasta-ing it, except to say "Dear Christine, there is a 'theory of gravity', too, but you wouldn't jump out a window on the off-chance it's bollocks, would you?" But that's another point of common ignorance. She is not alone in not understanding what a theory is, anymore than she's alone in not understanding the Constitution or history, or the birds and the bees and.....
I know that there are subgeniuses from, say, Regent or Liberty University populating places of some influence in government right now, no better intellectually equipped than Christine O'Donnell, that probably were appointed under the Bush Administration and burrowed in, who we just don't know about and who go along their mentally misshapen way because they have simply never been exposed as totally stupid because they never ran for office before. Or they have run for office and got re-elected because their constituents couldn't tell they were damn-near illiterate regarding the issues (Louie Gohmert! Michele Bachmann!)
It's a big deal to me. It's the same kind of stupid that ruins the climate change debate, too. It affects damn near everything. Give Dick Cheney or David Addington a pop quiz on what "separation of powers" actually means. See what happens; the Bagram-ization of Gitmo, the Gitmo-ization of Abu Ghraib? A relationship to written law as irrelevant and due process as peculiar? A secrecy and a devotion to executive privilege that borders on the occult?
Yeah--this isn't about just "Oh wacky Christine O'Donnell, she doesn't know stuff!"
This pervasiveness of ignorance, and the celebration of it, actually worries me more than Christine O'Donnell does. I'm re-filling my damn drink.