I think that we have just gotten a wake-up call and are too deaf to hear it. Is this possible? I think so. As you know, the Iranians just captured one of our multi-billion dollar spy drones. It didn’t crash in Iran. It landed. Perfectly! They have it completely intact. They are examining it. They are reverse-engineering it. And they are selling views of it the highest bidders — China, and Russia no doubt. Maybe a few others.
Bad luck? I don’t think so. I believe that their computer scientists were able to hack into our software that we use to control the drone and take it over. This drone represents some of the most cutting edge technology that we have. We JUST introduced it to the battlefield and the Iranians already were able to grab one. We listen to people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and some of the mullahs and think that all of Iran is like that. We ignore the fact that they have competent nuclear scientists. We ignore the fact that they have successfully reverse engineered some top of the line Russian anti-aircraft missiles. We ignore the fact that they have successfully launched a military satellite. The list goes on — but we Americans are so smug that we feel that no matter what we do, some mystical being is watching over us. Don’t be so sure.
I remember as a student in high school when the Russians launched the first man-made satellite — Sputnik. At the time, by accident, we might have had some adults in government. Nobody blamed congress (the house and the senate both had a Democratic majority), nobody blamed President Eisenhower, a Republican. Our congress and president realized that we had a problem that needed to be addressed. We recognized that we were beginning to really lag behind the Soviet Union in the field of science and that the federal government needed to step in and try to encourage the teaching of teachers to teach science as well as encouraging students to want to major in science and engineering. It was at that time that I decided that science would be my life. I never regretted it.
I remember at the time that there were a few of the ultra conservatives in our government who fought the idea of raising our educational standards. It is easy to understand why. Bettering our educational standards also increases critical thinking. It gives you the mental tools to be able to take what you read, listen, and see, and make intelligent judgements. Religion, under those circumstances, usually doesn’t fare very well. Our output of scientists and engineers did increase. The cold war was brought to a successful termination, and we all lived happily ever after.
Well, maybe not so happy. Our educational system is now probably worse than it has ever been. We are not doing anywhere near enough to reverse course. With the number of conservatives in our government we are not likely to reverse course any time soon. There is a lot of brain power that is being lost in the inner cities because we couldn’t care less. We have teachers unions with absolutely incompetent leaders — as well as some incompetent teachers. They don’t seem to care about the standards in the schools. There are too many people who think that we can improve our schools by undercutting science and teaching biblical nonsense and other fairytales as if they were “truth”.
So then, let’s look at the product of our failed schools: Two thousand US economists and climate scientists including eight Nobel laureates have sent a letter to the congress urging lawmakers to enact immediate cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions. In rebuttal, Representative John Shimkus, read the bible — and entered it into the congressional record — to “prove” that global warming is a hoax. He ended his reading with the following: “The earth will end only when God declares its time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth. This earth will not be destroyed by a flood.” He questions spending on elimination of greenhouse gasses because he feels that god’s guarantee is good enough for him. Shimkus has said, “I do believe God’s word is infallible, unchanging, perfect.” This is the sort of people that we elect. This man is an embarrassment to our nation! He is also a product of our failed schools, and, by the way, he was also a high school teacher. I wonder what he taught his students.
I hope it isn’t true but it may be that we have passed the point of no return. It is just amazing to me to observe that a lot of Americans were not surprised and really didn’t seem to care when the former Republican candidate Herman Cain demonstrated his breathtaking ignorance of the world around him. They really didn’t care. He only got himself into trouble when people heard about his sexual affairs. Yes, he is a pig when dealing with women. This is important. But when we have a person who wants to be President of the United States, isn’t his knowledge of the world somewhat important? Have our schools given us the mental tools to judge degrees of importance?
The events in Libya are — or should have been — very important to us because a lot of our fellow human beings were getting killed. One of the longest reigning dictators in the world was getting overthrown, Libya’s oil production affects the entire world. So then, what did we Americans concentrate on? Well, from June 2011 it was the death of Michael Jackson. I had to get most of my information on the goings on in Libya by reading Al Jazeera (www.aljazeera.com). They are good. They are very good! Why wasn’t it better covered on CNN? CNN knows that we really don’t care. They knew that Michael Jackson 24/7 was the only thing that would increase their ratings. That’s sad.
So we have our problems cut out for us. Our candidates are the “solution people”. Let’s see what these products of our failed system are proposing:
1. Put prayer back in the schools. Let’s take constitutional rights away from people that we don’t like. Maybe god will be less upset with us.
2. Teach creationism — this should make sure that we place the curing of disease and discovering new medicines back where it rightly belongs: in the hands of god!
3. Let the local communities decide what should be taught. If a community wants to have all New Testament 24/7, well why not? For the occasional Jew, Muslim, Mormon, etc., just tell them that if they don’t like it they should move somewhere else.
4. Decide whether Mormonism is really a Christian Religion — this is hugely important. It surely will decide the fate of Western Civilization.
5. Arrest judges who don’t agree with our president or congress — better yet, let’s get rid of the court system. This is a tried and true solution. Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has been doing this for a number of years. The idea of having three branches (executive, legislative, and judicial) is an anachronism. How about just a god-fearing, white, Christian Republican president? For example, “Marryin” Newt Gingrich, the serial husband.
6. Give Wall Street the freedom that they need to institute another depression. What good is the middle class anyway. All they seem to do is complain.
7. Default on our financial obligations — If the Chinese or Saudis don’t buy our bonds, no problem, we’ll just print more money. That should fix everything.
8. Institute a flat tax — every time someone proposes a flat tax, the newspapers, economists, etc., are always able to show that this “flat tax” would have to be so high in order to collect the money that the government needs to operate that it would wipe out the poor and the middle class. We see this happening. Our taxes are becoming flatter and we see what is happening to the middle class. Yet, it seems that in every campaign there is someone who proposes it again. Are they stupid or is it us? I am afraid it is us.
9. Lower our taxes. Somehow that is going to create more jobs. As it is we can’t pay for our deteriorating roads, our collapsing bridges, our schools.
10. Repeal “Obamacare”. After all, if a poor person without insurance gets cancer, well, tough, he made the decision not only to be poor, but to get cancer, too. How dumb can you get?
Our candidates avoid talking about what they owe to the people who are giving them huge sums of money for their campaign. What kind of payback do those people expect? You don’t donate millions to the political system just because you are a nice guy. You want a return on that money. That return will be at our expense.
The people that you are watching on TV, Bachman, Gingrich, Romney, Santorum, Perry, Huntsman, are vying to be President of the United States. These are people who were willing to see the US go bankrupt, give Wall Street another shot at destroying the United States, arrest judges that they don’t agree with, remove gays from the military, etc. These people, all products of our educational system, are fit to be on “Saturday Night Live”, but are certainly not fit to be in the White House.
Maybe we should start outsourcing our political leaders. Just a thought.