As Bogart has repeatedly pointed out, I'm a pretty big firebomber when it comes to politics. That said, I would really would like to have a legitimate conversation about politics and policy in this country, and try to come up with solutions to problems. With that in mind, the following includes sad truths that conservatives must accept. I invite my conservative readers (all three of you - which is about half of my regular readership) to pen a similar post, and I will post it on this blog. So here goes:
Sad Truths That Conservatives Must Accept
1. Obama was born in the United States
Sure, Obama has a funny name, a weird personal history, and all that. But let's be clear, his birth certificate says he was born in Hawaii, the local papers announced his birth as being in Hawaii back in the 1960's, and the Governor of Hawaii (who was friends with Obama's parents) remembers visiting Obama's parents in a Honolulu hospital. The dude was born in the States. Get over it.
2. Obama is a Christian
Look, I'll concede that Obama's father and stepfather were, at least in theory, Muslims, but its also clear that Obama was raised by his Christian grandparents, and by the time he was starting out as an organizer in Chicago, he was pretty much agnostic. He then converted to Christianity, not for show, but for real. Remember the whole Jeremiah Wright thing? Obama credited the guy with converting him, which is why he didn't immediately throw Wright under the bus - and instead gave one of the most reasoned, impassioned speeches on race in America, ever. If you listen to his speeches, he refers to the Bible (the Christian Bible) over and over again.
3. Evolution is Real
For those of you out there that think that evolution is "just a theory" keep this in mind - evolution, the process by which organisms change to suit their surroundings has been observed thousands of times in thousands of conditions. In other words, species evolve. The only theoretical part about evolution is the how. Does it occur all at once or gradually? What are the mechanisms that cause it to happen? Why do some species evolve and others do not? But there is no question whatsoever that evolution is real, and that its occurring.
4. Global Climate Change is Real
First of all, as a San Diegan who went through an entire summer where the Sun did not come out at all, I can tell you that the weather is totally bizarre lately. We've seen bigger than ever storms, severe droughts, crazy shit all over. Now, what's causing the craziness? The overall temperature of the Earth is warming, which means there's more heat than before, and heat is energy, and energy makes shit go crazy. That's physics 101. So, what's causing increase in heat? Well, there's more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than before - something that has been measured by scientists over the past 50 years, and studied by measuring the carbon dioxide levels in air trapped in glaciers. So, what's causing the carbon dioxide? Well, let's see: carbon dioxide is created when carbon burns, and in the past 150 years, human beings have gotten really, really good at burning carbon, and the population of humans has quadrupled. All of this comes from science. Not science paid for by oil companies, but from independent scientists. And here's the thing, before a scientist can publish his results, he/she has to make sure everything is perfect so that other scientists can reproduce his or her results. In other words, a good scientific paper is like a cake recipe - its worth is in being able to show the same findings over and over again.
5. Fox News is Lying to You
Fox News likes to tell its viewers that its news is fair and balanced. Its not. On a regular basis, Fox tells its reporters and on-air personalities to shade the truth. Check this out. The whole, Obama is a socialist meme is fake. If anything, Obama is a cross between a New Deal Democrat and a Clintonian, pro-business Dem. Anyway, this makes sense because Fox News' business model is all about giving news a conservative spin. That is different from CNN because CNN's business model is all about being an objective purveyor of the news (which they suck at, and thus, CNN is unwatchable, but that's another story). So, Fox News doesn't get viewers by being accurate, it gets them by riling them up. The more of you who believe Obama is a socialist and the anti-Christ and a secret Muslim hell bent on destroying the country, the more of you watch Fox to gather updates on the impending doom, the more money Fox makes.
6. All Corporations are Amoral
This is one that I have to teach liberals as well. Corporations are not evil, but they're not good either. Rather, corporations exist for one purpose only - to make money. Not to save the environment, or to protect puppies, or to instill good, Christian values, but to make money. They may make money by helping people, or by screwing people, but they must make money. If they don't, their shareholders will get pissed and fire everyone. The only thing that distinguishes corporations is how they make money. Ford makes money by selling cars, Google makes money by selling internet advertising. But ultimately, they exist to make money.
I bring up this point because as a result of this single-mindedness, corporations will do both good and bad things. They will produce products we all want, but may use sloppy and dangerous methods to produce the products. They hire employees, but seek to pay them as little as possible. And corporations have shown no qualms about killing their customers with their products so long as it does not affect the bottom line. At the same time, corporations drive the economy, make cool shit, and put money in our pockets.
So, the way I think of corporations is like how I think of my dog - he provides great companionship, is friendly to humans and dogs, gets my ass off the couch, and is a good watchdog. But he has an intense desire to kill small furry animals - cats, squirrels, rabbits, etc. - and so when I walk him, I have to keep him on a short leash. Similarly, regulations have to exist to some degree to prevent corporations from leg-humping or worse. But liberals have to keep in mind is that we have to give corporations some ability to operate.