Saturday, May 14, 2011

Liar, Bully, Hypocrite…What Else?


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is many things, most of which, it seems, aren’t especially admirable.

He said he was in touch while in Florida during last December’s snowstorm. He said public-sector unions regularly pressure the state legislature for things they fail to win through contract negotiations. He professed to be a Trenton “outsider.” He attempted to explain why the state lost out on $400 million in federal education funds. He claimed to balance the state budget without raising taxes.  And in every case, he was less than truthful. So Christie is a liar.

When presented with his blatant falsehoods, he and his likeminded staff bombastically cry foul, claiming hidden agendas, hair-splitting, and misrepresentation. He attempts to demonize police officers, firefighters, and teachers to all who will listen. So Christie is a bully.

During his campaign to become governor, and early in his term, he berated past officeholders for shortsightedly mortgaging the state’s future by borrowing so far down the line. Since then, he’s floated over $10 billion in longterm bonds, all set to come due after his term will be completed, and some due even after a possible second term (shudder!) is past. So Christie is a hypocrite.

So what’s next? Well, recently Christie was asked about his views on evolution and creationism. His response boiled down to “It’s none of your business.” Well, I beg to differ.

The governor has the ability to present a bill to the state legislature. It generally carries considerable weight, and with a sympathetic legislature, can be pushed through rather quickly. And therein lies a very real and frightening problem.

Just look what the neo-neanderthal Bobby Jindal has done in Louisiana with a bill that allows teachers to teach creationism in science class. Elsewhere, in Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Kentucky, along with other states, loosely-veiled policies allegedly allowing free discourse on the subject instead permit creationism to be presented as science.

Let’s understand this first. Evolution is science. It is a theory, just like gravity, and only the misunderstanding or deliberate ignorance of the definition of a scientific theory can attempt to render it as less than fact. And in some ways, we understand evolution more clearly than gravity, Yet, who is questioning the veracity of gravity?

We’ve conjured up countless equations that will accurately predict the effects of gravity, but we still can’t say exactly what it is. Is it some sort of magnetism, or curvatures in space time, or invisible rubber bands, all acting in step with our mathematical proofs? On the other hand, we’ve identified many of the drivers behind and influences on evolution. From top to bottom, there are fewer gaps in our knowledge of evolution. So why aren’t more “believers” trying to cram a god into the gaps in gravity theory?

Now it’s time to circle back around. Evolution is science. Creationism is mythology. Evolution is to be taught in science class. Creationism is not, no more than civics or English Lit or any other subject should, or should not, be. Heck, you can start a class on world religions or mythology or theological philosophy, and talk about creationism till the cows come home, but at no time should it be elevated to the status of science. And science class is no place to point to the gaps in the total understanding of evolution and shout “Goddidit!”

So, Christie, when someone asks you your views on evolution and creationism, it is our business. You have the power to earnestly attempt to thrust New Jersey back into an anti-intellectual Dark Age. Teabaggers and other ultra-con neo-fascists would certainly love such an attack on reason, logic, and rational thought, but this is New Jersey, not Louisiana or Texas. So come clean and either relieve those of us who actually think, or give face to one of our basest fears.

You’re already a Liar, Bully, and Hypocrite. Now enquiring minds want to know: Are you a Moron as well?

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