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Accepting Ignorance

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Feel free to reject reality, and substitute it with your own.

President Barack Obama is a citizen of the United States. This is a fact. It’s a truth that can be proven. It’s not somebody’s opinion or open to debate in any way, shape, or form. It’s not a philosophical belief open to each individual’s interpretation. It’s a fact. Facts are facts, and facts are right. No matter how much you believe one and one is three, it’s actually two and you’re wrong and should be corrected as soon as is worldly possible.

Facts.

Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has to know this. He does know the president is a citizen of the US; he said as much in a recent interview. However, when confronted about people that still hold to the belief the president was born elsewhere, he also said, “It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think. Our job in Washington is to listen to the American people.”

And my jaw hit the floor.

First, let’s just get it out of the way. He’s correct in that the US government shouldn’t be the thought police, going around to make sure everyone’s all thinking in the same line. Individuals should all think about things differently; that’s what makes them individual.

What doesn’t make people individual is blindly following propaganda, en masse, that is absolutely false. That’s the path to a belief that something is bad simply because you need it to be bad to justify your own bent ideology. It’s partisanship designed for no better purpose than to foster more partisanship, a sort of self-brainwashing that aids nothing but ignorance.

What doesn’t make a good leader is a man so spineless he can’t dare to suggest that people should not believe in something that is irrefutably not true. The purpose of a leader is to elevate those he leads, to inspire them to be better. Michael Jordan was the best player in the NBA not only because of his own greatness, but because of the way he made other players better. John Boehner doesn’t want people to be better than they’d otherwise be, and would rather just let people be as ignorant as they want to be.

And why? Politics. If people would rather be ignorant about this issue, if they would rather believe something that is blatantly false, then it makes the president weaker, at least in the eyes of those that choose not to see. If he appears weaker to anyone, then that will automatically make any Republican that challenges him in 2012 stronger. I’d be willing to bet not a single serious contender that emerges in the Republican field will ever make a strong statement about Obama’s unquestionable citizenship.

Second, if Boehner comes out and calls this situation what it is, ignorance for the sake of blind partisanship, then he’s just called a part of his base ignorant. And from what I hear, they don’t much like that. So, in essence, Boehner can’t make a stronger statement than he did, because then he would have little influence over his constituents down the line. He’s pandering to radicals that are inventing their own reasons to oppose someone, trying to toe a line so as not to insult the far-right (in this case, the far-FAR-right), and even to essentially give them a pass, to let them know it’s okay to look at a fact and decide if you don’t like it to just not believe it..

If it’s a person’s own prerogative to decide if President Obama is a United States citizen, to completely disregard the evidence that tells us he certainly is, then what other facts should we allow people to ignore as they see fit? Most of us know one and one is two, but how does it make you -feel-? Maybe if you’ve got a good reason why you think it should be three, we can make an exception for you. I’m just thinking out loud here. You and I may know a newborn baby has to eat on a regular basis, but hey, maybe it’s up to individuals to decide if they believe that. When I was younger, I was told girls can’t get pregnant the first time they have sex. Granted, my high school anatomy class informed me differently, and they had books that seemed to lend more credibility to their case, but maybe I’ll roll that one around in my head for a while, see which option fits me better.

Ignorance is dangerous. That’s why warning labels are mandated these days, to inform people, to protect them from not knowing the danger of what they’ve got in their hands, even if it seems obvious to most of us. There once was a day we were ignorant to the dangers of smoking tobacco, and millions suffered for it without knowing they would. It was once commonly accepted as truth that African-Americans weren’t entirely human, and that ignorant precept allowed people to justify awful practices like slavery, rape, and torture.

I wonder if John Boehner would have thought it wasn’t his job to tell people what to think in those instances. I suppose it depends on who he expected to vote for him. It takes great minds to penetrate the veil of ignorance and make this world better for it. Rep. Boehner made clear he has no desire to be one of those great minds.

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Written by oobiedoo

February 15, 2011 at 5:48 am

One Response

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  1. Some people will believe what they hear and aren’t going to open their minds to see what is really going on. It amazes me how close minded people can be because either they aren’t educated or they just don’t to be open to new ideas! I want to know John Boehner WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

    Robyn

    February 15, 2011 at 6:08 pm


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