Wednesday, July 22, 2015

You Gotta Believe!

The most precious thing we have to give is belief.  You’d expect us to think very hard before we confer it. You’d be wrong, especially as regards the human sub-species called the American voter.

As recently as last year, a study involving 2,200 participants found that 25 percent of Americans, one in four, still believed in geocentrism, the idea that the sun revolves around the earth.  Well, why the hell not? After all, the book by Nicolaus Copernicus that proved otherwise was published nearly 500 years ago, and in Latin!  Who reads Latin, anyway?

Who, among Republican voters, reads anything?  Why bother, when you’ve got Fox to watch?  

Supporting a political candidate implies belief in him or her.  In the latest polls, more Republicans support Donald Trump than any other of the 15 seekers after the party’s presidential nomination.  Donald Trump!! Not that any of that crowd is an intellectual giant or paragon of truth.  But Donald Trump?  Why not Tiger Woods? Beyonce? Bill Cosby?

Precious few Americans have ever been to Iran, or can even find it on a map of the world.  Yet they believe those 47 traitors in the United States senate who oppose making peace with the Iranians.  After all, didn’t Iran hold a bunch of hostages when we honored them by having an embassy there?.  Besides, they believe in Islam so they gotta be bad.  It’s not just Fox telling us so.  Even the liberal New York Times says so.

William O. Beeman, a distinguished academic at the University of Minnesota, not only has been to Iran and can find it on the map, but he speaks the language fluently and without a “foreign” accent.  He recently returned to Iran to travel the country extensively and interview hundreds of Iranians from all walks of life.  He has written in great detail about those travels and those interviews.

Have you read a word of it in the mainstream media?  Have you heard a word of it, on Fox or anyplace else?  Not bloody likely.  Genuine experts like Beeman get no belief from Americans.  What Americans “know” about Iran they got from dunderheads like Bill O’Reilly, not from people like Beeman who actually know something worth learning.

Americans believe that angry citizens of Ukraine forced the democratically-elected president of the country to flee to Russia, which caused Vladimir Putin to send Russian troops into Crimea to capture it and make it part of Russia.  This is about as close to truth as geocentrism.  Stand in the middle of New Mexico looking skyward for a while, and it sure seems plausible.

Unfortunately, the truth about Ukraine, like the truth about our galaxy, is very different from what American voters believe. It’s easy to believe what the politicians in Washington say because Ukraine (which is as hard to find on the map as Iran) is really, really far away and who gives a shit what goes on there anyway? It’s not like they were people or something.

American beliefs about peoplehood defy logic.  Most Muslims are not people, except for those who are on our side.  Once there was a Muslim leader called Saddam Hussein.  For a while he was on our side and we believed in him. We sent Secretaries of State to his country, Iraq, to hobnob with him and give him airplanes and guns and stuff.  So he and the Iraqis were people, except for the ones he gassed with poison weapons we gave him.  Then he stopped dancing to every tune they played in Washington and suddenly he and his people weren’t really people any more.  So we had to send troops over there to kill a couple of million of his non-people, and track down Saddam himself in a rabbit-hole somewhere, and kill him, too.

Part of being a good American is knowing which people are really people and which aren’t.  The people who aren’t people need to be killed and we have to Support Our Troops in killing those that need killing.

Despite all the killing, there are still so many people in the world that it’s very difficult to decide which ones to believe.  We could think very hard about it, but that takes time and effort.  So we watch Fox.

Benjamin Netanyahu.  Now there’s a real American for you. Believe it.


  1. We have similarities. Unfortunately the bulk of the Iranian people do not speak for policy in Iran and in the US less than 500 people in Washington along with all the lobbyists speak for Americans.

    Maybe we have the similarity of disliking our leaders and not having faith in them. The difference in Iran is opposition can lead to prison or death.

    We are stuck with the possibilities of having a Clinton or a Trump. One can only hope that one of the sleepers comes out of the pack to limit influences like big business and Hollywood's reign on government. Why since 2007 have few not gotten the concept that Americans need jobs? Why do struggling foreign countries spend so much of their low GDP on politics/rulers?

    I like many Americans don't distrust so much the Iranian people, but do distrust their government as well as our own!

  2. If the choice for trust were between, say, Netanyahu's government or Rouhani's, which would you choose?