Some things aren’t to be taken seriously

Published 10:29 am Friday, December 11, 2009

OK, I admit it. I am a political cynic. And, during the course of any given year our political class says a lot and means a little. So let me share some of the rhetoric from 2009 that just seems to me less than real.

When the President says we are escalating in Afghanistan in order to come home I think that is pretty silly rhetoric.

I think his secretaries almost immediately revised that to “Well, probably not many will come home” and they are more right than wrong.

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This president has affirmed our war in Afghanistan and we will be there for another decade, rhetoric aside.

I think when Transportation Security accidentally releases its secret profiling techniques on the Internet that is taking incompetence to an entirely new level.

And telling us everything has changed just sounds, well, absurd. It was incredibly foolish and incompetent, why not just say that and correct it as well as they can.

Not that any of those nutty procedures makes much sense anyway.

We are still taking off our shoes to fly because one guy tried to make a shoe bomb six years ago and failed.

It seems to me John McCain should carry around his policy positions on a note card in his wallet in order to keep them straight. He now opposes Medicare cuts after advocating more radical cuts than are currently being considered when he ran for president. What seems apparent is that his “sincere” position is to be against whatever the president is for.

McCain, like many other Republicans, wanted to see more troops sent to Afghanistan. Republicans have a war-like self image to protect you know.

But they could not find it in themselves to say they agreed with the decision made by the president. Instead they had to say that setting any date to return any troops was a failed policy.

But do you think the Taliban doesn’t already know we aren’t staying forever? Do you think they don’t already know we have a decade at best left before we call it quits and come home?

So it is hardly news that they are staying and we are leaving. So when McCain says that is a flawed policy I think we should not take that too seriously.

I think we should not take anything Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck says seriously. They are entertainers, not policy makers, not factual reporters.

I think we have to decide who to believe on climate change, the Republican Party, or scientists and the rest of the planet. Watching Greenland thaw and the Arctic Cap melt reminds me of the Groucho Marx question “What are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?”

You may choose politicians over scientists for your knowledge base, but that is like picking a cab driver as your surgeon … just plain dumb.

Truth is the sea level may rise over this century enough to change the geography of the planet.

Imagine, if you will, that all the scientists who predict climate change are wrong. Wrong entirely. It is possible.

After all, these are models, projections, not absolute until they occur.

So what is wrong with taking better care of the planet anyhow?

Well, I think it might be bad for business in the same way that having to leave streams and secure sludge is bad for the coal industry when mountaintop mining is cheaper.

Americans have more common sense than the political class does, and they can pretty quickly see that politicians argue against our best interests when it serves their electoral needs. Too bad.

Jim Crawford is a contributing columnist for The Tribune and a former educator at Ohio University Southern.