I was driving to the grocery store the other evening. Like many evenings in March along the North Carolina coast the temperature had dropped rapidly once the sun had disappeared. The warmth of the day, the dampness of the ground, and the cool night air conspired to create stretches of ground fog. Ground fog can be almost as ephemeral as northern lights. Sometimes you go through it so quickly that when it disappears you are not even certain that it really existed. That happens regularly with northern lights. You can blink and they are gone and you are never sure that they were actually there.
Once in a while you run into ground fog that is so intense and deep that it is undeniable. I think that I have reached that point on the attacks on knowledge that I am seeing in our country. For a while they were fleeting but now they are impossible to ignore. It is as if a portion of our population has decided that scientific facts and the truth no longer mean anything. Actually it is worse than that. There are many people who will believe something just because they have heard it several times. It does not matter that their sources have no credibility. A fever has overtaken our land and it removes the powers of reasoning from people. Years of science, knowledge, and verifiable information are thrown out the window just because they do not fit a political view point.
I have spent my whole life sucking up knowledge like a sponge. I long ago learned how to think for myself. I do not need talk radio of any stripe to tell me what to believe. In fact I have never listened to talk radio. I can weigh the facts and make my own decisions. I can also tell the difference between facts and pure bull. The only reason that I watch some late night television is for therapy to help me cope with the dissonance coming out of Washington, DC.
I could list a number of things troubling me, the ban on immigrants, the rollback of environmental rules, people not believing in vaccines or a healthcare plan designed to remove insurance from those who could least afford to lose it. One item stands out as an example of complete stupidity. Cutting over a billion dollars from the Coast Guard budget to help build a wall between Mexico and the United States is stupidity on a scale that I have never seen. Aside from not needing a wall to protect us from our neighbors and trading partners, the Coast Guard is an essential organization that provides a myriad of services including interception of threats to our nation while protecting over 12,000 miles of coastline and the people who use those waters surrounding our country. The emergency services they provide along our coastlines are much appreciated by those of us who live close enough to see their work firsthand. They are already overworked. They do not need a budget cut.
If our country continues on this anti-knowledge, anti-reason path, the consequences will be dire. I do not plan to go quietly into the night as the country that science, reason, and technology built is torn apart to appease those who want to live in the past. I have grandchildren and I want them to grow up in a world where truth and reason are revered not hated. Those of us who have traveled and even lived in other countries know that this is the greatest country ever. It is not perfect but it does not need to be torn apart in an effort to please people who have a hard time caring for anyone besides themselves.
Our country is what it is today because it was built on knowledge and reason. The hard work of Americans, new and old, who respected truth and wisdom while caring for their fellow countrymen created the world's greatest republic. To destroy our foundations of truth and justice or to try to remake our country on anything less than the truth is dangerous.