Oingo Boingo: Republican Leadership And Weird Science



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RNC Chair Reince Priebus -- show me the science

[Commentary]

“My creation/is it real?/It's my creation—I do not know/No hesitation—no heart of gold/Just flesh and blood—I do not know.”

So goes the chorus of the insanely catchy Oingo Boingo pop tune, “Weird Science.” Of course, that song comes from the hilarious 1985 John Hughes movie of the same name. But the phrase weird science isn’t just a cool song from a cool movie. The phrase also applies to the Republican Party’s enduring apply-and-deny relationship with most things scientific in American culture.

If you require proof, I humbly submit to you excerpts from the Republican Party’s official platform.

Drilling/fracking for oil. The GOP’s statement on this is as follows: “America should be energy independent.” In other words, the United States should move heaven and earth drilling for oil.

Republican leaders want us deep-sea drilling, drilling in Arctic ice, drilling in national parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness areas. Animals, schanimals. Drill, baby, drill! With all due respect to Sarah Palin supporters, here are the counterpoints. We have the technology to design cars right now which have fuel efficiency unimaginable just five years ago. As a condition of receiving the U.S. government’s bailout funds in 2008, American automotive companies pledged to build cars much better in fuel consumption – and that pledge has been realized.

This moment, America already produces more oil than it has in decades. Therefore, our dependence on foreign oil is lower than it has ever been. Meanwhile, all the potential benefits offered by fracking are offset by the destructive side effects therein. Fracking contaminates drinking water, threatens the residents who live nearby with a laundry list of health risks (headaches, respiratory problems, and nausea to name a few), and pollutes the environment because it creates ozone smog and particulate soot. Of course, the pro-drilling advocates conveniently look past the problems because all they see is green (money) and black (crude oil).

Women’s reproductive health. The GOP’s statement on this is as follows: “America’s culture should respect and protect life.” Whose lives should be respected and protected? Women? Not with statements like the one from former Congressman Todd Akin (R-MO) on “legitimate rape.” According to him, women’s bodies are equipped with anti-rape countermeasures – a proposal as far removed from science as it is from common sense.

As an engineer and a businessman with a Master’s degree in divinity, he knows better. Mr. Akin is part of the very party which states in its own platform that “families and communities should be free from government intrusion” – while it seeks to intrude upon the women in our families and communities. The Republican Party that allegedly despises big government wants to monitor all American women of childbearing ages and legislatively impose its own singular agenda upon them. Wouldn’t that effectively make the GOP the very thing it says it vehemently opposes?

Guns. The GOP says: “Leaders should serve people, not special interests.” Really? There have been at least 75 school shootings since the Sandy Hook tragedy of December 14th, 2012. That is an actual statistic which can be measured and analyzed. The latest mass school shooting happened last week in Seattle. No gun check legislation has yet been put implemented nationally so that those select few who should not own guns (people with mental illness, those with a criminal history of domestic abuse, and those with a history of violence) prove to society they’ve changed their ways.

No one is saying that law-abiding Americans should have their guns taken away. At the same time, no law-abiding American should be at risk of having their own lives taken away because the wrong person(s) had illegal access to guns. Do you hear the crickets from the NRA members on that point? I do.

Infrastructure. The GOP says “Country is exceptional.” Oh? Too bad our roads and bridges aren’t exceptional. Here’s a logic bomb for you. If our highways and streets need to be resurfaced or addressed every couple of years, then why does this great nation have decrepit bridges in every state? Structures which were designed to last 30-40 years are 60-70 years old in some cases. Whenever anyone asks about repairing these structures, the old statement “the money isn’t there” is rolled out as a reply. I find that strange.

Climate change. The GOP denies this outright in spite of mounting scientific evidence to the contrary. It’s a textbook example of so-reactive-no-proactive thinking.No wonder Republicans like cutting educational budgets. They dislike science – and math.

Isn’t it funny that Republican leaders don’t oppose the science of matters near and dear to their hearts? All weapons of war are the products of physics, chemistry, ballistics, even geology. If it goes boom, they believe.“From my heart and from my hand/Why don't people understand/My intentions?Weird science!” Oingo Boingo.

 

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