Tuesday, June 17, 2008

A few days ago, I was listening to Rick Shenkman being interviewed on a Thom Hartmann radio segment. Shenkman has written a book entitled, Just How Stupid Are We?: Facing the Truth About the American Voter. He more or less makes the unsurprising case that the American voter is sadly misinformed. He/she will basically believe almost any load of hooey hoisted at them if it's done convincingly enough.

The one example he finds most appalling is the supposed 9/11 and Saddam connection. Of course, most intelligent, non-Fox News viewing folks know that there is/was no connection, but nonetheless Shenkman cites that all too many Americans believed there was and worse yet favored going to war because of this non-fact.

Shenkman, in a justifiably angry tone, implored that just because so many wrongs in our country are not singularly 10-alarm fires doesn't mean they should be excused or should not be elevated to top importance. I've been making this same case about climate change. Just because the warming of the planet is not an immediate problem that will kill us tomorrow doesn't mean it's not an urgent matter. Because the problem is so gradual and in effect subtle, it allows for the public to take it for granted -- until it will be too late to do anything about it. By the time we wake up to its true harm, we'll be long past the point of no return.

Sounds hysterical? Alarmist? Exactly, given the nature of the looming catastrophe we need more strident warnings since the problem itself is advancing too slowly (fortunately for us).

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