Ask yourself which is worse: State School Superintendent Kathy Cox's supremely stupid suggestion that the word "evolution" be removed from Georgia textbooks or the fact that the state school superintendent had no idea the suggestion was supremely stupid?
Further, ask yourself what might have happened if this weren't an election year. Did you notice how much time elapsed between our illustrious Republican governor's distancing himself from our national humiliation and his intervention?
I figure it was just long enough for the Republican Party's national leaders to grab a phone and put our pudgy politico in his place. "What the heck do you think you're doing, Bubba? Of course it's part of our long-term agenda and of course it's precisely what the religious fundamentalists forming the bedrock of the Republican Party fervently desire! We just don't want the swing voters to think about it."
You don't think for a moment that the fundamentalists (and therefore, the Republican Party) have abandoned the idea, do you? Wise up!
If you want to know what's really going to happen if the thinkers among us don't do everything humanly possible to remove the Bush league from power, start with the evolution controversy.
The Republican constituency, the voters upon whom bright lights like Kathy Cox rely for empowerment, have a clearly defined agenda. Even now their faith-based parochialism is undermining science on a multitude of fronts through the withholding of government research grants.
You swing voters out there should keep in mind there's a good reason a significant portion of European history is referred to as The Dark Ages. Guess who was in command then. Guess who's attempting to solidify control now.
Kathy Cox, reflecting the world view of the Republican constituency, is incapable of discerning the difference between faith-based self-aggrandizement and data accumulated through the scientific method. The state school superintendent cannot tell the difference!
Trust me, the Republican Party and its constituency have learned nothing from this national rebuke. They are simply awaiting a more opportune moment.
If you wish to understand how this issue will ultimately be resolved, attend to the difference between Bush's rhetoric and promises preceding the 2000 presidential election and what he has done subsequent to his appointment to the office. By this I mean what he has really done, not what his headline grabbing but fundamentally hollow manipulation of the herd suggests he has done or will do.
If we put Republicans in office we endanger the future of America. Sure, economists are already alarmed about the immense burden of debt designed by and for the instant gratification crowd at the expense of our children. But this is just money.
Think bigger, think destiny.
How far is it from banning ideas to banning books, to burning books, to burning heretics?
Attend to the recent past, how willing the Bush league was to brand any who disagreed with their politics a traitor. The fine line delineating the difference between heretic and traitor may be located at the interstice separating church and state.
Bush wants to eradicate this separation, Cox isn't aware it exists.
We have allowed those adrift in the miasma of mythology to draw from amongst themselves leaders unaccustomed to the rigors of rational thought. To these benighted primitives we have entrusted America's future.
How ironic that the self-aware, curious and creative mind, the metaphysical phenomenon allegedly separating us from other life forms, is the foundation of that which is perceived most threatening by fundamentalists.
How fitting that they are threatened by the perceptions and extrapolations of Charles Darwin, for who but individuals such as he exemplify that to which we as a species might aspire?
Conversely, what have we made of human potential if we eschew intellection and rationality, embracing instead superstition and its correlative: irrationality?
Ask yourself, from which group do Republicans draw their leadership? With which group should Kathy Cox, Sonny Perdue and George Bush be most closely identified?
Dare we allow primitives the responsibility to select our textbooks, define our curricula, establish the parameters of legitimate scientific inquiry?
America is in danger and as is typical of the fundamentalist mind set, fingers are being pointed at outsiders. Be careful lest everyone other than fundamentalists are determined to be outsiders, heretics.
The danger to America lies within.
R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.