Roger Marolt: Getting through winter’s shortest day in the Period of Enlightenment
We live in the cold days of factual relativism. You say the world is round and somebody tells you it is flat. It just depends on how you look at it. You say evidence of global warming is the real deal and somebody tells you no such evidence exists. It just depends on who you talk to. You say all human beings are created equal and somebody tells you that black people have an extra muscle in their thighs. Just look how fast they can run. You say women are not sex objects and somebody tells you that some of them are. It depends on how they dress. You can argue science, decency, and common sense until you feel like you are the irrational one and they counter with a smile, “We will just have to agree to disagree.”
It feels like a backslide into the Dark Ages. I don’t think that is actually happening, although that is debatable, too. It may well be the winter of enlightenment where the sun rises late and skims across the southern horizon through gauzy clouds before setting early, but I have to believe we remain a progressive society.
It wasn’t that long ago we elected our first black president. He was a gentleman. More people than not believe climate change is happening and is having significant impacts on the planet that are becoming more intense. Almost everyone knows this planet is a spherical shape. It is not all ancient history.
I am not going to tell you that the most powerful man in the world bragging and laughing about grabbing women by the “pussy” is a good thing. It may have led other men in power to believe they could get away with such abuses as easily as he did. This could be why it is such a big issue currently.
Then again, maybe many more women have become contrastingly emboldened to end this by telling their stories of being preyed upon.
It is painful to witness open racism and bigotry in our country. It has been encouraged by a leader who refused to distance himself from the Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis and other haters during his campaign for power. He made them feel heard, and when someone has been silenced for a long time and finally someone listens, they oftentimes can’t shut up until somebody gets tired and tells them to.
We are now exhausted.
It seemed that everyone was getting onboard with climate change until a billionaire with his own 757 and a self-proclaimed high IQ said it was nonsense. Never mind that he was wrong; he possessed all things we placed higher values on than we did on science and learning for learning’s sake.
We are getting our priorities straightened out. As difficult as it was to convince the world about the impending threat of greenhouse gasses, now we demand deniers take the stage to host their sideshow. Let’s see how they fare with their “proof” of no change occurring under scrutiny of the scientific method.
While it looks very seriously as if one powerful man has led us to take one giant step backward, perhaps it will result in a giant leap forward for mankind. The swamp has not been drained. All that happened was an odd man stepped into it and dragged his feet across the bottom, stirring up decades of decayed sediment that now floats thinly across the surface of it. It has been there all along. At least now we can see and smell it. And, when it offends our senses, we will no longer ignore it.
White people thought we had racism licked 40 years ago. We believed men granted women equal rights before that. We thought science was the basis for knowledge, even in religion where all truth discovered will certainly lead us to its ultimate source in God.
We have been fooling ourselves. Perhaps this is no more evident than when people proudly proclaim in public during the middle of the day that the planet we live on is flat. We are back to debating basic common knowledge that stopped perplexing the educated since at least three centuries B.C.
This is but the least toxic pollution unleashed that has floated in the dark eddies along the stagnant waters of the River of Knowledge since the time it was just a small stream. We probably knew it was there and assumed the ever widening flow could cleanse itself. We have work to do. Keep looking on the bright side.
Roger Marolt denies that the world is a giant Frisbee. Email at email@example.com
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