Mike Gravel is just a big breath of fresh air.Â And a candidate for president that doesnâ€™t make me want to defect.Â Over the last few months, keeping up with current events has meant reading some very unpleasant things.Â Things like â€“ Huckabee doesnâ€™t â€œbelieveâ€ in evolution and he wants to bring Judeo-Christian values back into government.Â And like â€“ Romney wants to legislate his own personal views about Roe v. Wade and gay marriage into laws.Â Oh yes, we should all be like Romney and Huckabee, every one of us, and soon it will be against the law not to be!
Without taking a political stance, I will say that (as a rule) I agree with the republicansâ€™ laissez-faire style of economics and I like the way the democrats stay out of our personal affairs.Â Â But it really makes my skin crawl when candidates appeal to the LCD at the expense of progress.Â Which is why itâ€™s so refreshing to hear someone say (to tweak a phrase from TAM) â€“ The candidates have no clothes!
Ok, so Iâ€™m not endorsing Mike Gravel or any presidential candidate.Â Iâ€™m just saying that I read this articleÂ in Wired and kept thinking â€œyes! yes!â€ instead of â€œwtf?â€.Â
In the article, Gravel is quoted as saying, â€œI am deeply insulted that in some areas not only is evolution shunned but efforts are made to substitute it with creationism and all other kinds of teachings, which corrupt our youth.Â Thereâ€™s no foundation for this. I think itâ€™s unfortunate. Weâ€™re regressing in these areas, and so I think we have responsibility to our children to provide them with the greatest scientific information available to all of us, and that begins with respect to evolution.”
And then he says, â€œI … really exhort as public policy that we concentrate on keeping religion out of politics, and keeping a very, very strong separation between church and state. Otherwise you will take the oppressiveÂ nature of the state and marry it with the oppressive nature of religion, and that is the ultimate oppression of human beings.”
He might not have a great chance at being elected, but Iâ€™m so glad heâ€™s out there saying these things.
Good stuff, Stacey.
Funny that the article calls him the "quirky candidate" for saying things like this. I suppose I can now consider myself a member of the Quirky Party.
Sign me up for the Quirkies, too, then! –D'yer think they'll let me maintain my membership with the Socialist Party?
Here's what I don't understand… the sorts of "common sense" things that we (I'm talking about what I understand about the community here at Skepchick in my short time participating) take for granted are considered so anathema and part of the "cultural elite"? I don't understand why progress and education have been somehow turned into perjoratives (and my spell check is telling me I didn't spell that word correctly). Gravel sounds lovely, but he'll never get elected. Sigh. The calls for a Theocracy really chill me to the bone.
Welcome to the Quirkies, flygrrl.
Wouldn't it be fun to make like laurel and Hardy, and set up our own country on a beautiful South Sea island somewhere? We could invite all the Skeptics and Rationalists to come and become citizens. And we could call it Hypatia, after Hypatia of Alexandria Just like the U.S. is named for Ameriggo Vespucci– The United States of Vespucia).
Oh and BTW, how does one get around to getting one's picture in these comments?
Before I’d even heard of Gravel, I was taking a look at a spreadsheet comparing the candidates’ stances on important issues. Gravel was the only one I agreed with right down the line.
Yeah, it is sad that he doesn’t have a chance. I wish he was getting more notice, instead of “I don’t believe in evolution” Ron Paul.
Sorry guys but you can have Gravel as a president as I’m gonna drag him down to Caracas to be our pres. How can you say no to such a guy:
As for creationism in the schools, Gravel says: â€œOh God, no. Oh, Jesus. We thought we had made a big advance with the Scopes monkey trial â€¦ My God, evolution is a fact, and if these people are disturbed by being the descendants of monkeys and fishes, theyâ€™ve got a mental problem. We canâ€™t afford the psychiatric bill for them. That ends the story as far as Iâ€™m concerned.â€ (http://blogs.physics today.org /politics08/2008/01 /mike_gravel_on_teaching_evolut. html)
Also his views on drug legalization and treatment are pretty much my own: all drug are legal, period. If you want pot (and you’re over 18) you can get it in a liquor store, but if you want something harder you go to your doctor and he checks out your history and prescribes you the appropriate dose for you. Those who OD go to rehab and get treatment.
The guy seems a pretty smart, honest and no-nonsense sort of fella… sad that almost no one knows about him.
While I realize that I am being the fly in the ointment here, I have to say that Gravel is an oddball and thus comes by this reputation fairly honestly.
Go to YouTube. Type "gravel campaign ads" into the search. Look at the videos entitled "Rock" and "Fire". Tell me that this is not a wee bit strange.
On the larger issue, common sense is a myth, and I just don't mean this in the usual way people mean it. It isn't just that people don't have it. It doesn't exist. It's a canard. It's based on the false premise of simple folksy wisdom.
Well, simple folksy wisdom is great until you actually have to apply it to the real world. As another expression goes, for every complex problem there is a simple, elegant, obvious solution…that doesn't work. Fringe candidates have the luxury of their "common sense" because their ideas will never suffer contact with the real world. They never have to actually do a damn thing, and they know it. I certainly empathize with the politics-fatigue that makes these candidates seem attractive, but it is just a mirage.
So, yeah, I like Mike Gravel. I'm sure I'd love to meet him at a cocktail party. I'd probably agree with him on a bunch of things and disagree with him on a bunch of other things too. But I have no reason to think he would make an especially good President, and he has no reason to show that he would. He has his role as fringe candidate, a role he relishes.
I don't disagree with you Czech. I'm not endorsing him, I just liked what he had to say and am glad he's out there saying it. Thanks for the well thought out response.
I personally find both Huckabee and Romney positively scary as presidential candidates. No exaggeration.
Yes. Absolutely scary considering the fact Bush already set a number of scary precedents during the 8 years he's been there. With him fresh in the public's mind, they could probably even crank it up a notch without most people noticing just how crazy things have gotten.
Exarch, but it isn't the same thing with Romney and Huckabee. They're trying to win. Gravel isn't. They have to engage at a level that "protest" candidates do not. This is good because their craziness shows through. They can't just be as nebulously warm and comforting as the doomed candidate. Of course, to fundies, their craziness seems like sanity, but that's another topic altogether.
Homilies and vague calls to action are the stock and trade of elections whether or not the candidate is trying to win to be sure. But when you aren't trying to win, you can just do that and show as little of yourself as possible. That lets us imagine these candidates as ideal leaders when they are in fact no such thing. They're just people like everyone else.
Separating emotion from sense can be difficult during an election, especially one like this one. I have that problem myself. Obama in particular periodically has me needing to step back and make sure I'm not being swept up in the moment. Democracy is hard.
Flygrrl, crazy does tend to happen slowly in a democracy and that can make it all the more insidious.
Oh, and just to be clear, I would never vote for a candidate that doesn't believe in evolution. That's a no brainer.
Well, as the expression goes:
Common sense isn’t.
Czech – I see your main point as being that comparing Romney/Huckabee to Gravel is like comparing apples and oranges. They're in the race with different motives and expectations, and their actions reflect that. I think that's a fair point.
Like Flygrrl, I'm amazed that candidates that want to win have to appeal to the majority by shunning evolution and making emotional appeals about how religious they are. Hopefully, at some point people will accept evolution the way they came to accept the heliocentric solar system.
Well TheCzech, you know that’s true about Gravel, but do the fundies realize that’s also true of Huckabee and Romney?
I agree exarch; I think that The Crazy happens very slowly and incrementally. Well, in democracies anyway. At least we don’t have The Crazy just showing up with guns and saying “this is how Crazy it’s gonna be.” Yet.
Gravel isn't the "quirky" candidate because of his progressive views. He's the "clearly off his rocker" candidate because he makes bizarre videos like this. A shame, really.
On a related note….
[blockquote]May it not suffice for me to say in reply to your letter of August 25th, that, of course, like every other man of intelligence and education, I do believe in organic evolution. It surprises me that at this late date such questions should still be raised.[/blockquote]
Woodrow Wilson wrote that. In 19-friggin-22. What the hell is it with these religious nutjobs (pardon the pun)?
Ah crap. WordPress comment formatting bites. Can someone fix my brackets? "[ ]" should obviously have been "." How responsive is the customer service here? :-)
Well, related to the woodrow Wilson quote from 1922, I think nothing paints the picture more clearly than the fact that the republicans are still clinging to the practice of offering white christian males to select from as presidential candidates, while it's up to the democrats to be progressive.
Like the question from last month asking how a girl could be religious and still be a feminist, I'd like to ask how a woman or a black person could be a republican.
I'm not saying the democrats are any better, but at least they think the time is right to try and change things.
The republicans on the other hand have shown they merely want your votes, and have no real interest in actually getting anything other than a white male fundamentalist christian into the oval office.
Yes, I know I'm exagerrating a bit. But only a bit. Do they actually have any non-white-christian-males within their party who could pull it off? Would their voter base even go for that?
I'd honestly like to know …
And by that last bit, I meant non-white, non-christian and/or non-male of course …
"Well, related to the woodrow Wilson quote from 1922, I think nothing paints the picture more clearly than the fact that the republicans are still clinging to the practice of offering white christian males to select from as presidential candidates, while itâ€™s up to the democrats to be progressive."
Oh, the irony of this statement. Wilson was not a progressive. He was, in fact, the most virulently racist President of the 20th century. He pretty much single-handedly undid many of the post-Civil-War progress African Americans had made in government. Booted them all out of the civil service. Set the civil rights movement back decades. This from the only U.S. President ever to possess a PhD…
The Czech wrote:
You mean the Democratic party hasn't always been pro "civil rights?!" Say it ain't so!!! lol
Aww, that's sad. So he was really just one of those religious bigots who only believed in evolution because it could be abused to justify racism?
Still, taking the quote on its own, those are pretty progressive words for its day I'm sure.
You must log in to post a comment.