Carl Sagan, the brilliant and eloquent astronomer and astrophysicist said not long before his death, "I worry...that pseudoscience and superstition will seem year by year more tempting, the siren song of unreason more sonorous and attractive. Where have we heard it before? Whenever our ethnic or national prejudices are aroused, in times of scarcity, during challenges to national self-esteem or nerve, when we agonize about our diminished cosmic place and purpose or when fanaticism is bubbling up around us--then, habits of thought familiar from ages past reach for the controls."
He did not live to see how prophetic his words would prove to be.
Today, with a small but vocal and hostile segment of our population incensed over the re-election of President Obama, we see people stuck in old mindsets of fear and hate trying desperately to grab for the controls.
The Tea Party wants a recount of the election. Some extremist Republican politicians want the president arrested. Some forty states have applied for secession. Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has once again promised to not work with the president or Democrats unless they do what he wants them to do. And Mitt Romney now says he lost the election because President Obama "promised gifts to Blacks, Hispanics, and young people."
We are back to fighting the same old tired issues. Republican leaders and pundits keep talking about the "makers and the takers" and of course say those who voted for the president are "takers."
Although some Republicans are actually trying to reassess how they carried on a campaign of nothing but negative talk against President Obama and Democrats and how they marginalized as inferior--women, minorities, and the young--still many in the party don't get it.
And this growing noise of bitterness from right wing extremists and some Republican leaders like McConnell will in no way serve our country or move us toward any kind of workable solutions. And I guarantee you it won't win them any votes in the future.
This was not a close election. President Obama won 302 electoral college votes. Romney won 206. The president won 3 million more popular votes than Mr. Romney.
The true demographic of our nation re-elected President Obama.
We are a diverse nation.
No one race or ethnic group dominates the numbers.
We are not a Christian nation only. Our religious landscape is broad and dissimilar and covered with all kinds of spirituality, worship experiences, theological interpretations, church dynamics and structure, and moral and ethical beliefs.
We are also a nation of agnostics and atheists who populate every important facet of our national life and who make outstanding contributions to the meaning and struggle of our human existence.
We are not just a country of male authority and paternal rule. Women have always in the most extraordinary ways participated in the survival and advancement of our country. Their intellect, courage, skills, perseverance and strengths have guided us through dark ages of disease and disasters, through educational ignorance and cultural wars, through male cruelty and child abandonment. And their beauty and spirit and brilliance remain at the heart of who we are as a humane people of worth and love.
It is time for many in our country to stop listening to "the siren song of unreason;" to stop all of this nonsense about seceding and recalls and angrily grabbing for the controls.
It is time for all of us to see our country in its vast and beautiful collection of people who are not all alike and whose differences make up the glory and genius and yes the promise of our United States of America.
(c) 2012 Timothy Moody