25 October 2007


I'm sure there are photographs, and in this day and age, digital video of Republican candidate for President of the United States, Mike Huckabee raising his hand in response to the question "which of you does NOT believe in Evolution?"

The question, overly simplistic and general, is nevertheless revealing. Even after the many clarifications that followed the raising of his hand.

Politicians, especially when campaigning, take great care in calculating their words and actions, to inspire and compel some people to vote for them or contribute money to their campaign, while simultaneously seeking not to offend other people to the extent that they vote for someone else, or contribute money to someone else, or especially, to work hard to insure their defeat at the polls.

By their words and actions, they make choices that reveal their own calculations.

Huckabee could have chosen to not raise his hand and later clarified by saying "there is nothing in Darwin's Theory that negates, or is incompatible with, the Bible's Book of Genesis", and millions of voters, whether church-goers or not, would have nodded in agreement.

But Huckabee did not do so, instead he raised his hand.

Which means that in Huckabee's mind, the political benefit of raising his hand outweighed the political cost.

That says a lot more about the intellectual level of a large portion of the American electorate than it does about Huckabee himself. And it cannot be dismissed as a momentary lapse of judgement, for in arguing that the U.S. was a 'christian nation', Huckabee declared months later that "most of signers of the Declaration of Independence were clergymen".

If a plurality or majority of American voters wish to encode their spiritual beliefs and moral values into the laws and execution of the laws of the United States, to the exclusion of other's beliefs and moral standards, the system as it has developed will allow them to do so.

But every American should also be aware that such has been common practice in faith-based autocracies in the Middle East for centuries, and it's result is always repression, conflict, and bloodshed. Even in their modern democracies to some extent or another.

One would think, especially in the 21st Century, that Americans would wish to set an example for others to admire and aspire to, instead of emulating practices more than a millenia old.

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