Originally published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal, September 25, 2006
General Disclaimer: When I say “Democrats” or “Republicans” I’m talking in general terms, recognizing that individuals within those groups have differing ideas and opinions and (sometimes) brains. Also, whenever I draw something that you agree with, that was me. Whenever I draw something that you disagree with, that was the terrorists. Just so we’re clear…
Democrats will just out and out patronize you. They believe in their hearts that for certain (most) situations, they know better than you. So it’s no surprise that when they are in charge of the government they create laws and enforce laws to save you from yourself (whether you like it or not). As Garrison Keillor has put it, Democrats have a neurotic desire to “…make cowboys do their whooping in designated whooping areas.”
Republicans, on the other hand, will tell you with utmost sincerity that they want to keep the government out of your lives. They respect you as individuals and believe you are much better at making decisions about you. It’s your money, it’s your business, it’s your property –- do with it as you wish. That’s nice. That’s appealing. I’d vote for that. And often I have.
Here’s the problem, though. It turns out that Republicans can also be a big pile of steamy hypocrites. Whereas Democrats are willing to get nailed to the wall time and time again for following through on their stated beliefs (a political liability, certainly, but virtuous in that you know what you’re getting), Republicans say one thing and then poke their pointy noses into other people’s business whenever they feel the urge.
Case in point: A couple of weeks ago, the Michigan board of education was drawing up some general guidelines on how science should be taught in public schools. For evolution, this is what they came up with: “the policy directs that teachers demonstrate how fossil records, comparative anatomy and other evidence may corroborate the theory of evolution.” Pretty straightforward. Maybe even a tad weak. “But not weak enough!” thought two Republican Representatives, Jack Hoogendyk and John Moolenaar who, by the way, distinguish themselves by not being science teachers. And they delayed the adoption of the science standards by petitioning to replace “…may corroborate…” with “…may or may not corroborate…”
Yes! Yes! That’s exactly what Michigan needs! Vagueness and uncertainty in our science education! And we need to demonstrate to our growing science research facilities and bio-medical firms that our legislators aren’t afraid give their input and, you know, change rules whenever it might get them a few votes. Oy! I tell ya, it is enough to make you question how evolution works. But then, I definitely don’t see any evidence of intelligent design here.