The other day, a guy I know was complaining about the Obamas going on yet another vacation. When I told him that both Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush spent much more time on holiday during the comparable 5-year period in office than President Obama, he told me I must be wrong. I proceeded to show him a graphic indicating the actual number of days George W. Bush had taken and how many President Obama has taken to date. I also produced a well-sourced article that showed the total vacation days taken by every President since Herbert Hoover. The younger Bush spent 399 days on vacation compared to 89 days off for Barack Obama in the time span. Moreover, George W. Bush comes in at number one for total vacation days with 1,020 days off in his 8 years as president. That means 2.8 years of his time in office was spent on vacation.
After reading the article and looking over the graph the coworker in question stated, “Well, there was a reason they called it the Western White House. Both Reagan and Bush were on working vacations. Obama is always playing golf, he is never working.”
I was going to respond to his outlandish statement, but thought better of it. It would not matter what evidence I produced, or what graphs I could show him, and it certainly would not matter what document refuting his argument I could find, for there was nothing in this green world I could do to change his opinion or mind on how he feels about Barack Obama, and that right there is the problem with conservative, neo Christian, libertarian thinking.
This guy did not want to see facts or listen to reason, he wants to stay in his little bubble of self-made reality just like thousands upon thousands of other neo conservative, self-righteous, science denying, holier than thou, bible thumping, creationist preaching, global warming rejecting members of the Republican Party. He did not want to believe anything I showed him, just like he would not believe anything that is not wrapped in his brand of Americana.
Like Southern Baptist preachers of yesterday who used the bible to justify slavery, even in the face of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, telling his followers all men are created equal, the neo Christian conservative movement defends itself from facts by creating new standards and excuses for their icons of Republican lore.
The other day I read a majority of Republicans from Louisiana believe Barack Obama was responsible in 2006 for FEMA’s slow response to hurricane Katrina. The problem with that, as most people would agree, is the fact that Barack Obama was not the president in 2006 and George W. Bush was in year five of his eight year presidency. I am sure the enlightened Republicans who believe that are the same people who think Earth is only 5769 years old, men roamed the range with dinosaurs and god made Earth in six days. They are also the same people who believe every word of the bible is fact even in the face of science, technology and the scriptures themselves.
In Reza Aslan’s new book, “Zealots: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” Aslan a world-renowned historian of religion paints a picture of Jesus based on historical data and ancient documents rather than baseless myths. Yet right wing Christian zealots categorized and dismissed Aslan’s work because it was ‘written by a Muslim’, thereby denouncing his effort much in the way that ayatollahs continents away denounce anything produced by and coming from the western nations. It does not matter what is real and what is not.
In the movie “Idiocracy,” a futuristic tale was put forth that shows America as a land inhabited by idiots. The people believe anything and everything put forth by the dumb leaders of their country — akin to what has happened to a large segment of today’s American population. In spite of facts, data and scientific evidence many minds are stuck in 1000 CE with little hope of returning back to the future.
What do you say to a person who believes Earth was made in six days? Nothing. You walk away. And that is what I did to the guy complaining about the president’s vacation days. Unfortunately for America, some of those same science and fact deniers are not just some random guy making stupid statements without any facts; they are Republican politicians at every level of government across the land who have power and money, and who preach the same ‘idiocracies’ and lies that the vacation facts denier believes.
I may not be able to convince many red meat GOP of their idiocracies but, as is the case with so many others who will not let facts be marginalized by rhetoric, I too will stand on the mountain top and scream in the face of stupidity for as long as I have to, so that those who are not closed-minded can absorb reality before making an ill-informed decision.