OPINION: Differing Realities
Jonathan McCollough | Staff Writer
America’s two major political parties have always had their differences, but recently they have drifted too far apart to the point where we no longer agree on what’s real.
It is well known that the United States is a very large and diverse country, so it’s no surprise that we have a wide range of ideologies. These ideologies have traditionally clashed, and disputed policy ideas have nearly always had some pros and cons, but now politics has moved past disagreeing on policy and toward disagreeing on supposed reality.
Consider Republican Presidential candidate Ben Carson, a brilliant neurosurgeon who’s well-known for separating conjoined twins. His background as a neurosurgeon, however, does not make him qualified to speak on climate change. Carson has denied climate change, saying that he has not seen any “overwhelming science” demonstrating it, yet NASA says over 97 percent of active climate scientists agree that climate change is an urgent problem caused by humans. It would seem that the existence and cause of climate change would be easy to agree on yet Carson is not alone in denying it and the issue of our changing climate has somehow become a political issue divided by party.
Surprisingly the same can be said about the story of Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old high school student who was arrested over the homemade clock that he brought into school due to fear about it possibly being a bomb. The left has come out in storm, calling this a clear example of “rampant islamophobia in America” and Ahmed has been rewarded with gift packs from large companies like Microsoft as well as a trip to meet President Obama in the White House. On the right, however, David Harsanyi has said that this is not a case of Islamophobia, but instead of “authoritarian bureaucracy in our public schools, of which there are endless examples.” Ahmed’s experience of being clearly racially profiled somehow turned into a political debate about whether Islamophobia is even real.
There are many more examples of arguments over what is seemingly fact, such as Donald Trump’s ridiculous comments on the tie between vaccines and autism or Ted Cruz’s disagreement on the legality of gay marriage, and it’s a serious problem.
I can’t even consider many of the GOP candidates because they don’t live in my reality. In my reality, climate change is real and is caused by human activity. In my reality, racism and intolerance are serious problems that are still very prevalent. In my reality, evolution is a well-established science. In my reality, vaccines do not cause autism. In my reality, there is a constitutional separation of church and state, and there is no war on Christianity. In my reality, President Bush did not keep us safe, and the war in Iraq caused far more harm than good. In my reality, the Supreme Court’s decision on gay marriage was perfectly legal under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution.
These are facts to me. They are lies to others. Until we can agree on what is real and what is fantasy, we can’t have meaningful policy debate.