Friday, September 10, 2010

"What If We Ran America By The Poll Numbers?"

Fascinating show recently on KUOW's Weekday program: "What If We Ran America By The Poll Numbers?."
    President Obama pointed out that religious freedom is a constitutional right which is guaranteed to all Americans when he addressed the possible construction of an Islamic cultural center and mosque near ground zero. Yet any show of support for the cultural center goes against the will of the people — at least according to recent poll numbers. The majority of American's are against the project, if not insulted by it. What if our country was ruled by the majority? What if polls were always the deciding factor in what could, or could not, happen? Which is right: The religious freedom argument, or that the sentiments of the majority should be respected?

The guests on this program discuss the disconnect between what some people believe and what the facts of the matter actually are. This is a conundrum that I've been thinking about a lot recently. Why is it that some people -- most notably a lot of people who associate with the tea baggers, many libertarians, and the extremist fringe of conservative fundamentalist monotheists -- hold the beliefs that they do, even though the facts do not support the belief? Here I'm thinking of issues that are amenable to proof or disproof using factual evidence, such as whether or not President Obama is an American citizen, or claims about the participation of immigrants in violent acts.


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