Authored by William Robert Barber
There is this Marine Corps saying, “Presumptions and assumptions gets you killed in combat.” The accurate transference to civilian life of this saying is attained by merely substituting the action word “killed” with expressions such as: A waste of time and money, a distortion of original intent, the replacement of the tenets honesty and truthfulness with immoral or amoral.
Our United States of America has over the last century (or more) developed and in the main established a government whose process of operational scope is not of the people, by the people, nor for the people; indeed, there is evidence that the 1789 constitutional intent has perished from reality. We the people can no longer presume or assume that our representative republic is in fact representative, that our federal system of power sharing between the government of central and state is intact, or that our republic functions within the lawfulness of the constitution.
We citizens have been bewitched into what cognitive scientists have described as “existence bias;” which is the persistent suggestion that the status quo is so prevalent in thought acceptance that its continuance cannot be denied. Interestingly, while believing in the power of incumbent thought citizens act on the razor’s edge of disingenuousness. They will entertain almost any antithesis of the status quo. Even when details are omitted…a declaration by any politician of an alternative to the prevailing has popular appeal.
A perfect example is the election of President Obama. Obama’s message was viciously anti-Bush. With complicit aid of the national media and the entire Democratic leadership President Bush was bludgeoned by personal attacks. Obama’s most pronounced antagonisms were for Bush’s foreign and domestic policies. Now after holding office for more than two years Obama has mimicked more of Bush’s policies than not. We now know that President Obama is evermore the status quo politician. We now understand that his battle cry of “Change we can believe in,” was nothing less than words empty of belief.
Possibly the continuance of the status quo was a more accurate descriptive of Obama’s administration after all, it was Obama who declared the simple answer to an ancient riddle of politics when he noted that if the ingredients stay the same how could we citizens expect a difference result. He pledged different! Well, his actions proved him to be the same; the same as any other politician seeking to achieve and now sustain power.
If that is so how is it that so many Americans still maintain a positive sentiment for his presidency? Often our eyes deny us clarity. We discount the actual with the utility of self-serving contrivance. The same occurs on what we hear or read. We have sentiments that can with some artful prompting discombobulate the meaningfulness of the palpable and evidentiary.
Besides the effective of self-serving contrivances, there are certain words, subjects, and phrases that mindlessly spin the minds of the normally rational and reasonable into a metaphoric array of self-determined illusions. These certainties that prompt one’s mind into the illusionary are disjointed from sensibility but not from effect.
Let me name a few of these certain words, education, fairness, level playing field, and social justice. For example let’s take education. A very powerful stand-alone word that entails passionate conjectures, even some facts, but do bridge to other descriptions such as teachers’ unions, school bonds, subjects taught, parental influence, sin and property taxes. Who in their right mind would be against education? But of course the real question is more of a definition along cost benefit analysis then the generalities of education on a per se basis.
Assumptions and presumptions are dangerous means…illusions of blissfulness and wisdom are not automatically encased behind a pretty face or beautiful words. And without a doubt assumption, and presumption gets one killed in combat.