When Thinking Doesn’t Count

Ooogie Boogie from Nightmare Before Christmas

Charles Blow writes today in the New York Times about head versus “heart.”

This underscores the current fight for the soul of this country. It’s not just a tug of war between left and right. It’s a struggle between the mind and the heart, between evidence and emotions, between reason and anger, between what we know and what we believe.

This conflict was captured in a tit-for-tat between Obama and Rush Limbaugh. In an interview with CBS this week, Obama complained about the “vitriol” coming from the likes of Limbaugh: “I think the vast majority of Americans know that we’re trying hard, that I want what’s best for the country.”

Limbaugh shot back on Friday, “I and most Americans do not believe President Obama is trying to do what’s best for the country.”

And there it was. Obama’s language focused on what people “know,” or should know. He seems to find comfort in the empirical nature of knowledge. It’s logical. Limbaugh’s language focused on what he thinks people “believe.” Beliefs are a more complicated blend of facts, or lies, and faith. And, they can exist beyond the realm of the rational.

And this is the part where I get really scared.

You see, I am a thinking person. I will look at facts. I will look at data. I will follow the trail. If I am worried about the provisions in the health care bill, I will read them for myself. And, I will change my mind when I am wrong.

Here’s the scary part. There are many–and truly not all–people who are strongly against health care (really insurance) reform who are just making stuff up. These people are making stuff up all the time. They are in an alternative reality. Where birth certificates from a sovereign state are suspect and there is a great and evil communist-nazi conspiracy.

And the left, we are going with logic. And facts. And thoughtful arguments. If people only understood–the President seems to be saying–they would support.

They have the boogie man. Boogie man wins over thinking man.

Keep an eye on the elections. Thinking people need a new strategy.

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