A Ship of Fools

A ship of fools is adrift. The crew is filling the sails with lies, ignorance and innuendo – fueled by religiosity, ignorance, racism, resentment, misogyny, homophobia, hate speech, class discrimination, ethnicity, fear, distrust of government, disparagement of anyone and everyone not like them and, not the least, unbridled political ambition funded by billionaires. No person, no institution is safe from their depredations, not even the sitting president. Fear of truth also fuels this taxonomy of dysfunction, deception and destruction. To wit:

The Ship’s Crew at Work

(1) A Texas Republican Representative claims wind is a “finite” resource and using it to spin power-generating windmills slows the winds down, causing temperatures to go up.

(2) The Republican governor of Florida has prohibited state officials and employees from using the term “global warming”.

(3) A recent poll shows 57 percent of Republican primary voters support Christianity as the national religion, clearly advocating, as does ISIL, religious government in a country founded on religious freedom. It should be noted that in this same demographic, 66 percent do not believe in global warming and 49 percent do not believe in evolution.

(4) In the U.S. Congress, 47 members, led by Republican Representative Tom Cotton, wrote to the government of Iran to warn them away from signing a nuclear nonproliferation agreement with the United States and other countries.

(5) The father of U.S. Representative Ted Cruz is quoted in the national media as claiming that LGBT rights will lead to football teams showering with girls.

(6) Rudy Giuliani contributed - “I do not believe that the president loves America.”

(7) In Jackson, Mississippi police officers drew their guns on a six-year-old child.

(8) The Kochs are offering $889 million to influence the 2016 elections. 

(9) In Georgia, a Republican legislator is concerned that human embryos might be mixed with jellyfish cells to create “glow-in-the-dark” babies.

(10) Not to be outdone, an Idaho Republican State Representative thinks gynecological examinations for pregnancy can be carried out by having women swallow tiny cameras. 

(11) Also in Idaho, another Republican representative believes the state has no right to protect children from parents who refuse them medical treatment in favor of faith healing. 

(12) A Republican legislator in Montana has proposed a bill to control women’s attire. His bill makes it unlawful for females to sport yoga pants outside of their homes and restricts women from wearing apparel that’s overly tight or that shows a lot of skin. The bill also aims to stop men from showing their nipples. Individuals who ignore the guidelines of this proposed law would be subject to fines as high as $10,000 and the possibility of life in prison.

(13.) A wealthy-from-birth candidate for president wants to do away with mandated minimum wage.


The foregoing isn’t the entire crew roster and is certainly not the entire story, but it does illustrate where our present course is leading as we sail into the future of this society, this country. That we have spent nearly $1 trillion on one fighter aircraft that has yet to be cleared for use after at least 10 years of development while education, roads, water supplies and health care languish is testimony to our values as a nation, as a people. That we have been involved in one war or another for 222 years out of the 239 years since 1776 speaks more about our values as a society than all of our rhetoric. War-making and war machines have taken precedence over our development as a civilized people. This seems to me to be an unspeakable travesty of what we, as a nation, represent ourselves as being.

Even education has been transformed from a national treasure into a target. Politicians with no experience or background in education are pushing destructive policies like endless, meaningless testing and third grade retention for kids who aren’t learning to read on a phony political schedule, all in service to political contributors who are already profiting from privatized public education. Is it paranoid to suggest an uneducated or poorly educated public would be far easier to manipulate and control and, aside from profit, isn’t that what makes this an attractive strategy for some?

What kind of world do these people envision in the aftermath of their attacks on the social contract? What kind of country will this be when people are without healthcare, without education, without roofs over their heads, without food, without employment at living wages? Are they imagining with some kind of satisfaction soup kitchens and bread lines? Is this the path they and their politician accomplices are planning to achieve “American Exceptionalism”? 

We struggle constantly with the ancient hierarchical social belief system in which some are always “better” than others by virtue of an accident of birth, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or any other quality with which they sort the polity. People who operate at this low level of socialization seem incapable of perceiving or admitting to the simple existence of, or respect for, “others”—as when an elected official publicly characterizes women as a “cut of meat”. 

Where are we going with all of this? That is the most important question we are compelled to ask and demand answers from everyone including ourselves personally. Our fate as a society is at stake. Our fate as a civilization is in peril of sailing on as we are with a seriously defective moral compass.

This piece was written by:

Emanuele Corso's photo

Emanuele Corso

Emanuele Corso’s essays on politics, education, and the social contract have been published at NMPolitics, Light of New Mexico, Grassroots Press, Nation of Change, and his own website: siteseven.net. He taught Schools and Society at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he took his PhD in Educational Policy Studies. His BS was in Mathematics. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force’s Strategic Air Command where he served as a Combat Crew Officer during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He has been a member of both the Carpenters, Joiners and IATSE (theatrical) labor unions and is retired from IATSE. He is presently working on a book: Belief Systems and the Social Contract.

Contact Emanuele Corso

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