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OMG Where’s the damn Tipping Point?

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We’ve waited almost two years now for a majority of Republicans to reach the tipping point: when they realize they backed the wrong horse in Donald J. Trump and that he’s a clear and present danger to America.

With Monday’s stunning and stark revelation of Trump’s treachery, that point may be nearer than ever. True, after the shocking press conference, yesterday a few Republicans– John McCain in particular, but also, to a greater or less extent, Paul Ryan, Bob Corker, Ben Sasse, Tim Scott, Liz Cheney, Trey Gowdy, Susan Collins Jeff Flake, Will Hurd and a few others in the Congress–criticized Trump. But we’re still a long, long way from Trump’s base repudiating their leader, and I want to explain why.

Some years ago, a book was published. “Grand Canyon: A Different View” was written by a group of creationists who argued that “the [Grand] canyon is no more than a few thousand years old and was formed by the Global Flood or Noachian flood of the Bible.” Specifically, the authors wrote, “A judgment by water of a world broken by the sin of man known as ‘the Fall’ [occurred] “about 6,000 years ago” when the “actual historical event” known as Noah’s Flood created “the sedimentary layers we see in the Grand Canyon, and in the rest of the world for that matter.” The authors affirm this to be true, they argue, because “Scripture” says so, and the Bible is “the inerrant word of God.”

Normally, we could laugh off this arrant nonsense, but these people—the evangelicals—have been seizing power for decades, and Trump is their latest avatar. “Grand Canyon: A Different View” became quite controversial when, shockingly, the National Park Service (NPS) approved it for sale in dozens of their bookstores across the land.

Needless to say, this crazy decision—rightwing religious propaganda sold at taxpayer-funded stores–alarmed many intelligent people, including geologists at the NPS itself. The agency’s chief of the Geologic Resource Division, a man named David Shaver, wrote a scathing protest letter to the NPS’s Office of Policy stating: “NPS approval of a book that repudiates science and promotes a narrow religious viewpoint for sale in a park bookstore raises the question as to whether such approval is contrary to statutory direction to use a ‘program of the highest quality science.’” The NPS promised it would look into the issue, but as far as I have been able to determine, the book still sits on NPS bookshelves.

I bring this up only to point out the patent stupidity about science among hardcore Christians. Anyone who believes the Grand Canyon was created 6,000 years ago by the Biblical flood is obviously delusional. And yet, there are an awful lot of these people in the U.S. Huffington Post reported that fully 28% of Americans believe the Bible is the literal word of God. That’s about 90 million of us, based on a U.S. population of 325.7 million in 2017. And a Pew study found that 61% of evangelicals do believe that the Bible is the literal word of God.

It seems likely that the vast majority of these believers are Republicans, since evangelicals constitute a core of Trump’s base. These are the people least likely ever to turn against their leader, Trump, because they’re incapable of rational thinking. Think about it: we’re asking them to perform a particularly complex form of reasoning: to understand that Donald Trump, and the Republican Party, are indebted to the Russian president, Putin, and that his every word and deed is consciously designed to aid and abet Russia in undermining American democracy and despoil our international relations with friends and allies. And more than that: to understand why.

That’s a tall order for Biblical literalists.

You and I, dear reader, have no problem reaching this understanding, but people with deficient critical thinking skills are unable to. We can certainly agree that anyone who believes the Grand Canyon was created by the Flood lacks critical thinking skills. These people are unreachable by fact, evidence or reason. Indeed, they constitute the hardest core of Trump’s base precisely because they are irrational.

We’ll never persuade them that Trump is, wittingly or unwittingly, a Russian agent. They cannot learn about the world around them, because they committed the suicidal act of killing their own minds when they decided that the Bible is the literal truth of the universe and they need not bother themselves with facts.

What is clear after Monday’s debacle and Tuesday’s fallout is that these events have been very favorable for The Resistance. What we could not do for ourselves–convince people that Putin has kompromat on Trump–Trump did for us. Thank you Mister President! I predict Trump’s poll numbers will fall in the next few weeks. Whether or not this constitutes the final, actual tipping point, I don’t know. But if there is a tipping point out there–and God help us, there must be–we’re a lot closer to it than we were last Sunday.

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