This blog entry isn't about astronomy. But I'm getting pretty tired of watching critical thinking going down the tubes in this world, and unfortunately it's happening everywhere I look. I've held back making political and social statements for many reasons, but I find these reasons getting thinner and paler as time goes on. If I don't say something now, then when? Tomorrow? Next week? A year from now?
Today as I write this there is a protest going on in my home town. Northern California is known for protests, of course, but this one threw me: it's against homosexuality.
Against gays? In northern California?
These narrow-minded twinkies are driving around in trucks with billboards and signs on them sporting the usual tired arguments against what they ironically think is deviant behavior. At one point a guy in one of these trucks was right behind me, and I considered saying something, but I was too angry. Probably that's a good thing. Later I spotted a couple on the road well behind me, and they were driving too slowly for me to let them catch up. I was thinking of communicating my feelings to them through some "sign" language of my own. Perhaps it's best they were too far back.
On my bulletin board I have a rule that trolls (people who say outrageous things just to see what kind of argument they can start) should be ignored. They are looking for attention, so the best thing to do is starve them. I was thinking of that as I watched the two small-minded drivers a hundred meters behind me. I realize now that these guys are not really trolls: they are not trying to just get a reaction, they are trying to mold the world into their own twisted version of reality.
Maybe I should have said something. But like most people who have some irrational view of things, they will never change their mind because of something I say. But if we sit idly by others may be swayed. It's our silence that makes us weak.
So I'm saying something here, where thousands of people can read it. Yes, this isn't astronomy-related (though this certainly falls under the category of critical thinking, or the lack thereof), but I am not only an astronomer. I'm a human being. As such, it's my right -- and my duty -- to protest the protesters.