Anyway, as I enjoyed my meal, my son-in-law and daughter engaged in lively conversation with our guest about the his field of medicine and what his future plans were (for reference, my son-in-law is an attending interventional radiologist and professor of medicine in Ohio). The young doctor was only in town a few weeks on a rotation and was planning on returning to Florida to discuss his future plans with his (also physician) wife. Seems he has decisions to make as to where he would be spending a year in a fellowship program in his field of study. Keep in mind, although I was seated next to him, I had nothing to offer in conversation as I am not a physician and no longer live in the community.
Interestingly, the conversation moved into a discussion on Covid-19 and it appeared all were in agreement that science is not something to be mixed with politics as scientists don't rely upon political ideologies or emotions to determine outcomes. Once the guest agreed, I began to wonder how he felt about Florida's Governor's positions on disease. Still unwilling to interject, I waited for him to open up that "can of worms" and right on cue, he did.
After establishing his "belief" that science must be apolitical, he opined that Florida was being well served by Gov. DeSantis. Only when I shook my head did he assert "you must be a democrat" and then he began to ask me about the "abuses Biden has undertaken as president." The look on my daughter's face was priceless. Please note, my daughter is basically apolitical and has zero interest in Florida politics, but she knows her father knows a bit about politics, government, law and the Constitution. Not wanting to embarrass her, I calmly informed the guest that my politics are not based upon emotion, but rather upon the system of government laid out by the Framers of our Constitution. Then he pressed about Biden abusing his authority through the use of "Executive Orders". I reminded him that "EO's" have been around since George Washington and Ronald Reagan was the the first of the "modern" presidents to overwhelmingly exploit their use (See: www.presidency.ucsb.edu/statistics/data/executive-orders).
. Knowing where this was headed, the guest emphatically stated that mandates for masks and vaccines were "Unconstitutional" and DeSantis was correct is refusing to abide by them. My response was straightforward. DeSantis is simply engaged in a publicity campaign centered upon the notion of nullification of Federal authority. Amazingly, he agreed! What he did not understand or appreciate, was the fact that nullification has never been a successful position to take. I reminded him of John C. Calhoun and Jackson's Nullification Crisis and the position the Framers took in Article VI (Supremacy Clause) making the supreme law of the land with States being required to adhere to it. Only at this point did he ask what my background was. Oops!
After stating so clearly that science and scientists are above reproach by politicians, he seemed to ignore the very same applying to Constitutional historians, lawyers or professors of American history/political science. When he ventured to guess that no time in our history has a president ever used Executive Orders to mandate actions by the public, I decided enough was enough. I then filled him in on my background, and reminded him that mandates have been around for decades. Seems doctors should stick with science because he seemed out of his league when the issue of rationing was mandated by FDR in an EO during World War II. (See: www.nps.gov/articles/Rationing-in-WWII.htm).
Being smart enough to know he was "out of his lane", the good doctor quietly backed off without a whimper. The remainder of the evening was quite pleasant, yet I couldn't help but think that out Country is is deep trouble, when well educated individuals can refuse to acknowledge reality if it doesn't fit their preconceived narratives. Although he accepted by arguments, I seriously wondered if it made any difference to him at all.
Which brings me to my last point. If and when the House January 6 Investigating Committee eventually reports to the nation that a former president actively sought the destruction of our democracy, will it ever make an impact on their belief system? With the potential destructive impact on the former president and MAGA, will it make any difference if the lane for the GOP presidential nomination opens wide for a Trump clone like Ron DeSantis? Will anything sink into the brains of those convinced they alone are right, no matter facts or reality? Our democracy is in peril if the answer is "No."
As Founder and Framer Alexander Hamilton once wrote; "There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism." It's well past the time for Americans to call out MAGA and the Radical Right's Media Machine for what they are - Anti-American, hate filled insurrectionists wrapped up in undemocratic ideologies. Until then, we are all in peril. So, for this holiday season, please pray for our democracy - we all need it.