Part III: He Blinded Me with Science and Policy
There are moments, especially, when I’m feeling snarky when I question the intelligence and introspective level of many politicians. Thus, I ponder the intelligence of Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon and current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, who believes that the Earth was literally created in 6 days, which contradicts the scientific “big bang theory.” Previously, a Wisconsin state lawmaker, Rep. Jesse Kramer, stated, “Yes, the Earth is 6,000 years old, that’s a fact” despite scientific studies that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old. Then, there’s V.P. Mike Pence, who believes in creationism, has said “I think the science is very mixed on the subject of global warming,” asserts that smoking doesn’t kill but iterates that it’s not good for you, and that “Abortion inducing drugs can be very dangerous” (see the July 15, 2016 online article from Popular Science by Rebecca Boyle).
Upon conversing with Tom Prigg, I discovered another candidate who, obviously, believes in science and is one of those rare people, who are constantly learning to expand their knowledge on a wide range of topics. For example, he has read the eBook written by Bob Altemeyer, The Authoritarians, where he learned the reason why multitudes of people are rejecting scientific facts. He explains:
It has to do with where they fall on the Authoritarian scale. The more susceptible people are to authoritarian rule the more ‘faith based’ or ‘belief’ based they are rather than fact base. They see the world more black and white, rule driven. It’s about what’s right and they know what’s right because that’s what they’ve been told by people in positions of authority. Science is malleable in and complex. The rules may be wrong and must always be tested. New pieces of information can turn believed ideas upside down and say the exact opposite. That kind of world seems unstable, unpredictable and too chaotic. It’s very unattractive to people who just want an answer and not the story.
Currently, he has witnessed the collapse of “our scientific field.” He elaborates, “No, it’s been collapsing since 2000. No president really helped. The Obama administration helped with the stimulus package. In fact, it saved my job back then. His brain initiative is good, but not nearly enough for what we need. Trump is accelerating the problem.” Sadly, he has seen scientists having to resort to Go Fund Me pages to secure financing for vital projects, such as, one doing Alzheimer’s research that had a paper published, which “indicates that even good research isn’t being funded.” He vows, “If I’m elected, I want to push for a doubling of scientific and education funding to the next Democratic president” and “will work to remove all of these non-science people in government. They are killing our environment, our education, and our future.”
However, despite the current emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs in college, he believes that Bachelor of Arts degrees are still important. He declares, “No, I think we still have a place for B.A.s. It’s the humanities region of the mind, the orbital frontal cortex. It’s an exercise of abstract reasoning that we need for all other fields. I wish we would encourage more art. I’m very pro-art with my kids even if I also encourage math and sciences. Taking new ideas and twisting the boundaries is the very thing that pushes human advancement.”
Every campaign needs a good policy position and implementation plans, so he has developed a five-point plan. He elaborated on his plan:
1)We need new industries to serve as our economic base/backbone. That’s the renewable energy industry…The new energy sectors would provide millions of jobs from the high school and PhD level. The new energy sectors would also spur on new companies, technologies and other innovations.
2)Change the rules of subsidies. We no longer give subsidies to companies that move overseas and we change how they’re awarded based on the economic dependence of an area they’re moving to. So, the poorer a community the larger the subsidy award.
3)We take the bi-partisan idea of infrastructure development to include business buildings within towns and communities. By fixing up these old boarded up buildings within towns and communities we improve the ‘downtown’ areas…That will provide new jobs in that community, thus circulating money to support other businesses. It would build the community’s tax base to support their schools and other services.
4)Small business grants, not loans, to help kick start new business owners with a good idea and strong work ethic.
5)Unions. Unions. Unions. We didn’t have good jobs until we had strong unions…As unions have diminished, so have workers’ rights, wages, and benefits. We have to bring back and empower workers’ ability to collective bargain, otherwise the wealthiest CEOs will continue to exploit American workers.
Some other areas that he’s in favor of are investigating a Universal Basic Income, supporting the H.R.676 Medicare For All Act, implementing a $15/hr. minimum wage in Pennsylvania, and establishing “Development Centers” that are day care centers for low income families, but “they’re not simply day cares. They are development centers so the kids have classrooms according to their age/development levels and have activities geared towards those levels.”
Finally, support is vitally needed for all grassroots candidates, so I hope that his constituents and others will embrace Tom Prigg’s parting words, “I have experienced the problems that plague our district and country. The only way we’re going to see change is if we do it for ourselves; this is why I’m running…It became apparent that if I was ever going to see the change that I wanted, I was going to have to be it. But I can’t do it alone. I need your help. I need you to step up and be the change you want to see and help our efforts. We’re in this fight together and can either win together or do nothing and go down together. Any support is crucial.”
To donate to Tom’s campaign, please go to: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/tp2018
To locate Tom Prigg on the internet, please go to any of these sites:
Campaign website: https://www.tompriggforcongress.com/