This I Believe

D. H. - Cocoa, Florida
Entered on September 11, 2006

In response to Comic-book Frank Miller’s foolish self-aggrandizing, in which every problem can be solved by a color-blind nutcase with a billy-club or an aging billionaire in black tights, I speak as one who was NOT too young to remember the Viet Nam debacle, or the equal-rights revolution, or the day that humans first set foot on the moon.

I was born with a talent and a vocation that the world needs. But I was shaped by the rebellion of the entire free world against the stifling falsehoods of the ignorant 1950s.

I am an engineer. I do not “believe” in anything. I have to KNOW.

When a surgeon is operating on you, you do not want him to “believe” that he’s operating on the right organ. You do not want to “believe” that your brakes will work, or the bridge will hold, or the nuclear weapons won’t detonate by accident. You put your trust in us, because you have no choice.

We do not have the luxury of “believing.” WE HAVE TO KNOW.

I don’t “believe” that the Bush regime is a disaster for the USA, for the world, for the human race. I KNOW it, the same way I know that a bridge needs steel as well as concrete. I don’t “believe” that Karl Rove is a liar, a fascist, and a traitor for sale to the highest bidder. I KNOW it, the same way I know the shape of an airplane’s wing that holds you up versus the one that slams you into the ground.

It would take me years, if it were possible at all, for me to explain to you HOW I know these things. But then, it would be the same for me to try to teach you how to read the electron microscope graph of stress cracking corrosion that doomed Columbia.

You trust me to make the judgment call that protects your life every time you turn on a car engine, every time you aren’t electrocuted by your TV. You trust me to have the inborn talent, the education, and the obsessive need for facts and truth that you weren’t born with and aren’t driven to pursue.

You can believe anything you want to. I do not have that luxury. I can’t believe ANYTHING. I HAVE to know.

And this I KNOW: when someone snarls “There ought to be limits to freedom,” when someone declares that things would be easier if he was dictator, when someone excuses stupidity and laziness with “you don’t want your president to be the smartest one in the room,” then you don’t want that person, or anyone who sides with him, to be president. Period.

And when I tell you to get your brakes checked, you don’t have to “believe” me. You just have to do it. Because this, I KNOW.