The Rational Response Squad has just received an interesting email. Adam Abeles, Chief Biological Science Advisor for Mike Gravel, an Alaskan State Senator running for President, has written us and vocalized respect for our efforts, along with the request of some exposure due to the congruence of his goals with ours. This includes not only intensified promotion of science in all realms, particularly education, but the elimination of creation science in any classroom, and an open dialogue about the dangers of religion. We are reluctant to throw public support in for any particular candidate as it makes a potential conversion to a 501c3 much more difficult. We are able to convey the facts to you and present you with an area in which to discuss them. We want to know what you think of Mike Gravel. For one minute focus on your ideal candidate, and not the person you have to pick because you can't stand the other leading candidate. Let's not focus on the chances of victory, but rather the potential groundswell of support that could be generated online and the potential repercussions in future elections.
Below is some information on Mike Gravel and we are having a more in-depth discussion about some of the questions below on our site.
Highlights from letter to Rational Response Squad:
"To date, Mike Gravel is the ONLY Presidential candidate running to declare publicly his total support for Evolution, Science as well as recognizing the oppressive nature of Religion."
"Mike is also running on a platform of increased funding for Science, (half of the United States Budget under his economic plan) and totally discarding any notion of Creationism whatsoever in the public education system. Mike believes education comes first before anything."
"It would be... beneficial for everyone to see that they do in fact have a choice of a candidate who not only shares your views on the current status of Science but also feels the same about Religion."
At the start of 2006, Gravel decided the best way he could promote direct democracy and the National Initiative was to run for president. On April 17, 2006, Gravel became the first candidate for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in the 2008 election, announcing his run in a speech to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Short on campaign cash, he took public transportation to get to his announcement. Other principal issues for Gravel were a progressive retail sales tax, which he saw as removing tax loopholes for the rich, relieving tax burdens on the middle class and the poor, and allowing abolition of the Internal Revenue Service; withdrawal from the war in Iraq within 120 days; a single payer national health care system; and term limits.
Due to his time in the Senate, Gravel was invited to many of the Democratic debates. On April 26, 2007, he took part in the first Democratic presidential debate at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, South Carolina. During the debate he suggested a Democratic bill requiring the president to withdraw from Iraq on pain of criminal penalties. He also advocated positions such as opposing preemptive nuclear war. He stated that the Iraq War had the effect of creating more terrorists and that the "war was lost the day that George Bush invaded Iraq on a fraudulent basis." Regarding his fellow candidates, he said, "I got to tell you, after standing up with them, some of these people frighten me - they frighten me."
Thought provoking questions...
Are you willing to send the message that candidates need to start standing up for science even if it takes votes away from a candidate with a better chance of winning? (ie Nader/Gore/Bush)
Will voting for someone, even if he isn't successful at winning the Presidency, set the tone for future elections?
Libertarian aims of minimalist government almost seem more difficult to achieve than the goal of improving scientific literacy within our society. Since Libertarians are noncommittal on the issue of religion and science, would you be willing to put those ideals aside in favor of the promotion of scientific advancement?
Gravel has exposed the war as based on lies and how much would a swift end to the Iraq War influence your vote? Do you feel that it would be a viable option at this point?