JIM CREES: Bomb Agrabah NOW!

I’m not a huge fan of polls.

I certainly am not a fan of polls and “voter surveys” during the pre-pre-pre election season.

Politicians say they hate polls, but they are the real polling addicts. When polls show any given politician in the lead of whatever race he or she happens to be running, they are more than ready to assure the voters such surveys are 100 percent, rock solid.

When, however, the polls and surveys are less favorable, the same politicians will promise each and every voter the numbers mean nothing ... absolutely NOTHING!

The problem is ... whether I appreciate polls and random surveys or not, they do show us a lot about ourselves.

And ourselves is scary.

Any reasonable survey organization has gotten polling down to a science. If a poll is carried out responsibly, the numbers and statistics are going to offer a relatively accurate picture of what people think or do in any given area.

I recently saw one set of numbers I found very revealing. More Americans fear ISIS than do Europeans (about 2-to-1) and many, Many, MANY more Americans are afraid of ISIS than are Israelis (about three times as many!).

There are, however, more revealing poll numbers out there. Some show who we support politically (and why) and some show how disturbingly limited we are as Americans — even inadvertently.

A really sad poll demonstrating our national knee-jerk reaction to anything smacking of “Muslim” or “Arab” was made public recently and showed “ ... 30 percent of Republican primary voters support bombing Agrabah ...”

Now, lots of folks support and even promote a strong and harsh response to any perceived threat on these United States by anyone ... including and especially by “Muslim extremists.”

But ...

For those of you who may not know it,  Agrabah is the fictional city from Disney’s movie “Aladdin.” More worrisome (to me anyway) is the fact that 41 percent of Donald Trump supporters support the notion of bombing Agrabah into oblivion.


This, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is not simply a case of liberal GOTCHA questions. It is, rather, a reflection of the silly, mindless fear of all things foreign in our country anymore.

And guess what. This same ignorance is shown in any number of surveys carried out recently.

A National Science Foundation survey a year or so ago found some 25 percent of Americans still don’t realize the Earth revolves around the Sun rather than the opposite.

Hey! I’m not making this stuff up! Even I can’t make this stuff up!

Frankly, I would attribute our national ignorance to a discovery by the National Endowment for the Arts. A recent survey by that organization  revealed “ ... fewer than half of adult Americans had read any work of fiction or poetry in the preceding year — no detective novels, romances or even the “Rapture” novels so beloved of the religious right. Only 57 percent had read any kind of nonfiction work.”

If we are not reading, and we depend wholly and solely on FOX News for our information, we end up with people such as those in a recent Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics survey showing more than 80 percent of Americans support “ ... mandatory labels on foods containing DNA.” This is about the same number as support mandatory labeling of Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) foods “produced with genetic engineering.”

DNA. In food.

DNA! Think about it.

Sigh, again.

And with regard to reading, a Pew Research study recently found  “... the majority of Americans don’t know that Genesis is the first book of the Bible. Half of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple. And one in 10 Americans believes that Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife.”

Now you may think we are discussing some “other people.” The problem is we’re talking about “our people” — the 30 percent of Americans the Washington Post found didn’t know what year 9/11 took place “ ... though 95 percent could correctly identify the month and day.” (Thank God, considering the phrase “9/11” exactly describes that specific information!)

The folks who want to bomb Agrabah are probably some of the same 55 percent of Americans who believe a belief in Christianity was specifically written into the Constitution — including 75 percent of Republicans and Evangelicals.

And these were certainly some of the same folks — about half of Americans —who believe Christianity predated Judaism. That’s right, half of America actually believes Jesus came before Moses.

And then, dealing with more ... um ... earthly issues, there are the 63 percent of Americans who support “The Affordable Care Act” but then turn around and oppose it (46 percent) when it is called “Obamacare.”

“Affordable” is apparently acceptable while “Obama” is not — although the two things are exactly the same in this case.

And I repeat once again ... Sigh.