We’ve all heard of the “stupid button.” And sometimes we hear about someone getting out of bed and jumping on it with both feet.
Essentially that’s what Sen. Paul Rand did this week when he said air pollution has not connection with asthma. He used some off-the-wall report to base his claim when common sense will tell you that anything foreign introduced into the lungs can cause problems and aggravate existing problems.
The fact that Rand is a doctor, a man of science, makes his comment even more bizarre. His comment came while speaking against proposed rules regarding air pollution. The National Institutes of Health said last year that "recent findings have conclusively demonstrated a link between asthma and air pollution, especially ground-level ozone."
Or just ask anyone with pulmonary problems who suddenly find themselves in situations where the air is unclean.
Obviously this goes down as a gaffe for Rand. His medical colleagues will be whispering, “What was old Paul thinking?”
At least he didn’t say that smoking cigarettes isn’t linked to heart disease, lung cancer and many other ailments. But then again, he wasn’t debating an issue involving the tobacco industry.
Politics always has the “stupid button” in tow. Rand is not the first one to swan dive upon it. And he won’t be the last.
But with the proliferation of YouTube and other such mass media response devices, politicians are getting much more wary to what they say and do. Their gaffes can go viral in minutes if not seconds.
Some see that as a bad thing. Others see it as good. It probably just depends on whether it’s your candidate or the other guy.
On this very page today, Cal Thomas says that many candidates are imperfect. He says this defending presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich. Pundits typically are identified as Republican supportive or Democratic supportive. Ironically, he has uplifted the skeletons found in other candidates closets. But he is correct, you won’t find a candidate without some imperfections or those who haven’t gaffed at some point.
In Rand’s case, he picked a subject that is less about political ideology and more about quality of life regardless of which party you adhere to. There’s an old saying that “the proof of the pudding is in the eating thereof.” Using such analogy, if we have a choice between breathing clean air or breathing dirty air, we will all choose clean air. And no one has to wonder why? We know dirty air is harmful to us in varying degrees.
And this being common sense, Rand’s comment will do little to physically harm anyone. It’s so ludicrous, it won’t even stir serious debate, regardless of the proposed legislation.