August 12th, 2015

book cover humor

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Jumping In With Both 30.48 Centimeters

            I originally wrote this in early June, long before Donald Trump raised his hair into the presidential fray, and then promptly forgot about it. If only I could forget about Trump’s hair.

            You’d think America would support a Presidential candidate who chose to be honest and bold, as opposed to most candidates in living memory. Now the Democrats have a candidate who took a bold statement, who’s absolutely right about his bold statement, and who doesn’t stand a chance because of his bold statement.

Lincoln Chaffee—love that name—took aim at Hillary Clinton’s knees, which is about as high as he’s going to get to beating her. Maybe ankles. In his announcement he said America should become internationalist, which is another of those ideas that’s excellent in the perfect idealist world.

And as part of becoming internationalist, Chaffee thinks it’s high time America went metric.

He’s right, and I’m not just saying that because I’d vote for him over Clinton. I’d vote for almost anyone over Clinton.

As Chaffee pointed out, the United States is one of only three nations that don’t use the metric system. The other two are Myanmar and Liberia, and they’re not exactly movers and shakers, are they? There’s some question about whether Liberia’s even still there.

The metric system is simple and logical, easy to follow increments of tens and hundreds. They even stuck in the simplest possible way to measure temperature, with water freezing at zero and boiling at 100. Easy-peasy. Simple to use, better for business and science, and right in line with the rest of the world.

No wonder Americans hate it.

We’re a contrary people, and we don’t automatically go along, whether it makes sense or not. If the rest of the world jumped off the Empire State Building, we’d laugh and point. Also, in our divisive political system, it’s impossible for someone on one side to make a suggestion—no matter how reasonable—without the other side demonizing the idea. Here’s an example of what happens instead of a reasonable discussion:

“Maybe, since we’re at war with terrorist groups and being infiltrated by drug dealers, we should make more of an effort to secure our borders?”


There’s also a not-unreasonable fear that some of the other ideas embraced by the rest of the world don’t work so well here. Maybe going metric would help more than it would hurt, but what would we be pushed to change next? After all:
Give ‘em 2.54 centimeters and they’ll take 1.6093 kilometers.