Neil deGrasse Tyson created outrage with a Twitter post that led many to wish the famed astrophysicist would simply stick to science.
In an overtly political tweet, Tyson wrote, “If the Pledge of Allegiance told the truth.”
He included an image that altered the actual Pledge of Allegiance with words which left little doubt that Tyson is disgusted with the current state of affairs in the United States.
“I pledge allegiance, to the Flag of the Divided States of America. And to the PACs, for which it stands, one Nation, at odds, divisible, with Liberty and Justice for some.”
Of course, there is little doubt that the United States has become increasingly polarized politically. Research proves that, time and again, the gap between liberals and conservatives continues to grow wider, and that divisiveness is played out in real time in Washington, as politicians prove unable to compromise in order to overcome that widening gap, reinforcing to both sides that the “other” side is incompetent.
And Tyson’s jab at PACs — the acronym for “political action committee” and a way for the very wealthy to inject massive amounts of cash into the election process — is timely. Super PACs are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of cash from any matter of individual or group of individuals, including corporations and unions, and then spend those unlimited sums of raised money to campaign for or against any political candidate. As Time recently reported, PACs are poised to influence the 2016 election even more so than the 2012 election.
“Campaign-finance watchdogs say that super PACs, which were created in the wake of two 2010 court rulings, undermine spending limits that have governed elections for generations and allow high-dollar donors to amass influence that Congress has long sought to prevent. The new crop of super PACs are now pushing boundaries in ways that were unimaginable just five years ago.”
Concerns that the massive donors behind the PACs are given a greater voice in America simply because of their wealth is a prevalent one that many on both ends of the political spectrum are concerned about, giving rise to “a large, bipartisan consensus that such outsized spending is dangerous for our democracy,” the Brennan Center for Justice reports.
Still, many Twitter users reacted to Neil deGrasse Tyson’s post negatively, with comments that ranged from dismissive to enraged.
“Nice science bro” and “Hey, remember when you used to do sciency stuff? That was cool” were some of the more mild reactions.
Others were less collected in their disapproval of Tyson’s altered Pledge of Allegiance.
“If you hate this country so much leave you have conned enough money out of ignorant people to leave,” wrote one user.
For another user, telling Neil deGrasse Tyson to leave the country wasn’t enough — he advised Tyson to leave the planet.
“Please, find a rocket, get on board, and leave this planet,” the user wrote.
Still, others agreed with the sentiments expressed in the altered Pledge of Allegiance. The tweet was shared more than 14,000 times and “favorited” by even more.
Tyson, who is famous for poking fun at religions, recently made headlines when he surprised many by defending Scientology — but not for the reason you might think. Read more about that here. And tell us — what do you think? Is Neil deGrasse Tyson’s view that the version of the Pledge of Allegiance he posted is more truthful a valid idea? Should he simply stick to being, as one Twitter user said, “sciency”?
[Photo by Cindy Ord / Getty Images]