Stephen Hunter

Why Are We Americans So Politically Stupid?

With 70% of Republicans still believing that the election was stolen, I’m wondering why we Americans are so politically dim.

 

Now seems an appropriate time to ask, “Why are Americans so politically dumb?” Seventy-three million people voted for a man who, for four years, hasn’t shown up for work and has never displayed the slightest interest in the job other than the spotlight it automatically commands.

Policy doesn’t even get a chance to crawl to the starting line with this guy; there isn’t any. His “governance” is simply what daily stew of grievance, self-aggrandizement, howling absurdities, obvious falsehoods, and gasping hypocrisies his fevered, arguably unstable mind can spit out at any given moment.

The one thing that makes him an “Everyman” is, by evidence of his Tweets, his preference for watching endless hours of TV in lieu of almost any other activity, save golf. He doesn’t read, he has zero grasp of even rudimentary history, he professes belief in things that would make a normal five-year-old blush.

70% of Republicans still believe he was robbed of the election; they bow, scrape, and cower as their tongues fork out to find his boots.

There is a good case for criminal negligence to be made as the richest, supposedly most advanced country on the planet simply shrugs in the face of a pandemic that will kill more in one year than all the Twentieth Century U.S. wars combined.

As one pundit put it, “If over 1,000 Americans a day were being beheaded by ISIS and the U.S. President did and said nothing, would we put up with such a clown for even a moment?”

In light of such realities, once again, the question has to be confronted: Why are we so hog-swallowed stupid? What stubborn idiocy has us seeing cows ears and thinking them silk purses?

 

There has come the eclipse of critical thought; the ability to digest information, sift out the meaningful, and make decisions based on facts and considered, rational analysis.

 

Two possible explanations leap to mind (with a caveat that the real deal is, no doubt, a beyond-beyond complex of social, historical, and psychological factors).

One: Education. It isn’t that Americans are not being educated, but “education” has, over the years, been reduced to the equivalent of a Trade School. You go to almost any level of learning these days and not far behind lumbers the central question, “How is this going to help Johnny or Janie get a job?”

It’s been at least over thirty years now since it’s been a cliché that where J & J go to daycare might impact their chances of, at first, the Ivy League and then landing that comfy sinecure on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley. The Humanities, the Arts, along with the more esoteric reaches of math and science, have gone into eclipse; they’re impractical, i.e., won’t get you anywhere near the top 10% of wage earners.

But with their disappearance, for the most part, has also come the eclipse of critical thought; the ability to digest information, sift out the meaningful, and make decisions based on facts and considered, rational analysis. And, yes, the ability to critically and independently think is a learned skill. Few are to the manor born.

Two: Celebrity and by “celebrity” I mean the person who’s known for being known; famous for being famous. All brand and no substance. Trump is an apotheosis of this, writ large, and proving, on an hourly basis, its dangers.

America has always had a weak spot for the shallow grifter, the hollow and false, the man behind the curtain gulling us into thinking he’s a fearful Wizard surrounded by belching fire and smoke. Normally, it wouldn’t fool a dog.

Dorothy thought there was no place like home – even if home was a grim, impoverished, black and white dust bowl. Toto knew better. He nailed “witch” and “wizard” when he saw one.

 

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One Comment;

  1. derek martin said:

    This is by far to bias to be reliably i am a full on biden supporter and this is dumb. . .

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