Somewhat tongue-in-cheek and always as sarcastic as I could manage, I've opined that if Americans are not the most ignorant of all peoples on earth, I truly tremble for those who are.
If 20-mule-team trains of surveys through the Death Valley of ignorance couldn't quite get their grotesque cargo to the depot of public outcry, certainly the one that AOL published Sunday, the 22d, must. Hopefully. It was a mid-January Harris poll, from a cross-section of Americans in every demographic, and asked who Americans felt were the Top-10 most admired people, living or dead. As I post it for your amusement, or horror, which would be the only suitable reaction, the only thing missing is a crash of cymbals from Paul Shaffer's Late Night with David Letterman band.
Number 10. Mother Teresa.Okay so far. It might seem we're off to an acceptable start. But, to borrow from Betty Davis, from hear on out, "Fasten your seatbelts, it looks like it's going to be a bumpy ride."-
Number 9. Sully Sullenberger, the Hudson River landing airplane pilot. I've nothing but admiration for the fellow, and if I had to be a passenger aboard any company's craft, I'd want Captain Sullenberger in the pilot's seat. But, c'mon . . . of "all time"-?
Number 8. President John Kennedy. Haven't always been, but for the past 17 years I've been an ardent Democrat and loather of Republicans. Yeah, Kennedy had some pretty good moments, especially during the Cuban missile crisis, the one that ex-White House Press Secretary Dana Perino could only guess "had to do with Cuba and missiles."- It's possible that everyone who's alive today on earth owes the fact of their active vital signs to JFK. And there was his earlier heroics as commander of PT-109. But still . . . and again, of "all time"-?
This is where it just gets downright, ridiculously embarrassing.
Number 7. John McCain. As an Infantry vet, I respect anyone who survived the greater-hell-than-I-will-ever-know (or be able to imagine) that being a POW in North Vietnam must have been. That said, there's such a long line of oil tankers full of disreputable conduct and serious lapses in both competence and temperament that attach to the Arizona senator, that to include him in any such list literally defames both the list and the intellect and morals of those who put him on it.
Number 6. Abraham Lincoln. The sixteenth president is personally responsible for the fact we have now reached 44. Virtually every scholar of history asserts he was our greatest president, but only slightly ahead, if at all, of our first. But what truly adds insult to the injury of this list and Lincoln's standing on it is what follows.
Number 5. President George W. Bush. Yeah, that one: more admired by a majority of Americans than Lincoln!!! We have to stop here for a moment, and borrow from an old Coke commercial, "If I could teach the world to sing . . ."- (http://thefogofwork.blogspot.com/2009/01/if-i-could-teach-world-to-sing.html) revised to honor the 43d occupant of the White House.
"If you could hear the world collapse . . . in total agony, it'd be the sound of Georgie Bush and Double-U MD. Twas the biggest lie . . . By the lying-est ass . . . that there ever was, and thank God he's past."-
And talk, sing, scream about insanely dumb,
Number 4. Ronald Reagan. But I suppose that should surprise no one. I mean, if you can make a billion dollars, putting a rock in a box, and calling it a "Pet Rock"- . . . Americans, obviously, will quite literally buy anything. And quite literally they have bought all the distortions and rewriting of history according to pure fairy book standards of accuracy that the GOP has managed. There cannot exist a single individual with an IQ that is higher than the aforesaid rock who would place Ronald "Wilson"- (The inspiration for Cast Away's volleyball foil to Tom Hanks?) Reagan on a list that is not of the most overrated and deserving only of utter condemnation and derision.
Number 3. Martin Luther King, Jr. I'm going to leave this one alone. The appellation "greatest of all time"- sets a pretty high bar, but then, it's essential to remember we're dealing with Americans here.
Number 2. Jesus. Per the last census, approximately 80% of Americans call themselves Christians. And sitting on his throne next to God, Jesus must be scratching his head, "Like, I ask you God, just what do I have to do to make Number 1, return to earth and become a contestant on American Idol, or on America's Biggest Loser? Or, maybe I'd get better recognition if I went on Dancing with the Stars?"-
And the NUMBER ONE, MOST ADMIRED OF ALL TIME: President Barack Obama. I truly do admire the fellow. Make no mistake. And I hope, as in REALLY HOPE, he succeeds. But Number 1, ahead of who's claimed by 80% of Americans to be the son of God?
Here's what I want you to do: Print this op-ed, then fold it and stick it in your purse or wallet, so that the next time you hear any politician expounding on the intelligence of the American voter . . .