Ready, Aim, Fire by Getty Images
"How can so many voters not see what's happening," a frustrated friend asked this week. "So much for naive thinking new, smart technology makes people better informed." "To the contrary," he sighed, ticking off online conspiracy theories (Obama now an outerspace alien?) plus idiocy that regulation COSTS jobs (no, it's a job stimulant) or that Palin's Tea Party has "truth and logic on its side" (her words) -- blasting big government while glorifying endless (government) wars.
The "medium" is coarsening the message, and greater visibility hasn't stopped "jokes" from Bachmannia that hurricanes pack God's messages, as if punchy emails to the wicked. Laugh it up, flood victims, for later she called it "metaphor." So is the fringe's slippery slope.
We appear under assault by those misfit high school wrecks -- remember those numbed, glazed eyes, barely present in class, napping in the back row? Thus, Tea Party underachievers love the latest Texas entry, sloughing off (or cheering) his solid C- status? "Hey, I graduated high school, Rick Perry might twitter, and that ag college, too, wit'out workin' eni harder." Do bad grades now burnish GOP resumes, making 'em no smarter than common folks? Like W.'s fake ranch accent. Look, ma, no Bs or As -- and from no fancypants, elitist college.
Okay, here's my good news: Perry has re-set the bottom bar -- you can't just quit office, you have to command syntax, and you can't brag about what you don't know or never read -- thus Sarah Palin is out, unelectable except as moose catcher. With 70% of Rethugs telling Palin not to run, the bottom of the bottom is re-set, a threshold below even know-nothings squirm.
Free to be Ignorant
Excuse my partiality, but those who don't finish books, classes, essays or sentences aren't just running the asylum: they're in the streets, pushing equally dim operatives into Congress. Take Illinois' refined Joe Walsh, who scoffed at attending the Joint Session because that only encourages the "idiotic" president. Irony implodes. The grade-challenged Perry dictates educational policy and values across our most populously backward state. Punishing minorities, this slick pied piper springboards to stardom by demolishing the American dream.
To my friend, I responded that fixated, fringe mindsets of an authoritarian bent aren't stupid per se but dead against whatever appears to threaten closed belief systems. For underachievers, believing is seeing, first filtering out disruptive evidence, then disruptive outside reality. Tea Partiers may well have learning disabilities, but the worst ignorance partners with toxic, ideological manias, a compound mashed from Biblical scraps, deluded divine messengers, and FOX-shock jock frauds.
Can America prosper when the largest voting block anoints itself masters of everything worth knowing, never in doubt, even about subjects never mastered, beyond C-? Why, they'd shudder, isn't doubt cousin to confusion, then disbelief, then heresy? Haven't Rapture-types pared down who's worth listening to, let alone caring about? Preying on prayer warriors are operatives driven not by belief but winning -- the spin-doctors, propagandists, liars (who know they're lying) and today increasingly bullshitters (who don't care what the truth is).