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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/11/09

Our Own Harvest of Ignorance

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While much of the Middle East struggles with its harvest of ignoramuses, America is just beginning to notice we have our own crop of under-educated morons. They are weeds and they are spreading at an alarming rate. Should we leave them untended much longer, they will strangle all that is good, useful and progressive.

Like the weeds currently invading my vegetable garden, they are the product of laziness. When the first sprouts appeared at places like our local school board hearings, demanding that science books include religious mumbo-jumbo, we shrugged them off and, little by little let them blur the bright line that once separated superstitious mumble jumbo and hard science.

When family planning drugs and procedures they opposed (purely on mumble jumble terms) became increasingly hard for find, we shrugged. Then last week one of them gunned down a doctor who provided those services and his clinic, one of the few left, was closed for good.

When racist-neo-fascists dragged their knuckles across CNN and MSNBC and FOX news desks, claiming our first non-white president wasn't a natural-born American, we shrugged. We shrugged again when Obama nominated the first Hispanic woman to the US Supreme Court and the same racist-neo-fascists took chutzpah to a new level, accusing HER of racism.

Then, this week, another "shruggable moment" -- one of those racist-neo-fascist ignoramuses walked into the Holocaust Museum in Washington and opened fire killing a black security officer --  a "two-fer" as far as he was concerned, you can be sure.

When are we going to stop shrugging and start doing something about these cancers on our body politic? We've gotta stop just shrugging these people and their poison off or, in a decade America will begin looking a lot less like a America and lot more like Pakistan. When it comes to democracy, ignorance is a cancer. The tumors that exist already are probably not be curable, but we can at least try to keep them from spreading, to contain them until they die off.

But prevention must be the long term goal, and we can only prevent ignorance one way -- with education and respect for knowledge. The first rule in respecting knowledge is to build insurmountable walls between hard science, knowledge driven by time-tested principles and the rigors of the "scientific method," and the mumbo jumbo folks. At the core of respecting knowledge is teaching students how to separate sh*t from the shinola.

Only an ignoramus believes the earth is only 6000 years old, but they have every right to believe it. What they don't have is the right to spread that nonsense under the guise of "fair and balanced," curriculum in our schools.

Only an ignoramus believes Jews are the offspring of Satan and at the bottom of everything that goes wrong in the world, though they have every right to believe it. What they don't have a right to do though is to spread hate, that kind of hate or any other kind because, as we've seen just in the last two weeks, it incites fellow ignoramuses to become domestic terrorists.

And that's the real threat to America. Not al-Qaida. Domestic terrorists. Angry white men and angry white women, acting out their hate and anger on those they hate who, once under attack, decide the only way to defend themselves is to strike back.

And there you have it; the simple, deadly and entirely predictable ingredients for turning America into Pakistan.

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Stephen Pizzo has been published everywhere from The New York Times to Mother Jones magazine. His book, Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans, was nominated for a Pulitzer.

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