This past Sunday, C-SPAN aired an AARP-sponsored focus group of undecided Minneapolis voters that was led by Republican pollster, Frank Luntz.
If by some dint you’re not yet persuaded that America, much, much more than the home of the brave, is the home of the really, truly, authentically most incredibly ignorant and utterly stupid, click on the link and spend a few sadistic moments in total awe. If you manage to get near the end of the 2-hour voyage into the bowels of intellectual hell you’ll reach the point where Wendy Brown of Minneapolis, the woman in the front row, after viewing a short clip of Sara Palin, said that she liked the Alaska governor.
“Why?!” demanded Luntz, jabbing his stretched arm and index finger toward the woman.
“Because she’s spunky, full of energy.”
I was already suffering the burn in my throat from repeatedly rising stomach acids. At that, I wanted to scour the kitchen for the dullest serrated knife with which I could saw my jugular. “Spunky”??!! “Full of energy”??!!
That’s a description of what you might look for in a new puppy. And I strongly recommend a West Highland white terrier. And like Sara Palin, they’re also cute.
But the real terror — or what ought to be a terror in a democratic republic where the population elects its government — is that her response was not atypical of the demonstrated dearth of intelligence in the group and its profound bankrupt level of informed opinions. These are the same folks you see at family reunions, in the mall, down the block. These utter dolts are your relatives, your neighbors, your supervisors at work! But you don’t recoil in horrified consternation, you laugh and go to lunch with them, and all too many of you agree with the froth that gushes from their lips. As if nothing more important than whether to tune in to 2½ Men or America’s Funniest Home Videos was at stake, and knowing what the hell devil was in the details couldn’t possibly matter!
Look, I’ve railed repeatedly that being informed today — knowing what the US Constitution is and what’s in it, having some elemental knowledge of economics, being fully vetted on the most consequent aspects of American and world history, and so on — is so much easier than at any prior time in all human history that being ignorant, and thereby stupid, is a fully voluntary choice.
Here’s my wager: If I were to ask anyone, “Would you rather be totally stupid, or informed?” everyone would answer on behalf of the latter. So why do so many sit on their overstuffed behinds, on their overstuffed easy chairs, flipping the remote in search of America’s Biggest Loser, instead of in front of their computers looking for information that will make of them a better, more responsible citizen?
A gift from me to you: A 100% free copy of the US Constitution can be had by just clicking http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/help/constRedir.html. As a bonus, you also get FREE OF CHARGE! (I can hear Billy Mays screaming ecstatically about Ka-Boom) The Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights (Constitutional Amendments 1 through 10), The Federalist Papers, and so much more!!! But you’ve got to click on the link! Even more important: You’ve got to decide that you do not want to be like your brother-in-law Ray . . . ignorant as hell, too stupid to even recognize how he’s embarrassing himself and you, and disparaging his birthright.
Finally, never, ever forget this fact: Not all opinions are equal. However, if you’re dumb enough to think they are, the next time you feel a cannon-shot of excruciating pain wrack your chest, do not waste you hard-earned money by taking the matter to your doctor, ask Chad, the bag-boy at your local supermarket what he thinks. Or, ask your brother-in-law Ray.
(For those satisfied with and wed to the maintenance of their intractable ignorance, I offer Hurl [http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6555786.html], the exciting new TV reality program that features five contestants, all of whom attempt to consume the greatest quantity of food in the shortest period before being subjected to all manner of challenges designed to provoke the most kaleidoscopically colorful nausea; the last contestant with his innards intact wins. Ask your B-I-L, Ray; he knows all he needs to know about who he’s going to vote for, and without even asking him, he’ll tell you why, and he absolutely loves the program. What more could you possibly need to know?)
— Ed Tubbs