Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Just the Facts Maam

Mr. Johnson, on the other hand, proudly proclaimed recently that he doesn’t “think this election is about details.” That’s as good an explanation as any of why — in Wisconsin as in so many states — candidates like Mr. Johnson are ahead in the polls. Insurgent Republicans don’t need details when they can play on the furious emotions of voters who have been misled into believing that positive changes like the health care law are catastrophic failures...The misinformation and simplistic solutions propounded by talk radio and the Republican Party are having an effect even in a state that preferred Mr. Obama by 14 points two years ago. - The New York Times

One of the consequences of this election could possibly be the debunking of the long held myth of the inherent intelligence of the American voting public. This myth has been carefully orchestrated and promoted by the media, the wing-nuts, and any other group who has a stake in legitimizing the electoral process. In order for a democracy to be seen as legitimate by our standards it must be based on the premise of an informed electorate making choices in its own interest.

For a while now in America nothing could be further from the truth. The reason they don’t have elections at mental institutions is because the results would be subject to easy manipulation. Because the population would not be seen as having the mental skills to research and understand the breadth of the issues and are subject to varying forms of hallucinations and paranoia which could be manipulated by unscrupulous entities no one in their right mind would certify the results. The founders of this nation made the faulty assumption that the electorate would forever be this group of thoughtful and knowledgeable people who would weigh the issues and make informed choices.

Unfortunately, what we know today is this is often not the case. As we have evolved from a nation which read newspapers, books, and journals to a nation of sound bites, commercials, and bumper stickers we have become less informed concerning the crucial issues facing this nation. Because of this “cerebral laziness” the electorate is prone to accept the misinformation and propaganda of those who seek to promote their agenda over the interests of the country as a whole. The real tragedy is that if the teabaggers were really who they claim to be they would be a legitimate force for good in politics. But their selection of candidates and their adherence to the wing-nut rhetoric proves that they are merely another tool of the wealthy to create a smoke screen to hide behind.

I can understand someone having the misguided belief that giving billions of dollars to the wealthy in tax-cuts is a viable policy to stimulate the economy. What I cannot understand is how those who would directly be harmed by this policy continue to support it. The problem with recycling is that there is a history of what the product was and did before. We have a history of data concerning tax-cuts. It is not like this is some new concept that the wing-nuts just came up with. There is a track record for review. But this would require an electorate that was willing to do simple research instead of accepting on its face the propaganda being served.

The one thing that should be troubling to more and more Americans is that as we continue to progress down this shadowy world of anonymous donors and unlimited political spending we will be more and more at the mercy of those who use fear and tribalism to sway opinion instead of facts and research. You can elect whoever you want, I get that. But you can’t continue to send nut jobs to a place and then get mad when it turns into an asylum. I think what the Congressional dissatisfaction polls tell us about people is that each group is dissatisfied because they want the Congress to be more like them, which is fine if you have a clear majority and a clear direction. The problem now for this country is no such sense of clarity exists. The American people are being tossed in a storm that is being fed by the false meme that ignorance is bliss.

It is important to think about who benefits from a system that devalues education and knowledge and seeks to replace it with folksiness and stupidity. I guarantee you that the wealthy backers of this “know nothing” movement are not taking their kids out of their private schools and colleges and sending them through our public education system. So are we to assume that ignorance is only valuable to ordinary folks? Yes, because if education becomes reserved for only the wealthy, then only the wealthy will be educated and the easiest population to manipulate is an uneducated one.

"A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to Farce or Tragedy or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives." – James Madison

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