Isaac Asimov must’ve been speaking prophetically when he uttered the following:
“Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’”
Just to note: I did not watch the GOP debates last night. Three reasons: 1. Dining with my friend Linda, 2. I don’t watch television and 3. absolutely no desire to see people twice my age with a fraction of my IQ try to make a case for why they’re the best leaders for this country. Such a sight and sound would spike my blood pressure to more than what I can handle.
Good grief, only fifteen years ago, if they spouted half of what they got away with spouting now, they would’ve been ordered to remedial social studies with a condescending smile, or sent for evaluation by a psychiatrist. The sadder part is that these people keep getting voted into their posts, and then the same people who keep voting them in wonder why their state has gone to hell in a handbasket.
This absolute disconnect of logic never fails to make me cringe. Seriously? You elect an unqualified blowhard with a short-term agenda that doesn’t add up to either logic or common sense for the long-term, and then you’re amazed that the inevitable happens? I guess the concepts of consequences, irony, and common sense logic are lost on the voters of today.
Just look at the red states: Mississippi, Arkansas, Arizona, even Louisiana. Each and every one of their governors decided to implement the typical Republican agenda: cut funding to social services because they consider them to be “handouts”, cut funding to healthcare and refuse to expand medicaid because sticking it to Obama was more important to them than their constituents, and inflamed every racist in their districts with the rhetoric of “take America back”. The results are predictable: Texas just now, recently, arrested a boy who built a clock at home because he’s Muslim and the teachers haven’t the wit to figure out that a clock does not equal a bomb – mind you, when a white boy built a nuclear reactor, Homeland Security stepped in to help – and Louisiana’s syphilis rate is skyrocketing after Planned Parenthood funding has been cut, with thanks (sarcastically) to Bobby Jindal. Those are just some examples. Scott Walker’s Wisconsin has become a nightmare for anyone who is trying to find a job, because he’s doing everything he can to dismantle anything that would give the average working Joe some sort of a leg up. Anti-union legislation? Yep. A proposal to eliminate weekends off? Yeah, that too was floated around. Right-to-work laws, which are a basic thinly undermining of salary standards? Oh, yeah.
I didn’t watch the debates. I never will. Until each party selects their final candidate, I will not even think about watching it. Again, I have to think of my blood pressure.
But I find it extremely alarming that Donald Trump is actually ahead in the polls.
Seriously, let’s just take a look at his history. The man is a very obvious racist, let’s not deny that. His previous outbursts had cost him his NBC show, Macy’s carrying his line of products, and a marked outrage from the Latino community of the country. He then turns around and hires the very Latinos he denigrates to build and maintain his buildings – so he’s a hypocrite on top of that. His inclinations aside, he’s also filed bankruptcy four times to get out of paying bills, and he’s in the most profitable industry that the world had since the dawn of time: real estate. So this tells me his track record for running a business is lousy. This in turn also tells me that there’s no way that he can run a country; if he’s insulting women (half the national voting block) and non-white Americans (because let’s face it, kids: skin color does not determine citizenship), roundly ignores their needs and rights in favor of rhetoric, then he hasn’t the slightest of how to address their needs. To him, it simply doesn’t matter. His track record for foreign policy opinion I can’t even begin on.
And not to forget the very obvious: he has no experience in political office!!!
And yet, to some folks, he’s the man who will “save this country”, according to people.
I fail to see how. He has no concept of diplomacy, no respect whatsoever for anyone other than the old white male, no knowledge of how to run a business – regardless of his bank account, filing for bankruptcy multiple times speaks of seriously shitty managerial skills – and no experience running anything but his own businesses. And I’m not sure if I’ve said this before, but running a country doesn’t need a businessman. It needs an administrator. If you want to make an analogy, look at it like this: if you want the office to run smoothly, it’s definitely not the CEO you should be looking at: it’s the person running the back-end management who’s making sure the bills are paid, the supplies are stocked, and knows who’s where at any given time.
But once again: Donald Trump is leading the polls.
And I’m simply astounded that people are just not looking at his qualifications – or obvious lack thereof.
Though on the other hand, I’m not sure I’m all that surprised. The media in this country is exactly what it is, and it’s become something that I have no way of encompassing in one word. The closest I can come to is cesspool. Really, it’s at the point where what channel you tune into for news no longer matters; it’s all the same regurgitation time and again. There’s no reporting of facts and letting people figure it out for themselves. I can’t even describe the regurgitation factor of today’s news, but suffice it to say I definitely don’t miss my television. Throwing it out was the best possible thing. But I can also easily see when someone listens to that day in and day out and stops thinking. It’s only too easy to tune out and let the talking heads do what they do best.
But it discourages thinking. And it discourages people from appreciating an intelligent, common-sense individual as a consequence.
However, I also need to note that the idea of someone smarter nearly always produces an adverse reaction in a person. You see it a lot in the playground bullying of bookish children. Truth be told, this doesn’t change in adulthood. Whenever someone is more intelligent, in any iteration, than the next person, you can bet that the smart guy will be subject to anything from the subtle slights to outright ostracizing. It’s a lot worse when the more intelligent person is not the one in charge and the person in charge is insecure about someone else having better skills/knowledge/capacity/whatever than themselves. Being smart is an insult, not a compliment.
But that’s also exactly the culture of anti-intellectualism that Asimov mentioned. While we’ve gotten out of the habit of shaming people for their faults, I’m of the opinion that shaming people for being less than smart is something that should not have gone out of style. You shame someone with the Dunce hat a couple of times, and I promise that the thought that their ignorance is as good as someone else’s knowledge will never cross their mind again.
I’m seeing this mentality of Asimov’s quote play out in the current GOP crop and their voters. Even though countless evidence exists to prove them wrong, even though they see that the rhetoric didn’t add up to the results, they continue to vote for the same people, with the same rhetoric, even though it flies against their interests.
Whatever the causes are, whatever their reasoning is, if this is the tone of the other side for this upcoming election season, then I truly shudder to think about the upcoming campaigns once the primary candidates are selected from both sides. I don’t want to think about what will come out of the Republican side after the primaries are narrowed down.
I mean… seriously. This is the highest office in the land. You would think that the people lining up for that job would be held to a certain standard. But honestly, once Sarah Palin stepped up as possible VP in 2008, I think it’s safe to say the standards went out the window.