October 16, 2010

Conspiracy of Dunces

So, a few things about this year's crop of candidates.

The other night, Rachel Maddow mentioned a GOP Senate candidate who makes a point of telling his supporters that he can't pronounce names like "Sotamayor". Or "Ahmadinejad".  Or "Chu".  It's always a big laugh line for him.  To this day, Sarah Palin is OFFENDED that Kathy Couric had the nerve to ask her what newspapers she reads.

Now, there are other conservatives who at least recognize that creating the appearance of education is a good thing.  Christine O'Donnell tried to pretend she went to Princeton and Oxford. But, I can tell you for a fact that there are no mice with human brains running around the Evolutionary Biology department at Princeton.  Now, Glenn Beck is trying to create his own university, with classes on Faith, Hope, and Charity.

I think about the creationists, who've now retreated into the realm of "intelligent design", which basically breaks down like this: a lot of really complicated things happened to create the universe, and I don't understand it, but since it all works, there MUST be some intelligence behind it.

I know studying and reading and learning aren't exactly easy.  But, since when did willful ignorance become a virtue?

Why are people now PROUD to proclaim that they don't know things?  Why are people ANGRY when you suggest that they should read more?

I know I'm weird, right?  Because I'm an obsessive researcher.  I love to know, well, everything.  So I study like crazy.  But I'm not asking people to be like me.  I'm just asking people to, I don't know, learn something.

I mean, if you got on a plane, you wouldn't want the guy who is proud that he doesn't know anything about aerodynamics or flight controls or, well, flying, to actually pilot the plane, right?   I mean, no, I don't know how to fly, but I'm not insisting that the pilot be as ignorant as I am about flying just so I don't feel, what, inadaquate as we're soaring at 30,000 feet.

So why are we so ready to vote for "the guy I could have a beer with".  Christine O'Donnell says "vote for me because I'd do what you'd do".

No!  I want someone who'd do what someone who knows more about these kind of things than me.  At least it gets done right.  My pride is not so fragile that I need to see the country go down the tubes just so I can say to my congressman "I could do your job".

I remember reading Bill Bradley's book, "Times Present, Times Past", where he talked about his involvement in the US Senate with water management legislation in California, which is a stupidly complex thing involving land rights, aquaduct construction & management, and a ton of other things I know nothing about.  The end result is that clean water comes out of my tap.  I WANT someone smart about these issues in there making the decisions.

Representative government means representing my interests, not replicating my own stupidity.

Wake up, people!

But the reality is that all of these GOP/Tea Party loons are just a big distraction.  There are people who fundamentally don't believe in government who support these clowns, because the government is all that stands between them and a state of nature, which is what they really want.  There are some economically powerful people who want all of the laws to go away so that we're returned to a world where only the strong survive, because they figure they're strong and they'll win.  They want you to think that government doesn't serve a purpose, or is only worthy of clowns, charlatans, and con men.  And, frankly, I think those people are just fundamentally unAmerican, because the end result of such a world is feudalism.

A conservative I greatly respect is David Frum.  I don't agree with his philosophies or political agendas, but I admire his firm faith that government is a place where the country can be made better.  And he's commented on his blog several times that many of these so-called candidates from the GOP lately actually have no interest in running the country.  Mike Huckabee and Palin and O'Donnell are only in the race so they can get their own TV shows later on some network that pays them a lot of money.

Serving in public office is a privilege that carries a heavy responsibility.  If you believe in your principles, you should want to be the sharpest, smartest, most logically & legislatively sound public official you can be.  Frankly, I wish there were more David Frums.
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