Bill Maher has taken heat from some people by calling the United States a stupid nation. On Friday Bill took it one step further, likening Americans to dogs, with short attention spans and only wanting immediate rewards from their masters.
I think that's kind of extreme. Americans are basically good people, and most aren't idiots.....but being a nation of 300 million plus it's clear that we do have a large segment of the nation who will never be confused with MENSA members. I do think there is more ignorance in America than we'd like to admit. Ignorance is not stupidity; the word implies "a state of being uninformed (lack of knowledge)". Stupidity means a person is "lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; (they are) dull".
Many pundits, social critics, and bloggers have pointed to the results of the 2012 midterm elections and asked "Is America that stupid?". They voted into office more of the same people who who advocate the same polices that drove the economy off a cliff in 2008, either believing in the song they are singing, or blissfully unaware of who and what they are voting for.
Yesterday Sue posted a entry called Europeans Are Flabbergasted, a look at what our friends across the pond are saying about the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives, and the "quality" of some of those swept into office. I'm sure every person looking at the results has a different take on why the Republicans made such great gains.....of course there are true GOP believers and those who have lost faith in Democrats to get the economy turned around (after less than two years of control of the Legislative and Executive branches of government).
But I think the underlying truth behind much of the GOP resurgence is that many Americans are gullible, and sadly ignorant about their country, their government, and their world. The Republican message machine exploited that fact.....and they seized a big chunk of power back from the Democrats last week.
And the youth shall come forth to lead us.....a Roper Poll conducted by National Geographic among young people (ages 18-24) and released in 2006 told us the following..... six in ten could not locate Iraq on a map. Other findings- following Hurricane Katrina almost one-third couldn't locate Louisiana, and half couldn't find Mississippi. About half couldn't find New York State on a map, and almost 75% couldn't locate Israel. The same poll showed that 90% young people couldn't couldn't find Afghanistan on a map that was of Asia only.
I guess you can bottomline these poll results by saying too many people know too little about things they should know, and know too much about marginal stuff. And these people are among the electorate of the United States.
When new arrivals become naturalized citizens they first have to take a citizenship test. When they pass they take an oath of allegiance, and are they receive the same rights as native born citizens....and that's great.
But our native born citizens' education about their world, their nation, and their government seems to have fallen through the cracks. I'm not proposing a test for voting- that's what we had in the Jim Crow South to prevent African Americans from voting by making the test impossible to pass. We do need to start educating our citizens in the things we need to know before we give them a high school diploma and send them out into the world. We should make courses in civics, US History, and World History mandatory in every state, and in every school system.
But that won't happen, because if such a requirement were implemented the Right would call it just more of the boogieman called Big Government stepping on the rights of school systems, and private and charter schools, to educate children as they see fit. And so we'll probably have an alternate history where cavemen rode dinosaurs 5,000 years ago and of a universe created in seven days competing with science and natural history.
The Americans who can't find Louisiana or Israel on a map or name one Supreme Court Justice didn't get dumb by watching Fox News, however Murdoch's gang is a primary source of the "disinforming of America"- but they're not alone.
One of the most telling (and sad) things I have ever witnessed on a news channel was an episode of The Situation Room on CNN a few years ago. Wolf Blitzer had Bill Cosby on as a guest, and the topic was educating America's youth, and quelling the rising rate of high school dropouts in America's inner cities. Halfway through the discussion Blitzer cut Cosby off to go to breaking news from Los Angeles.....
Paris Hilton was surrendering to authorities in LA to begin serving her jail sentence.
The late Walter Cronkite said the purpose of news was to tell people what they need to know. What we see all to often are news organizations telling people what they want to know, even if it is not really news at all, only more heaping helpings of pop culture morsels.
More than twenty years ago in Joseph Campbell; The Power of Myth, Campbell, the great mythologist and teacher, lamented to host Bill Moyers that education of our young people had become more utilitarian and concerned with only making a living in the future. He looked at the classical eduction of the past- what was once called Liberal Arts- as being of intrinsic value because of the broadness and range it covered. Maybe we just educated our young more completely in those days, making them better, informed citizens.
Real journalists continue to lose their jobs as newspapers cut staff in record numbers. And while this is happening hucksters like Glenn Bec...
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Eric LeGrand BELIEVE Fund
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Ten From Nick Drake
Welcome To My Neighborhood!
Its called "Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants". That's because I adhere to the principle that you can't please everyone, nor should you try to please everyone....so before anyone else rips this blog for being a waste of time or having faulty logic, I thought I'd beat them to the punch, and zing just a bit of self deprecating humor into the title....hey, some people think that's an endearing quality.
Seriously....I hope to entertain and maybe inform, and even teach the reader about a few subjects. And don't be alarmed by the political trappings you may see here. I'm upfront about my political beliefs and affiliations, but I don't wear my politics on my sleeve, and have and always will refuse to be locked into a rigid dogma. This is not really a political blog; its just disguised as one.
My model is probably CBS SUNDAY MORNING, a magazine format. I'll talk about news, sports, TV and films, about music, literature and pop culture, and about the famous and the infamous....and about some people who are out there trying to make a difference in a world that seems to get just a little tougher everyday.
Oh yes...there will be some politics as well.
So pour a cup of coffee, cut a piece of cheesecake.....and stick around for a few minutes.
Occupation- If you believe my conservative friends, I'm a pinko commie socialist out to destroy the very fabric of America's core beliefs.
Liberals think I'm an old school moderate Democrat, and that a guy my age needs to get his hair cut more often.
Just put away that broad brush....
I'm just a "Blue Jersey Guy" who happens to "Bleed Scarlet".