As I write this, I am reading the news and just hanging my head in shame. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann from Minnesota’s 6th district, has been challenged to a debate on the united states constitution….by a high schooler. And given the breadth of knowledge she has displayed thus far, she’s likely to be annihilated if she accepts the challenge.
What happened to this country? Has the anti-intellectualism that doomed Adlai Stevenson’s presidential campaign to comments of ‘Egghead’ come so far? Since when does ignorance and stupidity make one qualified to govern? Granted, not everyone elected to high office is qualified for it, but even taking some of the worst candidates into consideration, I feel like we are at a new valley in our intellectual discourse and politicians.
A large amount of ‘credit’ can laid at the feet of the recent growth of the Tea Party and affiliated candidates, officials, etc. This is a movement that decries intellectualism and competence as a sin. From those saying climate change is a myth, to senators removing scientific findings from official documents, to the recent calls to halt raising the debt ceiling, this country finds itself facing a tidal wave of superstition, voodoo economics (or perhaps zombie economics given that it’s long past it’s shelf life), and general religious/greed-driven zealotry.
Perhaps some of this can be pointed at people who do not consider anything that happens on earth to be important. IE; people who think this life is worthless compared to a life of eternal paradise in heaven. Coincidently, the date of the rapture is upcoming. 4 days and counting. This blog has no comment on whether anything will happen……this time. This is not the first time a date has been named for the rapture.
Few comments illustrate the lack of understanding our current politicians have about the modern world, better than this excerpt from Ted Stevens on network neutrality:
Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.
[…] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material. *1*
Now, while pipe is a technical term that can indeed refer to internet connections and the fiber-optics housed within, the rest of the comment is marred by the sheer lack of understanding. Network neutrality, is sadly, a topic onto itself, and a later post will be devoted to it. For now, all I will say is that Senator Stevens is wholly ignorant of the very concept of the internet and should never have been placed in a position where he would have discretionary and regulatory power over it.
Much like how Representative Joe Barton, senior republican on the house energy and commerce comittee, is not a climate change denier, but was part of an effort to remove scientific findings that disagreed with his worldview from government documents, as mentioned earlier in this post.
At this point, I’m just glad Mr. Trump decided to stay home. Hopefully Mrs. Palin will join him. Informed debate is becoming something of a rarity. Perhaps President Obama can do more to call out this kind of gross ignorance.
Thank you all for reading. “Good night and Good Luck.”
*1*:Credit to Wikipedia for the quotation.