It's Sunday morning. In a few more minutes I'll be turning on the tv and treating myself to three hours of tinfoil hat telephone calls in to C-SPAN. And I've been thinking about Bill Maher and his comments on how unbelievably willfully ignorant Americans can be. I think Maher understates the case.
Americans as a society aren't just stupid. We're proud of it. We brag about it. The latest wave of ignorance, the mobs screaming about the supposed Obama health care plan, provides more proof. These people are so unbelievably ignorant that they're busy freaking out over something that doesn't yet exist. There is no One Giant Plan. There are Multiple Proposals. Open the dictionary, people. There is a difference.
I'm not even going to get into the bizarre spectacle of people ranting about socialism when they don't have a clue what the word actually means, or screaming that they don't want government-run health insurance when most of the ones doing the yelling in the news clips look more than old enough to be on Medicare now.
I am, after all, not particularly surprised that the senior citizens of this fine country are dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. I have spent time in a classroom. I have suffered in the trenches trying to persuade ignorant 18-year-olds, kids who were theoretically among the brighter specimens this nation has to offer (Michigan Tech is relatively selective as to who gets to wander its snow-covered campus) to stop being sheeple, to stop parroting garbage and cliches, and to actually think for themselves.
It was an uphill battle. How do you teach people who are dead set on remaining ignorant? And if you can't get 18-year-olds to stop and think before leaping to conclusions about anything, what possible hope is there of getting some geezer who thinks Ronald Reagan walked on water to admit that just maybe things aren't quite as cut-and-dried as he thinks they are? And then when you add in that other piece of classic American thinking, the completely irrational belief that it really is possible to get something for nothing, . . .
Maher was too kind.