I first noticed that it was okay to be stupid at the local level, in my city council during the 90’s. There was a local housewife that had won a seat on the council on the “anti-incumbent” platform and she proceeded to dumb down our local politics for generations to come. What do I mean? I mean the kind of stupid that is stupid for stupid’s sake. Confused? Me too.
This woman would attack the incumbents positions with absolutely no facts, relying solely on fear-mongering and pandering to the lowest common denominator…the base fears of her constituency. The exasperation shown by her fellow council members was “proof” that they were conspiring to bring the apocalypse to our fair city. Every word out of her mouth was incendiary and provocative…utterly devoid of fact. And yet she won another term…and another…and was hailed as the “peoples” candidate.
Enter Sarah Palin and her down-home brand of stupid…her “I can see Russia from my porch” brand of stupid. And it landed in the wheelhouse of that segment of our population that thinks stupid is something to aspire to. They label our medial “elite” because it dares to look beyond the rhetoric and they disenfranchise any opposing voices who strive for truth as “liberals with no family values”.
How did we become okay with this kind of stupid. One word: lazy. That’s right, we looked the other way as these neocons bull-rushed their way into national prominence and gained actual political traction. We have only ourselves to blame for our inaction. That “Honey Boo Boo” is a popular television program in my country is an indictment of not only our culture, but a reflection of our collective political intelligence. It’s okay to be stupid…we’ve allowed it to fester, and now that it’s metastasizing, we shake our heads in disbelief.
The Vice Presidential debate was a great example of the new and improved stupid. Biden was attacked for displaying incredulity at the bald-faced lies spewed by Ryan and moderator Martha Raddatz was eviscerated for daring to be a “journalist” and asking probing questions. And we were okay with these criticisms.
I say enough is enough. It’s time to call stupid what it is…stupid. It’s time to stop being lazy and call out those pols and commentators who continue to spread the politics of stupid. Really, let’s enhance our national debate, let’s bring some intelligence, thoughtfulness and critical thinking back to the table. Let’s just say no when the easy way, the stupid way, is to blindly accept the sound bites from all parties. Let’s end the politics of stupid before it ends us…