A Democracy of Dunces

DunceWithin the span of five minutes, I saw an article about how Huckleberry Finn was taken off an 11th grade reading list because exposing students to the N-word would somehow be bad for the community, and one about a bill in Idaho that would allow teachers to use the Bible as a text book for pretty much anything they think it would be appropriate for.  And I couldn’t help but feel that maybe we deserve Donald Trump.

We’ve always been a weird, eccentric, irrational country.  We’re loud and crude and relatively young for a nation.  And yet it took us less than ten years to go from deciding to land on the moon to actually doing it.  Yeah, we may have been a little off sometimes, but dammit, when we put our minds to it, we absolutely had it going on upstairs.

Now?  We’re still weird and eccentric and irrational and loud and crude.  We’ve just thrown stupid into the mix.

We believe anything we read.  We write like we’re in kindergarten.  We elevate vacuous nobodies to reverential status because they made a funny video.  We try to take a two-thousand-year old book stuffed with symbolism and use it as a guidebook for modern life.  And we’re on the cusp of making an obnoxious blowhard with more failed business deals than a bunch of first-graders playing Monopoly a major party’s candidate for president.

And it’s maddening because at the same time, we can handle a smart phone while we juggle our HDTV remote and our computer keyboard.  We’re more in tune with gadgets than our fellow human beings.  We’re smart enough to touch the future, and dumb enough to throw it away.

I just want us to not mistrust intelligence.  I want us to celebrate ingenuity rather than infamy.  I want someone being smart to be something to recommend them, not a source of derision.  I want us to use that three pounds of grey matter in our skulls for something more than being afraid of whoever FOX News tells us to be afraid of.

Or maybe I’m the dummy for even thinking that.


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