Campaign 2012 is like most campaign years. It’s mean, it’s nasty, it’s vituperous. There is plenty of truth stretching and truth breaking and as many opinions as people who have them. Dump trucks of dollars blow in an ill wind and the intransigent become the immovable. This is politics American style and for better or worse many people have come to see it as a big game in which everything is fair in love and…well, you know the rest.
To intelligent and sane observers this travesty sucks the nation deeper into the muck at the bottom of a very deep well. It is depressing really. Many people who used to faithfully follow the issues and reliably vote their conscience – right or left – based on the best possible information are opting out of America’s foremost democratic privilege.
It appears sanity left the barn long ago – perhaps too long ago to coral it now. Intelligence is already edging to the door, so let’s discuss it before it too slips irretrievably away.
Although gross partisanship, shameful tactics, and misrepresentations are reprehensible, there is a growing element of willful ignorance carrying the day.
The Fable of the ‘Legitimate Rape’
Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) is the latest example. On Sunday, he spouted his now infamous lines about women’s bodies being able to correct the effects of “legitimate rape”.
First, what is a legitimate vs. an illegitimate rape? Second, Akin is repeating a “medical” position from the 13th century. Its non-validity should be beyond question for anyone with even a marginal acquaintance with human reproduction, women, rape victims, or news about rape. Still, he’s not alone. Just ask state Rep. Stephen Freind (R-PA) who estimated the chance a rape victim would become pregnant as “one in millions and millions and millions.”
Both Freind and Akin ‘apologized‘ with the usual ‘I misspoke’ homilies. Akin still says he’ll not drop out of his senate race, but the man has become such an albatross around Mitt the Ancient Mariner’s neck the GOP will soon pitch him overboard – with an anvil tied around his neck. Politically, he is not long for this world.
But the amazing thing is not that he said something so stupid. The amazing thing is he apparently believes this stuff. He didn’t ‘misspeak’. He believes every word and he joins a growing and ignominious list of people who seem to believe similar stupid things without hesitation.
The Unauthorized Colonoscopies Are on Mordak
Birthers ‘know’ Obama is a Kenyan communist, despite every kind of proof that anyone can give. They aren’t just politicking, they believe it – fervently - in the same way some people believe UFOs swept down in the night and treated them to unauthorized colonoscopies. It doesn’t matter what proof they get, as if there was something that hadn’t already been handed over, it will not convince them otherwise.
Michele Bachmann believed the U.S. Census was an Obama plot to collect everyone and put them in FEMA interment camps. There is no reason to distrust what she says. I saw her say it and she seemed pretty genuine to me. Besides, she has a whole string of these fantasies including curing teh gay and communists behind every pillar in Washington – among others.
Pat Robertson believes hurricanes strike because people support gays. He also believes he can pray them away from his hometown. Just last week he said international adoptions are a bad idea because the kids, “grow up weird“. There is no shortage of the things the man doesn’t hallucinate and believe with all his heart.
Long is the list of loons who believe being gay is not only a guarantee they are pedophiles, but that they’re also trying to recruit other pedophiles like some To Catch a Predator army recruiter. DADT is in place, but for years many people believed you were somehow less gay if you weren’t asked if you were gay.
Just ordinary – and sometimes some decidedly not-so-ordinary – folks cite their constitutional rights by claiming the Declaration of Independence grants them. This might not be so bad if you pointed out they were looking at the wrong parchment and they corrected themselves. Instead, try it and you’ll get an earful of how your socialist ways mean nothing and the Declaration does so grant rights.
Spelling-Challenged Sign Makers
From severely spelling-challenged sign makers to those who believe the Constitution guarantees the right to deprive non-Christians of their citizenship, we’ve become a nation of supreme nincompoops.
This many stupid people, this many unable to verify the easily verifiable people, led by those who are equally ignorant cannot be simple happenstance. It is willful ignorance. It is the kind of ignorance you couldn’t break with a 12-megaton bomb. It is the ignorance of the tree stump or can of peas. If you looked up the word “imbecile” in the dictionary, you would see a picture of someone like Akin, Robertson, or Bachmann.
These people, some with college degrees, believe a degree makes you an dangerous elitist unqualified to speak about education. Yet, they are quite loud in their own educational theories.
They hold forth about how education is impossible without pitching biology or anthropology in favor of a theory that men and dinosaurs once roamed the Earth side-by-side. They see nothing wrong with removing verifiable historical facts from history curricula and replacing them with half-truths better suited to their ignorance of history. They see nothing wrong, because they believe what they spout.
Clearly Akin has to go, and he will just as soon as the RNC can slip some free weights around his neck. But let’s not forget why he has to go. It isn’t because he’s an ideologue. It isn’t because his apologies are about as sincere as Hitler’s promise not to invade the Poland. It isn’t because he is anti-abortion or had a slip of the tongue.
It is because he is truly, unexaggeratedly stupid…stupid in the largest, most perfect sense of the word in which he believes every ignorant syllable he uttered.
Forgive them Lord for they know exactly what they do…they are stupid.
Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor