What has happened to us in the United States?
When I was a kid I was told the key to success is hard work and a good education.
My mother took me to the library.
She took me on field trips to learn about the Moravians at Old Salem or we went to see the Woolworth store in Greensboro where the four A&T students kicked off the civil Rights Movement in North Carolina with a sit-in.
When I was a child we had commercials that talked about science.
When I was a child and an expert came on television people listened.
Now it’s all about showboating and how you look and the tone that you use.
We have crossed over into some kind of anti-intellectual Twilight Zone where blubbering, bloviating buffoons with bloated egos shuffle around speaking in sentences that are barely above a 4th grade reading level.
We have elevated these people to the status of leaders of our political parties.
We no longer argue and debate on how to fix things like the economy or the climate or racism; we now argue over if they are real or not.
Everyday I see folderol pass for political discourse.
I see spin and hackery supplant data and analysis.
There was a time when we voted for politicians because of their intelligence and Bona Fides.
Because they displayed some acumen or knowledge of the complex interlocking mechanisms of economies and culture.
They knew how to be grand in their oratory and small in their humility.
They wanted to work together for the good of all people and not just be Leninist and destroy the system completely.
Now we vote for the candidate who we’d most like to share a beer with and yap about the winner of Dancing with Stars.
We want to be told pretty lies about how our lives would be better if that other group would not be around to screw things up for us.
We live in a world of Googled facts where anybody can upload a poorly edited website and have it cited alongside our nation’s greatest and most venerated news organizations.
We are not boldly going where no one has gone before.
We are sliding into an inert future with brooding, slobbering hordes screaming over which team will get the dog skull on the pike first.
Our sense of exceptionalism has become inverted.
We now call a man and a woman who came from modest means and worked hard as they were told; went to top schools and prepared for the most important job of their lives -elitist while a brooding, preening, petulant billionaire born into money is seen as a man of the people simply because he is willing to be nastier and more of a blowhard than anybody else.
Idiocracy is not our future.
It is our present.