“Could you picture Davy Crockett at the Alamo looking at his BlackBerry getting a message from Congress? Davy Crockett, we support you, the only thing is we’re not going to send any troops.’ I’m sure that would really be impressive to Davy Crockett.” So said Rep. Todd Akin, the Missouri Republican.
There is a sick, twisted logic to Akin’s idiotic analogy. The war with Mexico had a lot in common with the occupation of Iraq. White Americans decided they had a “manifest destiny” to establish a nation from sea to shining sea. Mexico wasn’t accused of having WMDs, but American politicians told enough lies to start a war and steal more than half of Mexico’s territory. It makes sense that an image from that era would be used to justify continued killing in Iraq.
Most Americans were always dumber than people in the rest of the world and their stupidity is getting worse by the day. The worship of white supremacy, religious fundamentalism and capitalism are mostly responsible for the ever lowering collective IQ. Those belief systems are mainstays of American thought and have now come together in a particularly ugly way.
A member of the Texas state legislature, Warren Chisum, recently declared that the earth doesn’t move. According to Chisum, the sun and other planets all revolve around the earth. He isn’t alone either. There is a new and outspoken group of people who are pushing the notion of “geocentrism” and insisting that it be called a science.
Chisum may have flunked science, but he passes the most important test in Texas. He believes in giving more public money to rich people. Chisum, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee of the Texas House of Representatives, has sponsored a bill that would give an enormous property tax cut to rich Texans.
Chisum’s belief in robbing the public treasure for the good of the rich is no less ridiculous than pushing medieval ideas about science. Texas ranks last among the 50 states on what it spends on its citizens. It ranks high in the number of gun shows, air pollution emissions, and number of children without health insurance. Of course Texas has the fewest number of citizens with high school diplomas. Perhaps stupidity is Texascentric.
It is too easy to ridicule fundies who agree with the Inquisition that silenced Galileo in the 1500s. It is much harder to point out that there is an underlying stupidity that is responsible for most of what is wrong with this country.
The United States government is still waging a war of aggression in Iraq because of willful American ignorance. Most Americans need little encouragement to occupy other nations, kill people and steal resources. They knew that Saddam Hussein had no connection to the terror attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. Yet they were quite pleased to be dumb and politicians heaved a collective sigh of relief when they got the go ahead from a happily clueless public.
American stupidity will be front and center on the world stage when the Bush administration attacks Iran. Few Congressional leaders have expressed complete and vocal opposition to these awful plans. They have only said that the president doesn’t have the authority to wage war. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, “The president does not have the authority to launch military action in Iran without first seeking Congressional authorization – the current use of force resolution for Iraq does not give him such authorization.”
Reid and his colleagues haven’t said that they wouldn’t give him authorization, only that he has to ask first. If Bush makes the case to a critical mass of the intellectually challenged public, or just starts bombing and dares Congress to stop him, he will have the war he has long sought.
It isn’t very likely that Americans will get smarter anytime soon. Politicians know that appealing to their worst instincts is usually a winning formula. The corporate run media is not only unhelpful in enlightening the public but is in fact complicit in keeping them in the dark.
The New York Times is once again leading the charge in helping the Bush administration push bogus information. This time around Iran is the bogeyman maligned by unnamed sources. It is déjà vu all over again.
Belief in American superiority and particularly the superiority of white people, will always win the day and will always keep the nation ignorant. It isn’t surprising that politicians evoke the name of Davy Crockett and peddle nonsense about the sun rotating around the earth. After all, leaders can only be a reflection of the people they serve.
Margaret Kimberley is an editor and senior columnist for the Black Agenda Report. Her Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.Com. When sending email, please remember to replace the (at) with @.