Monday, September 1, 2008

Garbage in, Garbage out

Sarah Palin thinks the Pledge of Allegiance dates back to the founding fathers. Why should that be a problem? Her boss has made several references to Czechoslovakia, a country which no longer exists, and he thinks the president takes an oath to 'protect and defend the United States of America from all enemies, foreign and domestic'. Ronald Reagan once shared the surprising discovery with his countrymen that down in Latin America "they're all individual countries." In Brazil, George W. Bush asked President Fernando Cardoso, "Do you have blacks here, too?" Later, the Brazilian leader charitably remarked that Bush was still in his "learning phase" regarding Latin America. William McKinley partly justified the U.S. conquest of the Philippines on the grounds that God told him we needed to Christianize the Filipinos, even though it was a Catholic country. And even Bill Clinton once falsely claimed that both World Wars began in the Balkans (I suspect he knew better but was deliberately lying in order to defend his bombing of Serbia). The fact is, most American presidents have been provincial Babbits with little or no knowledge of history or of the world. They generally have the mentality of a high school football coach and the ethics of a pickpocket. They don't read Plutarch, Gibbon or the Federalist Papers. They golf, watch football, attend fundraisers and give speeches at the Pancake Breakfast sponsored by the local Kiwanis Club.

I once debated the Iraq war with an intelligent, successful middle-age guy in a bar. I opposed the war, he supported it. He told me we had to stop Saddam Hussein just like "we should have stopped Hitler back in the 1920's."

We our an ignorant country and we elect ignorant leaders. It's that simple. To quote George Carlin on the subject, "garbage in, garbage out."

No comments: