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Friday, September 24, 2021

Confronting stupidity

When people are confronted with something they disagree with, they customarily dismiss it as "stupid."  The word is so glibly uttered that it has lost its power to name a human condition that should alarm us when we actually encounter it.  Stupidity is dangerous.  It destroys life.

In the name of having free and open discussion, we invite people to speak their minds.  And then get dismayed to find that some people have no minds to speak of, or have minds chock full of misinformation, or have minds that are dysfunctional.  All those cases involve stupidity.  That is not to say that all of us never have lapses into careless moments in which our minds are not functioning at full power.  But stupid is generally not a lifestyle.  For some people stupidity is a way of life,  and we are stupid enough to elect them as leaders of our country.

On the national level, we endured four years of Donald Trump, whose escapades as a business leader earned him a solid reputation for dishonesty, incompetence and stupidity.  He brought those qualities to the office of the presidency.  We can never forget those moments of leadership, such as his response to hurricane Florence, when he said, "One of the wettest we've ever seen, from the standpoint of water."  Or when he said we should rake the forests to prevent fires.  His brilliance stunned the nation.

At the state level, Kristi Noem sparkles with ineptitude, but it is overshadowed by her meanness.  She put it on display for immigrants when she announced:

South Dakota won't be taking any illegal immigrants that the Biden Administration wants to relocate. My message to illegal immigrants... call me when you're an American.

And there was her slogan "Meth.  We're on it."  She claimed it brought attention to the meth problem, but it brought more attention to her intelligence problem.

Her approach to the covid pandemic was unique, as she announced, "South Dakota is the only state in America that never ordered a single business or church to close. South Dakota never instituted shelter in place, never mandated people wear masks."  But South Dakota ranked second in the nation for the most deaths per 100,000 people.

And there is her angry peevishness that the National Park Service won't allow her to shoot off fireworks at Mount Rushmore.  Fireworks are banned there because of wild fire danger, environmental factors, and the fact that the site is sacred to Native Americans and was wrongly swindled from them.  But Noem sees the ban as a personal affront from Joe Biden.  She says,

"Our belief is truly that it was political. I believe that Biden administration pulled the fireworks from us to be punitive. They did not like us hosting it last year in the middle of COVID. They did not like the fact that President Trump was here celebrating with us, and that they had the ability to stop us from doing it this year. And they're doing it for arbitrary reasons,"

Kristi seldom knows what she is talking about.  But that doesn't matter to the majority of South Dakotans because she speaks for them, she gives them a voice.  She is a very stupid woman.

So, what happens when the people leading your country are incorrigibly stupid?  In Trump's case, he was voted out of office, but his followers are still trying to deny the election and are still with us to cast a malevolent attitude and mood on the country. In Noem's case, a strong majority prefers her inanity to anything that resembles intelligent democracy.  The efforts to to destroy the democracy are serious and real, as we learned on January 6.  A strong segment of Trumpists and Noemists are threatening civil war.  

Historian Edmundo O'Gorman said America had to be invented before it was discovered.  Those who believe in democracy can keep on inventing, and maybe someday we can find a time and place where it can actually work.  That will require a confrontation with stupidity.


cibvet said...

Some days I believe she is just ignorant, others days I believe she is stupid.
I know the road is paved with dead squirrels who couldn't decide,but I'm working on it.

CK said...

Sep 21, 2021
It sure does make me question the validity of my SDSU BA....

Jerry K. Sweeney said...

It’s a sad, albeit predictable state of affairs, that a governor needs must consult with the National Review before making a policy decision.

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Aberdeen, South Dakota, United States