Monday 05 Dec 2016

Dumber and Dumber
AJ Robinson

Originally, I was going to make this about our two-party political system – hence the name. However, recent events have convinced me to broaden the scope.

Some years ago, back when I was quite young, I remember seeing my dad watch some programs on PBS. Now me, I watched “Nova” and “ZOOM” – they were more my style. No, I didn’t care for “Sesame Street,” of all things; I found it too juvenile, even when I was very, very young.

I'm digressing.

I tended not to watch too much of the shows my dad liked; they were too boring, just men sitting around talking. However, I did figure out a couple things about the shows. First off, the men were very smart (I mean VERY). I knew that because of the big words they used. I checked; some of the words had upwards of six or seven syllables! I may not have been very knowledgeable back then, but I was smart enough to know that anyone who used words THAT big had to be very smart. Second, the men talked about some very serious subjects. Again, I didn’t completely understand the subjects, but I recognized some of the words and phrases:  Viet Nam, School Bussing, Cold War, Integration, Civil Rights and Equal Rights.

As I got older, I finally understood. In some cases, I agreed with their views; in others, I did not. Yet, I respected their intelligence.

Then the assassination attempt on President Reagan. My dad and I watched the reports on TV, and then came the point where Secretary of State Alexander Haig made a statement. Now me, I didn’t overreact to his, “I’m in control, here at the White House.” It was said without vim or vigour; no anger or determination, it was merely a simple statement. I think people made too much of it. There was one thing he said with which I took issue: the Order of Succession, he put himself ahead of the Speaker of the House. My father and I were very pleased to see the media jump all over him for saying that. It showed how the media were not only on top of things, but they weren’t afraid to point out the mistake of a major political figure.

Now, let's consider our current circumstances and, hence, the title of this article. Now we have politicians and pundits who are so dumb they don’t know basic American history and even how our government works. Unfortunately, we also have reporters who are just as dumb. These men and women read a teleprompter and are incapable of real reporting!

Do you think I’m overreacting?

Consider this: a politician recently said that the Senate needed to pass a bill that the House had sent to it. If the senators didn’t, then the House would pass a bill stating that the previous bill was now law.

That statement was completely incorrect. It was in violation of the Constitution; a document that these same politicians claim to hold dear. Here’s the thing, not one reporter called him on it! These days, between twenty-four hour news coverage, YouTube and even cell phones with video cameras: someone tapes almost every word a politician utters. If a politician says something one day and then contradicts it a month, a week or even a day later, we know it. The problem is simple. It seems as if no reporters are willing to “call them on the carpet,” as the old saying goes, about it.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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