Opinion

A small sign tells big truth

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

By MIKE JENSEN

Publisher

Sikeston

Standard Democrat

On the way to the office this morning, I saw a sign on a local business that said: "We live in an era of smart phones and stupid people."

In addition to the obvious humor, there's more than a grain of truth in that small sign.

When the Obamacare architect John Gruber said the national health care reform act would only work because of the stupidity of the American public, he knew that despite the awkward wording of his statement, his premise was true.

Yet, there are abundant signs that a disengaged American public may not be stupid but may lack the skills to process information accurately.

How can a national movement built around a false narrative of "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" become a rallying cry? Stupidity or intentional?

Or yet another example.

A wide range of national civil rights organization are urging the White House to remove standardized testing for minority students and to provide billions of dollars of new funding to problem school districts despite the trillions spent thus far with zero results.

Is that stupidity or an agenda-driven movement?

Retiring Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma issued his final report this week indicating that 700 miles of our southern border - and more on our northern border - are without monitoring to prevent the migration of illegal immigrants.

So as we continue to debate the growing crisis on our southern border, are we simply stupid at this point to allow 700 miles of open range to go without border security?

And speaking of stupidity, I have to throw this one in.

A new taxpayer-funded study from Oregon Health and Science University reports that when birds are given alcohol-spiked drinks, their songs are slurred. Yep, we are paying our hard-earned money to determine if drunken birds slur their songs.

Now that's stupid!

Actually, though a large segment of the American public could well be defined as stupid, the real culprit is the complexity of processing an avalanche of information in today's information-rich society.

That's not stupidity, it's simply the limitations under which we all operate.

Granted, there are indeed examples in our society that can only be classified as stupid.

For example, when the Rev. Al Sharpton - with a past checkered with massive fraud and abuse - is held in high esteem even in the White House, well that's stupid.

Stupidity, though nothing new, is not a real problem unless over time a majority of the electorate falls into that sad classification.

Don't look now but we may be close.

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