Saturday, January 3, 2009
A family conversation over Christmas reinforced one of the most common features of the American political landscape, the denigration of the intelligence of conservatives. Utopians routinely describe individuals with whom they disagree as "stupid". In this particular case, that individual was Sarah Palin. Now, I don't really know Sarah Palin. Never met her, never talked to her, don't have a T.V. so my exposure to her verbal shenanigans is limited. I really don't have a basis on which to evaluate her brain. My relatives apparently do, though. None of them have met her or talked to her, either, but each of them seemed to feel that she was "stupid". This is of a piece with the same things that were broadcast about the "amiable dunce" Reagan, Dan Quayle, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush as well. Evidently, the supposedly rational population of this democracy is able to form an opinion on the intelligence of a candidate on the basis of heavily edited television interviews, scripted speeches and media commentary. Maybe that's how we should determine the I.Q. of everyone. Interviews broadcast on You Tube could be used for job applications or, for that matter, employment evaluations. Do you suppose school teachers would accept a job evaluation based on an edited, televised interview with an adverserial moderator?
Another aspect of the "stupid" claim for Palin is the ranking of educational experience. Obama is part of the supposed "intellectual elite" of the Ivy League and Harvard. Mentally challenged Palin went to school in Idaho so she can't possibly be smart enough to figure in national politics. The idea that a small circle of institutions in the Northeast nurture the most intelligent people in the country is beyond preposterous and an insult to 99% of Americans, whether they realize it or not. In fact, that is one of the most pernicious thoughts in the U.S. today. The graduates of these hallowed halls naturally buy in to the fable, but why should everyone else?