The 2006 movie “Idiocracy” contains the following narrative:
“As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species.”
Never have I found this quote to be more true than over the last few days leading up to the government shutting down for the first time since the mid 1990’s. It is as if we, as a nation, have undergone a political devolutionary transformation over the last couple of decades to the point where the average citizen’s grasp of how the government operates is nearly as distant from their understanding as theoretical physics.
The fact that the study of civics is no longer a priority in our schools is most certainly at least one contributing factor, but let’s also take into consideration that we have an incredible amount of willful ignorance and apathy as well.
There are far too many people who know every contestant on a reality show but cannot name their elected officials, let alone find the country they want to bomb into oblivion on the map. These are people who cannot tell the difference between a Sikh and a Muslim, let alone between a Sunni and a Shiite. These people are a couple of generations almost completely removed from the reality of the world the rest of us live in. The History Channel has gone from programs based on actual history to staged reality shows and Ancient Aliens. The Learning Channel has rotted away from being a channel based on actual learning to Honey Boo Boo.
Yet, many of them still vote. Driven by fear, ignorance and even racism - they show up at polling places. I remember last year in the weeks leading up to the election, I overheard people comment about how they didn’t know who was on the ballot but they were going to vote for “anyone but that (n-word).” Somehow we’ve gone from America the Beautiful to America the WTF. We’ve gone from the land of the free and home of the brave to the land of Honey Boo Boo, monster trucks, jingoistic patriotism, and supersized servings of stupid with the politicians to prove it.
Go to the comments section on almost any local news station’s website or Facebook page and you’ll see the devolution is nearly complete. Long gone is any semblance of sanity. Instead, it looks like a zoo full of illiterate, rabid, feces-hurling primates screaming about fictional death panels and Communism.