Attack of the Killer Tomatoes: The Dumbing Down of America
I was reading an account of one of the Trump Chump’s advisors who was trying to help a new member of the team communicate effectively with the Orange One. His advice was to keep it short, use lots of pictures and stay away from complicated subjects or compound words – in other words dumb it down.
The fifteen second attention span, the inability of too many people to communicate even the simplest concepts, the fierce defense of nonsensical assertions – these things didn’t spring up overnight and infest the American populace like a plague, it was the culmination of decades of attacks. It was the goal of the onslaught against an educated public.
I’m reminded of an old cheesy sci-fi movie from yesteryear called Attack of the Killer Tomatoes where ginormous ‘maters rolled through neighborhoods wreaking havoc and leaving marinara sauce in their wake.
The killer tomatoes of public education started rolling when court-ordered desegregation became the law of the land. First came white flight that shifted real estate tax revenues from urban to suburban schools leaving second hand books and too often second rate teachers to the darker-hued students.
Then came the onslaught against teachers’ unions that drove many talented educators away from public schools. Next enter the tomato labeled school vouchers that continued to siphon away badly needed funds from public education. This tomato rolled down the streets of public education alongside diminished tax revenues from property tax revolts across the country.
The movement to reform public education has elevated teacher bashing to an Olympic sport; while standardized tests taught students to recite information on cue and in unison.
Private education tuition rose to rival the cost of housing, at the same time that government grants and loans dried up. The predictable outcome being that unless mommy or daddy could write a check or you lived in an affluent neighborhood unaffected by the diminished resources of public education, you didn’t stand a chance of attending a well-staffed, well-run, effective educational institution – and forget about college.
And behind these leviathans crushing the life out of the lone path to education available to the vast majority of Americans is a desire to make the populace more malleable, less demanding of justice and less knowledgeable about the machinations of the moneyed overlords.
An uninformed electorate is a danger to democracy. And democracy is a danger to those with feudalism as their aim.
So, fast forward after forty years of this multifaceted attack and what do we find? An American public that has been systematically deprived of the critical thinking tools with which to unmask the villain. In other words, we have been dumbed down to the point of complacency, confusion and gullibility.
How else do you explain the fact that whole swaths of the public believe that a guy who is a “self-made billionaire” (I guess if you forget the fact that his daddy was a millionaire before him and loaned him the paltry sum of $12M to get him started) really understands the economic malaise and hopelessness of the common person? Or that the corporations that have been gorging themselves on cash without increasing wages for decades would suddenly make their employees’ interest paramount?
We are more concerned as a nation with the latest reality show du jour than with our current reality. We are so busy bashing each other over the heads with our ideological differences that we fail to see our common enemy. We are so consumed with the business of trying to scratch out a living that we cannot engage in the critical thinking that would reveal what should be obvious to us all.
We have been played. We have been commoditized. We have been prepackaged, labeled, dumbed down and marginalized.
And our lack of critical thinking has made our captors safe from our wrath.