The Art of Ignorance

Once upon a time, we — the United States of America — were a nation of science and logic. We dreamed big dreams and did incredible things.

Margaret Hamilton standing next to her code

We created computers and programming languages. We sent men to the moon using code written by women.

We split the atom for war, then used it for energy. We lit the fires of industry and burned it until we realized that we were rapidly poisoning ourselves.

Then we took a break for a bit, straightened that out, and came back at it better, faster and stronger.

We spun up the computing revolution. We built the backbone of the 21st century in silicon, Mountain Dew, and coffee. We made reality virtual and are nearing the ability to harness nuclear fusion.

Or wait. The UK is.

We’re not doing that.

We’re planning on “bring[ing] back coal” despite the fact that it’s not coming back.

We’re planning to “remove every job-killing regulation we can find”, including those that keep mentally ill people from carrying firearms, preventing companies from dumping waste into rivers and streams, and forcing energy companies to disclose payments from foreign governments.

We’re trying to #MAGA by bringing back the splendid vistas that gave us the wonders of smog and lakes poisoned beyond the point of sustainability.

This is what NYC looked like in 1973.

Once upon a time, we were world leaders.

Now, as a nation, we rely on individual cities or state governors to rise and fill the lack of leadership from our federal government.

Now, we watch as the uneducated flaunt their stupidity like it’s something they should showcase.

Now, we hear as those ignorant minds that can’t understand that science isn’t faith and can change, espouse barely connected data points to proclaim, loud and proud, that the world is flat, vaccines cause autism, and climate change is a hoax.

We live in a nation of fools and self-congratulatory orators.

We live in a nation that believes it when the president typos the word “coverage” and then, instead of admitting it or moving on, creates an entire story around how the word has some deeper meaning to a small, treasured group of friends because he can’t possibly make a mistake.

No, that would be embarrassing.

I didn’t think I’d live to see the fall of America, but, hey, here it is. We’re experiencing the last gasps of our once great nation.

While many of us are hoping to retake the mantle of “world leader” following our next election, the truth is that the damage is done. Our democracy has failed us in the most integral way. We have this weird, archaic voting mechanism called the Electoral College and it had one job: stop a demagogue from gaining the presidency. As Alexander Hamilton said in the Federalist Papers:

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption.

Well, it happened. Whether the Russian “issue” results in an impeachment or two or disappears on the wind, we, as a nation, have lost our place at the head of the world table. We may make our way back to the table, certainly — maybe even get up near the front — but we won’t be taken seriously.

Our democracy is too fragile to rely on.

It’s sad when the last vestige of balance and order we have is the legislative filibuster and an independent court system… and they’ve both been attacked by our president.

No, we aren’t the leaders of the free world anymore. We will spend the next decade trying to get back to a semblance of the influence and positive impact we used to have.

The American Dream — the one that inspired Manifest destiny and the cultural melting pot — is dead.

Welcome to Idiocracy. I’m waiting for the announcement from Sam Clovis that corn is failing in the midwest due to a lack of electrolytes.

(I can’t tell you how conflicted I am about wanting that to happen…)

Personal Note

Before I sign off, I have to say something:

I love this country.

I love my home.

If I didn’t, there wouldn’t be a weekly rant or a constant need to engage with people who deny facts. I would just ignore you all and let this place die.

But I do care. I think there is a lot more to America than a vocal minority that believes “unless it affects me directly, I don’t care”.

So buckle up.

Shit’s about to get real.