From Jane Smiley, in a Slate piece that ran today, about why the heartland hates us. Read the whole piece and tell anyone who insists that as a Democrat you must find a way to “reach out” to “traditional family values” that you are going to punch them in the face*. Since when is it OK to accept bigotry and ignrorance as the status quo? Did the civil rights movement curl up in the corner with a roll of Smarties and a blankie because Eisenhower (and Nixon, and Reagan and Bush I) was a racist? Codified bigotry against gays is bullshit and do not, for a second, pretend you’re hip to it just because barely half of this retarded country said so. But enough of me. Jane Smiley, a fellow and distinguished alum of my alma mater, said it much better today when she wrote:
Here is how ignorance works: First, they put the fear of God into you—if you don’t believe in the literal word of the Bible, you will burn in hell. Of course, the literal word of the Bible is tremendously contradictory, and so you must abdicate all critical thinking, and accept a simple but logical system of belief that is dangerous to question. A corollary to this point is that they make sure you understand that Satan resides in the toils and snares of complex thought and so it is best not try it.
Next, they tell you that you are the best of a bad lot (humans, that is) and that as bad as you are, if you stick with them, you are among the chosen. This is flattering and reassuring, and also encourages you to imagine the terrible fates of those you envy and resent. American politicians ALWAYS operate by a similar sort of flattery, and so Americans are never induced to question themselves. That’s what happened to Jimmy Carter—he asked Americans to take responsibility for their profligate ways, and promptly lost to Ronald Reagan, who told them once again that they could do anything they wanted. The history of the last four years shows that red state types, above all, do not what to be told what to do—they prefer to be ignorant. As a result, they are virtually unteachable.
Third, and most important, when life grows difficult or fearsome, they (politicians, preachers, pundits) encourage you to cling to your ignorance with even more fervor. But by this time you don’t need much encouragement—you’ve put all your eggs into the ignorance basket, and really, some kind of miraculous fruition (preferably accompanied by the torment of your enemies, and the ignorant always have plenty of enemies) is your only hope. If you are sufficiently ignorant, you won’t even know how dangerous your policies are until they have destroyed you, and then you can always blame others.
*In case you haven’t noticed, it’s National Say You’d Like To Punchicize A Bushie’s Face For Free week~mention it at least once a blog post and start an imaginary face-punching revolution!!!