By Manifesto Joe
I think a lot of people were inclined to underestimate Al Franken when he at long last took his seat as Minnesota's junior U.S. senator. Although he demonstrated quite a bit of gravitas in his wonderful 2003 book Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, some can't get past the fact that Al came to national prominence as a comedian on Saturday Night Live.
I'd say the people of Minnesota can be proud in that the new senator has already distinguished himself far more than his predecessor, the former mayor of St. Paul. Here's Al in action, figuratively slapping around a stooge from the Hudson Institute.
On the Same Issue, a Question From Michael Moore
The self-styled progressive documentary filmmaker and author is nonplussed about something that, on the surface, seems like a no-brainer. Why aren't Americans pissed off enough about obstructionism to health care reform to be out in the streets protesting, raising 10 kinds of hell?
An Answer From Gore Vidal
In a recent TV appearance, 84-year-old Gore Vidal had what could have been an answer to Moore's question. Asked for his opinion of President Barack Obama, Vidal replied that he likes him, but the problem is that he tries to address the American people as educated, thinking people, like himself.
That's a mistake, Vidal suggested. The U.S. has a very poor educational system, actually a joke in many other developed countries. People laugh at us. And for this reason, Americans are very easily misled and duped. The lack of critical thinking, even among those with formal education, shows up in an array of issues, not just health care reform.
I Have Yet Another Answer
I know a man from India, now a longtime U.S. resident and naturalized citizen, who once discussed cultural differences between Americans and Asian Indians. When one ventures to the countryside in India, one finds many illiterate people, many more than in America.
But these people argue and discuss politics all the time, and they're often far more savvy on the subject than most Americans are, even when they can't read or write.
I know plenty of Americans who say, when engaged in the subject past a certain point, that they just don't care about politics. It's times like these when that attitude becomes disastrous, because so many of the people who DO care, care for just one reason -- greed.
The less Americans care about politics, the more to the delight of the aforementioned powers that be. Millions who should be fighting for reform right now are instead being led around like cattle and sheep. As nasty as politics is, politicians are making decisions that profoundly affect our lives every day. The subject is ignored at one's own peril.
It's often not so much a matter of education as it is the quality of one's thought that makes the difference. There are plenty of insular specialists out there with BBA and B.S. degrees who are wretchedly ignorant when it comes to political issues.
They could use lessons in critical thinking -- from a former funnyman, Senator Franken.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.