Listening to America

US Congressmen are fanning out across the USA to listen to their constituents. Bill Maher has a column about this at the Huffington Post. What Bill Maher does in this column is tell us what a harrowing process talking to Americans can be. The title of the column, New Rule: Smart President != Smart Country only intimates at what Bill has to say.  Bill accuses Americans of aspiring to be dumb,  Dumber, DUMBEST.  Think of Bill Maher in this piece as the Reverse Will Rogers [who famously never met a man he couldn’t like, but could make a few wisecracks about]. Bill Maher distrusts the basic sagacity of Americans – this essay is Jay Leno’s Jay Walking on steroids. Maher sees Americans as not smart about the World or even their own politics. Those topic and issues have been delegated to “others”. Americans are smart about the NFL, movie stars, fashonistas, NASCAR, and maybe neighbors. But history, science, geography etc  only matter so far as they shine a light on fashion, the pop scene, sports. It is almost as if Americans are ….
Proud to be dumb. Or must be dumb, blond, and popular. Whatever, the prognosis there may be  some statistical support for the notion of GettingDUMBER=USA. But there is room for the contrary position – the illusion of the past, “we are the greatest country in the World”. Certainly the number of USA  Nobel Prizes and Ranking of USA Universities may be providing a false sense of security. Whatever the case – Maher may be prophetically right, Congress men and women listening to Americans about Healthcare and the Economy may prove to be an exercise in diversion at best, futility at worst.

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