In my reading recently -- political blogs, newspapers, political magazines -- I've begun to seriously wonder if the United States has become an idiocracy instead of the republic it was intended or the democracy we claim.
Now, the word "idiocracy" doesn't exist. At least it doesn't exist in Merriam-Webster or the Oxford Dictionary. It's simply a made-up word coined by some Hollywood writer and used as the title of a movie. But one can assume by breaking the word up that it's coined from combining "idiot" and "democracy." That brings us to a definition of a democracy run by idiots. Since the people and the US Congress run our form of "democracy," it follows (in my mind, at least) that in an idiocracy, dumb people run a democratic form of government.
And why do I believe we in America have evolved into an "idiocracy?" How about this, for starters:
Where in the world do we get off believing that we, the people, can possibly know enough about a war to decide what to do about it? And why would we believe that Congress would know better than we? Neither we nor members of Congress are privy to the kind of information we need to make decisions like that -- nor should we be.
The reason we aren't -- and should not be -- given full access to all the necessary information regarding the conduct of war is simple: What we know, the enemy knows. During the Second World War, when the nation went all out to win, there were slogans about that sort of thing. "Loose lips sink ships" was one. Letters home from troops were censored, not because the soldiers would intentionally say something to compromise war plans but because they may not KNOW that something they wrote was aiding the enemy.
Current newspapers like the LA Times and the NY Times have recently demonstrated how irresponsible the media can be when it comes to compromising the war. Demonstrators who attend military funerals to protest the war demonstrate their insensitivity not only to grieving families but show that they will go to any extreme (even to sell out their country) to try to stop the war. They certainly shouldn't have the information they need to make responsible decisions because they've demonstrated by their actions that they are not responsible.
It is sheer idiocy to allow polls to guide the war. And it is idiocy to listen to Congress, who have demonstrated again and again that party loyalties are more important to them than loyalty to our country.
The American voter has plenty to learn about in order to vote responsibly: health issues, social security, education, infrastructure (disaster relief, the US highway system), social issues, environmental issues...the list is long. But NOT war.
Another symptom of idiocracy in America is the fact that the average citizen cannot rely on one (or even two) newspaper or magazine to report the truth about any given issue. Where the media should be striving for balance in reporting and should be offering two sides of any particular issue, we find both blatant and subliminal one-sidedness. The American media seem to have taken a page from Goebbels (Hitler's propagandist) who operated on the belief that if you tell a lie often enough, people will come to believe it.
Today anyone who doesn't watch CNN, Fox News, and a network news show along with reading at least one liberal newspaper or magazine, one conservative paper or magazine and a variety of political bloggers, he or she simply cannot get enough information on any one issue to vote responsibly. In addition to all that, the voter must be aware of assumptions made in seemingly nonpolitical publications -- little comments and jabs at the behavior or reputations of politicians and policy makers that the writer assumes the reader will accept as fact but in reality is simply rumor or, worse, a lie.
When it comes to war, only Generals in the field should be consulted. The President should make the necessary decisions by considering their input and theirs only. If Generals who have not served in this particular conflict want to express opinions, they should go to the war zone and serve with the troops before going before microphones. To do anything else is irresponsible.
As for the American people, we should be supporting the war, our troops and our President until we win this conflict. This is not the time for bleeding hearts -- that must come only when we have won and we can reach out to help heal the people who have suffered.
Arguments about why we are there and how we got there are simply not useful or appropriate. It's time to reject idiocracy and reclaim our right to win as citizens of a free and democratic republic.
If we are a free idiocracy now, we must change or we soon will not be free at all.