I try so hard and they make it so easy.
I really try not to be elitist, but they make it so easy.
Whom are they, you ask? They are everyone who, in the third grade, decided that they had learned everything they needed to know about life, the universe and everything, and having now opted to continue their educations, show the world everything they learned in the third grade and simultaneously demonstrate their ignorance of everything they should have learned in the fourth through twelfth grades.
While you may be thinking that I may be a bit too pissy about things, let’s look at three subjects that, while rather obscure, you cannot discuss without either knowing your stuff or sounding like an idiot to those of us who do: politics, music, and grammar.
There are several myths in Politics, usually perpetrated upon unsuspecting high-schoolers by well-meaning and ill-informed Civics Coaches, that have pervaded the modern political scene to such a degree that they are repeated by roughly half of the United States Congress and more than a handful of Senators. To borrow a phrase from Chaim Potok’s masterpiece “My Name Is Asher Lev,” we need “a session in de-mythology.”
The first myth we will attack goes somewhat as follows and, to those of us who know the truth, sounds ridiculous. “We live in a democracy,” flows freely from the pundit-tap and trips from the tongues of senators, congressmen and women, and even our wonderful President. Newsflash, kids. EAHNGNH….Wrong. No, honey. We don’t live in a democracy. We live in an indirect, Representational Republic. If we abandoned the Republic somewhere recently, then fuck this, I’m moving to Canada. Democracy refers to a very specific form of self-government (as do Republic, Represenational Republic, and Indirect Representational Republic). Just as there are varieties of totalitarian governments, there are varieties of *self-government*. We don’t live in a democracy. Read about the fate of ancient Greece and you’ll understand why.
The second myth we encounter on a daily basis during this election cycle is that of the origins of the Electoral College. This body, shrouded in mystery (who are these Electors anyway??), is the brainchild of the Founding Fathers (but they ‘borrowed’ the idea from the Holy Roman Empire’s selection of a ruler). Again, the Civics Coach and many High School American History teachers, “The Fathers gave us the EC because they wanted to make electing a president easier and communication was a problem so this fixed it.” Wrong again. The Electoral College exists to *limit the power of Populous* states to singularly elect the President while also protecting the larger states from a disproportionately strong advantage of “Senate-held” elections. In other words: the communication and widely dispersed population were irrelevant. The Fathers also talked about shielding the populace from its own poor judgement and popularity contests for a ruler. But we won’t go there.
The final myth of our Political Spectrum we encounter frequently is best signaled by this refrain: We were created as a Christian Nation. Um…that might be news to Thomas Jefferson, the cheif architect of our government and future President who wasn’t a Christian. He was a deist. While he recognized the presence of God, he would probably get into a big argument with most Christians about the nature of that God and whose God was stronger. The Separation of Church and State *is* a constitutional institution, despite what stupid pastors from uneducated pulpits tell you. The Federalist Papers even cite that phrase on several occasions.
So now that we’ve covered the big problems with politics, we’ll talk about Grammar and Music tomorrow. Suffice it to say that I’m disgusted with the whole mess.