Writing in Thursday’s edition of The Washington Post, veteran Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent Eugene Robinson pointed out a simple yet compelling truth about American politics – that our elected leaders have led us onto a frenzied continuum of self-inflicted crises and ever-increasingly “droolingly-stupid” decision-making.
From the cyclical debacle over raising the debt ceiling to the refusals of millions of Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Robinson argued that the United States is experiencing a vertiginous intellectual collapse.
“How did we become, in such alarming measure, so dumb? Why is the news dominated by ridiculous controversies that should not be controversial at all? When did so many of our fellow citizens become full-blown nihilists who deny even the concept of objective reality? And how must this look to the rest of the world?” he posited.
“The frequent games of chicken that Congress plays over the debt ceiling are — to use a term of art I recall from Economics 101 — droolingly stupid. In the end, yes, we always agree to pay our obligations. But the credit rating of the planet’s greatest economic superpower has already been lowered because of this every-few-years ritual, and each time we stage the absurd melodrama, we risk a miscalculation that sends us over the fiscal cliff,” wrote Robinson.
As far as why so many people are vehemently opposed to vaccinations, he then asked, “why would people not protect their own health and save their own lives? How is this anything but just plain stupid?”
The blame, Robinson said, lies mostly within the madness that has permeated the modern Republican Party.
“I get it. The GOP has become the party of White racial grievance, and this battle against an imaginary enemy stirs the base. But the whole charade involves Republican officials — many of them educated at the nation’s top schools — betting that their constituents are too dumb to know they’re being lied to. So far, the bet is paying off,” he said.
The same gambit applies to the insane conspiracy theories surrounding the 2020 election.
“And then, of course, there’s the whole ‘stolen election’ farce, which led to the tragedy of Jan. 6. Every recount, every court case, every verifiable fact proves that [President] Joe Biden fairly defeated [former President] Donald Trump. Yet a sizeable portion of the American electorate either can’t do basic arithmetic or doesn’t believe that one plus one always equals two,” Robinson said.
These truths led him to one inescapable and existentially unsettling question: “How dumb can a nation get and still survive? Idiotically, we seem determined to find out.”
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Brandon is a political writer for the Hill Reporter specializing in current events, breaking news, and scientific discovery. Brandon holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Indiana University. He lives in New York City.