A newspaper story Miss Fidditch happens across:
Miss Fidditch checks her dictionary to make sure she isn’t mistaken:
She wonders whether there’s a more positive explanation than that these people should return to high school and take her course in English grammar and usage:
Teaser for curious trivia fans:
The Eagle and the Pussy-Cat
What follows is a letter published Monday in our local newspaper. Because the editor wants letters to be relatively short, I couldn’t develop my argument. To make up for that, I’ll be returning to the topic in the days ahead.
We have numerous excellent elected officials in this nation. Unfortunately we also have a growing number of truly ignorant men and women joining and in some cases supplanting them. That’s not a petty swipe at those who happen to disagree with me politically. No, I’m serious. I’m referring to those who are totally clueless about the most basic elements of science, history, geography, civics, etc.
Examples? Sen. James Inhofe, who on Feb. 26 held up a snowball on the Senate floor and claimed it disproved the global warming “hoax.” (Look up the difference between weather and climate, sir.) Rep. Jim Bridenstein, who said, “Just because the Supreme Court rules on something doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s constitutional.” (That’s exactly what it means, sir.)
Remember, no tests of mental soundness, intelligence, knowledge, or competence are required of those aspiring to public office. Before counseling clients on a law, an attorney must pass a rigorous bar exam. To pass that law requires no exam or training whatsoever. Ever think about that?
In last year’s election only a third of eligible voters cast a ballot. Theater critic George Jean Nathan once said that “Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote.” Those good citizens of Nathan’s have been “electing” a worrisome number of truly dubious candidates lately!
Voter apathy combined with voter suppression have indeed taken their toll. But while that has reduced the turnout, the fact remains that those who do vote have been casting their ballots for a growing number of truly ignorant and unqualified candidates. That’s worse than embarrassing. It’s truly dangerous.
One can chuckle at the ignorance of the law shown above by Rep. Bridenstein. But one must shiver in terror at the ignorance of Iranian history, U.S. government, international protocol, and nuclear issues shown by freshman Senator Tom Cotton in that letter he wrote to Iran’s leaders. Fortunately the Iranians were sophisticated enough to respond only by correcting the senator’s misunderstanding of the way his own country’s government works.
So what can we do about it? Famously, President Truman had a sign on his desk saying, “The Buck Stops Here.” We voters should wear that slogan on a headband, printed in reverse, so that every time we look in a mirror, we’re reminded of our responsibility. That responsibility is to learn what’s required for effective citizenship (which won’t happen if we rely only on myths and partisan sources), and then to insist that our political candidates know as much and more.
“I kowtow. I grovel. Undeserving though I am, I humbly beg for your pardon.”