I have been among people who laugh at those interviews where they are asking questions about history or today’s politics and no one can get the answer right. Some vaguely have a clue, others not a single one. I don’t laugh.
Maybe at first I chuckled, but the more I thought about it, the sadder the situation became. I have heard the phrase, “the dumbing down of America” and these interviews with people make me wonder just how far we have sunk into dumbness. (“Dumbing” is not really an accepted word.)
The world seems to have gone crazy and you can’t even have your own opinion anymore if it is not in agreement with the general populace of the day.
It is not funny that when shown a picture 0f Abraham Lincoln, some people don’t know who he is. It’s not funny when asked who the current vice president of the United States is and the wrong answer is given.
Social media and the news media of the day have helped in the dumbness sequence. I try not to share things where there are words misspelled without noting that it is wrong. Other people don’t even notice the misspelled words and eventually you take the wrong spelling as right. Your grammar skills take a nosedive if you don’t practice them correctly.
In texting many people use letters and abbreviations. I try not to do that either although it is very tempting but I do not want to fall in that rut. Yes, it is a rut because it keeps your brain from thinking about spelling.
If you check, you will find that the United States consistently spends far more money per school age student than any other country. In 2011 it was around $11,800 per child compared with $4-5,000 in comparable countries.
But in 2012, the United States was 27th on the list of world rankings for educational achievement. Strangely, at the other end of the spectrum, in U.S. universities often rank in the top 10. What a contradiction! Because of these rankings they attract the brightest students from other countries who pay the cost to attend. They get educated here then go back to their country to high paying jobs.
Our American students, sometimes end up with an education loan to pay back and not a whole lot of job prospects on the horizon. If you decide to become a doctor, you could end up with a quarter of a million in loans or more if you have to go that route. Student debt in America is now up to over $1 trillion dollars, most essentially unsecured loans. Starting off with that kind of debt is in my opinion, a burden. But Americans have accepted the fact that they can borrow and borrow some more without really being financially responsible.
Ten years ago, there was a movie “Idiocracy” where an average man, played by Luke Wilson, wakes up after being accidentally frozen for 500 years. He finds upon waking that he is now the smartest man in the country because America has been filtered down in the smartness category to dumb. . Ludicrous yes, but most of us laughed at the movie. It doesn’t seem so funny these days.
In fact, at the rate America is going, we could resemble what was portrayed in the movie.
Don’t even get me started on reality TV, which only adds to the problem of altering our own reality.
We take what we read on social media as reality without checking. There are bloggers being paid to write who have no real background in the subject they are writing about and people take it as the truth. Yes, I know you can research subjects but there is nothing that can replace good, old fashioned experience and first-hand knowledge.
Nowadays we want to cry about students who feel left out because they did not receive a school award for excelling in an area. Instead of bellyaching about it, why not put that energy into working harder to see more students actually do excel.
We are living in an anti-intellectual time where science, arts and humanities are being replaced by entertainment, ignorance, gullibility and self-righteousness.
People will respond to the death of a celebrity for weeks on end, but fail to even acknowledge the death of a soldier or a statesman. We cry out when a cop kills someone who is committing a crime, yet hardly ever see anything mentioned about cops being killed.
Back to the interview responses. If you think they are edited down to just the dumb ones, don’t be so naive. One Gallup poll shows that 18 percent of Americans believe the sun revolves around the earth. A study by the University of Texas found that one fourth of biology teachers in public schools believe humans and dinosaurs inhabited the earth together.
In Oklahoma public school students were given a civics test, based on the citizenship exams given to immigrants and 77 percent of students didn’t know that George Washington was the first president and Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence.
We are the enemy and are doing this to ourselves. As Walt Kelly said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” An enemy within is much harder to fight than one on the outside because of being convinced we are right.
Our culture is in need of change from birth on up. We should make knowledge important and encourage book reading again and instead of insisting that money is the cure for education, work on finding real solutions. It is an embarrassment for our young people to be historically illiterate. We have allowed our textbooks to be polluted with political correctness.
We are in a downward spiral which needs more time spent on our knees in fervent prayer and more speaking out from those who still possess common sense.©2016
VICTORIA SIMMONS is an author, columnist, motivational speaker, minister and publisher of The Georgia Post/Byron Buzz. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org