An educated, well-informed population, the kind that a functioning democracy requires, would be difficult to lie to, and could not be led by the nose by the various vested interests running amok in this country. Most of our politicians and their political advisers and lobbyists would find themselves unemployed, and so would the gasbags who pass themselves off as our opinion makers. Luckily for them, nothing so catastrophic, even though perfectly well-deserved and widely-welcome, has a remote chance of occurring any time soon. For starters, there’s more money to be made from the ignorant than the enlightened, and deceiving Americans is one of the few growing home industries we still have in this country. A truly educated populace would be bad, both for politicians and for business.
This of course assumes that stupid Americans will believe anything they’re told, which isn’t true. And I don’t even want to call it lying. Is it a lie when one believes what they’re saying? It’s more storytelling than lying. And the better stories will receive the largest audience.
I wouldn’t base future democratic intelligence on the stupidity of the populace, but on who is telling the better stories. I like stories with vision and hope and justice. Those are stories I cherish.
Obama was reported as saying he blamed Fox news for him losing white males. Perhaps Fox tells a better story. A story white males accept and trust and understand. It makes sense to them. (Not to me of course.)
But politics is the least needed place for better stories. We need better stories in our families, our marriages, our communities, our churches, our schools. Not stories of fear, but of courage, of new life, of love.