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Land of the dense

Published Friday, July 15, 2011 @ 9:30 AM EDT
Jul 15 2011

(YouTube video of "Real Time with Bill Maher", 8/7/2009)

Just because a country elects a smart president doesn't make it a smart country. Now, a couple of weeks ago, I was asked on CNN if I thought Sarah Palin could get elected President, and I said, "I hope not, but I wouldn't put anything past this stupid country." Well, the station was flooded with emails and the Twits hit the fan. And you could tell these people were really mad because they wrote ENTIRELY IN CAPITAL LETTERS!

Worst of all, Bill O'Reilly refuted my contention that this is a stupid country by calling me a "pinhead." Which, a) proves my point and b) is really funny coming from a "doody-face" like him!

Now, before I go about demonstrating how sadly easy it is to prove the dumbness that is dragging us down, let me just say that ignorance has life and death consequences. On the eve of the Iraq war, 70% of Americans thought Saddam Hussein was personally involved in 9/11. Six years later, 34% still do.

Or, look at the healthcare debate going on now. At a recent town hall meeting in South Carolina, a man stood up and told his congressman to "keep your government hands off my Medicare." Which is kind of like driving cross-country to protest highways.

This country is like a college chick after two Long Island ice teas. We can be talked into anything. Like wars. And we can be talked out of anything. Like healthcare.

We should forget the town halls and replace them with study halls.

Listen to some of these statistics. A majority of Americans cannot name a single branch of government, or explain what the Bill of Rights is. Twenty-four percent could not name the country America fought in the Revolutionary War. More than two-thirds of Americans don't know what's in Roe v. Wade; two-thirds don't know what the Food and Drug Administration does.

Some of this stuff you should be able to pick up simply by being alive. You know, the way the "Slumdog" kid knew about cricket?

But, not here. Nearly half of Americans don't know that states have two senators. And more than half can't name their congressman. And, among Republican governors, only three got their wife's name right on the first try.

People bitch and moan about taxes and spending. They have no idea what their government spends money on. The average voter thinks foreign aid consumes 24% of our federal budget. It's actually less than one percent. A third of Republicans believe Obama is not a citizen. And a third of Democrats believe that George Bush had prior knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. Which is an absurd sentence, because it contains the words "Bush" and "knowledge."

Sleep tight, batshit.

Sarah Palin says she would never apologize for America, even though a Gallup Poll says 18% of us think the sun revolves around the earth. No, they're not stupid; they're "interplanetary mavericks."

And I haven't even brought up religion. But, here's one fun fact I'll leave you with: Did you know only about half of Americans are aware that Judaism is an older religion than Christianity? That's right. Half of America looks at books called the Old Testament and the New Testament, and cannot figure out which one came first.

I rest my case.


When "debating" someone whose source of history and current events is Fox News, I recall Maher's editorial and derive what little solace I can from it. Very little, in fact. As one of the X-Men observed in a comic I read a while ago, "Stinks to be sentient, sometimes, don't it?"

It's like the Coyote getting a few additional seconds of warning that the boulder's going to hit.

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