Saturday, July 28, 2007

Think, Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet!

We used to chant this line during Parliament-Funkadelic concerts back in the day. I use it as my signature line on e-mails that I send.

Little did I suspect that the intellectual laziness of some Americans would become so pronounced over the years that there would be a need to actually remind people to do just that.

As the eldest child of a retired educator and a media personality I abhor ignorance. I also abhor disinformation in all forms whether it's inadvertent or deliberate. I have watched in horror over the last 20 years as reason and logic seems to have vacated national policy making, general discourse and politics. In its place we now have a dysfunctional Alice in Wonderland culture.

Or should Orwellian culture be more like it?

How do you explain a man who erased a trillion dollar deficit, helped create a booming economy during the 90's, was respected and admired all over the world and presided over a decade at peace being impeached for lying about oral sex, but a guy who has us bogged down in a Vietnam-style war in Iraq, lied to get us there, outed a CIA operative to get back at her husband and thumbs his nose at the Constitution with aggravatingly annoying regularity isn't?

I don't get it.

Something else that defies logic is how in Hades demonizing gay people came to be called 'Christian' and why African-American ministers who once spoke truth to power now sit in the amen corner with the same white fundamentalist ministers who opposed our civil rights just 40 years ago.

I'm also distressed about some people celebrating ignorance in our culture. Let me 'keep it real' for you peeps. One of the defining values of African-American culture is our pursuit of excellence and education. We were so laser-beam focused on it after emancipation from slavery in 1865 that African-Americans went from a 10% literacy rate mainly concentrated among free Northern Blacks in 1850 to almost 80% by 1880.

But you have some people in our culture who ignorantly equate education and intelligence with 'acting white'. I remember one encounter with a girl in my old neighborhood. She remarked that in her opinion my Queen's English speech pattern was 'speaking white.' I replied to her that 'yo baby' and speaking ebonically, while that's fine when I'm talking trash with my friends in the 'hood wouldn't get me a job in white-dominated corporate America.

It's not just a Black thang either. I've noted the Culture of Ignorance is taking hold with our white brothers and sisters as well, especially those who profess to be fundamentalist Christians. Fundies are using the 'God said it, I believe it, that settles it' bumper sticker line to rationalize their Luddite-like rejection of science. They're homeschooling their kids because the public schools aren't teaching their younglings their 'christian values' of hate and intolerance.

I'm a Christian, but I refuse to turn off my brain when I enter the church sanctuary.

A $27 million dollar monument to ignorance just opened in Petersburg, KY called the Creation Museum. For $19.95 you can watch a high tech show explaining their 'intelligent design' concoction (a renaming of creation science) that the Earth is 6000 years old and that dinosaurs and man lived and worked side by side.

Hey, sounds like the Flintstones minus Fred, Wilma, Betty, Barney, Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles. Yabba dabba don't waste your time and money. I can get more laughs out of watching the Flintstones while saving some gas. If you really want to see a good museum in that area drive a few more miles up I-75 to Cincinnati and check out the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

Okay, let me go back to talking about politics. It's time for our country to be run by the 'A' students again instead of the 'C' one who looks and acts like a 'D' one. I don't know about you, but one of the first things I look for in a president is not whether I can have a beer with them, but if they are smart enough and have enough broad based knowledge to handle the job. If they aren't I want them to be honest enough to recognize that they don't and get peeps who are to help him (or her) make those tough decisions in the areas where their knowledge is lacking.

But there I go again thinking logically.

Hurry up and get here November 4, 2008. There's a National Merit Scholar in the race and a Harvard Law grad who'd make an excellent president that I can't wait to vote for.

Intellectual laziness is dangerous in a democracy. It's the grease that provides the slippery descent to a dictatorship. So think people. Challenge the statements and ludicrous assertions that people make. Trust your intuition. Don't accept everything as the gospel truth that the media tells you. Filter it with logic and reason.

That also goes for what Reverend So-and-So tells you as well and be prepared to call out the TransGriot if I slip up. My voracious reading habits are a source of pride for me. I'm blessed with an intellectual curiosity that constantly thirsts to be satisfied with knowledge. It has me asking the who, what, when, where and why questions on a regular basis. My most admired people include intellectuals like Dr. Cornel West, Dr. Michael Eric Dyson and Dr. Julianne Malveaux. I try to back up my posts with links for you to check out my comments but even I miss from time to time.

We all benefit from the free exchange of information and knowledge. It helps our country and democracy grow stronger. Reason and logic helps you do your patriotic duty as an American citizen and cast an informed vote.

So just do it. Think! Do it before it becomes illegal to do so.

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