We’re fortunate in this country. Anyone can be born in a log cabin, or a condo in Hawaii, and grow up to become an idiot.
Now before I get hot and bothered emails from people saying things like “I take offense to your language. My son’s an idiot. How do you think this makes me feel?” or this one from “MO”: “I married an idiot. And we struggle every day because his disability,” please understand that I don’t discriminate against idiots.
No, not at all; I have voted for plenty of them.
Because we are also a tad unfortunate in this country: A disproportionate number of idiots run for public office, and a great many of them are subsequently elected.
You see here in America there are great opportunities for people, who, by their own merit, rise against the tide of normal, everyday idiocy and become something extraordinary.
Like Steve Jobs.
Jobs was not an idiot. But that’s only because he worked at it. You have to do that in America.
Non-idiots have to work at it.
But blessings abound here because when things are running right, many more of us can live as non-idiots than as the obverse.
That’s my theory of self-government, which I expand below.
There are lot of dense words that make up our country’s cornerstones, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America.
Both documents say lots of things and hold a lot of weight.
But in general what these documents say, if you read between the lines, is that by preserving the right of the idiots to be idiots, we guard the right of non-idiots to work at remaining so.
They don’t guarantee the right to NOT be an idiot, but only just the chance that by hard work, and a firm and humble reliance on the Almighty, that we’re not stuck as idiots our whole life.
The result then in our country is that those who can, they do; those who can’t either write or run for office.
The biggest idiots often do both, because these two professions allow you to be rewarded for being an idiot, as opposed to other, private professions, which generally reward merit.
This brings us to our current presidential, congressional and legislative elections.
“[I] was reporter in a legislature two sessions and the same in Congress one session,” wrote Mark Twain, “and thus learned to know personally three sample bodies of the smallest minds and the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts that God makes.”
He then added: “And I have been an author for 20 years and an ass for 55.”
I’m not going to name names, because I don’t think that my readers are idiots.
But one candidate for public office has run on hope and change and blame and revenge.
He’s told people they should be comfortable with a mediocre life full of reality show idiocy; that they should all take credit for allowing Steve Jobs to become Steve Jobs just because they make up the audience; that Jobs, and people like him, in fact, owe them something, and that he’ll make all the Steve Jobs out there write them a check for what the are owed.
And when that explanation doesn’t work with some, he’s varied the theme to say that not only does Steve Jobs owe them something, he’s directly responsible for the mediocrity in their own lives; that his success adds to their failure.
Don’t worry, he says, vote for him and he’ll extract that pound of flesh from all the rich guys, like Jobs, who make over $249,999 per year.
“Voting is the best revenge,” he says, implying that the check is in the mail.
And like so many moments before in his career, this moment reveals that the selfishest souls and the cowardliest hearts can also be really big idiots too.
Many of them hold some of the highest offices in the land, or even the highest office.
Here’s the genius of our system: We can survive without that idiot. There are, after all, plenty more idiots where he came from.
But every two to four years, they can not survive without us.
And self-government is very good at revealing who the real idiots are in the end.
The end is not just near.
The end is Tuesday.