The Stupid And The Scared

At the present time the two biggest threats to America and democracy are Russia and the Republican Party. Both are currently controlled by people who are stupid and scared. Therefore, like cornered rabid animals they are dangerous!

I know “stupid” is a word I’m not supposed to use but it seems perfectly fitting. In sports as in politics one of the worst things you can do is underestimate your opponent. I am certainly not doing that as my conclusion will prove.

Despite Putin’s rhetoric to the contrary, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is not going as planned. Running out of petroleum – especially for a country whose economy is almost exclusively based on the petroleum industry – is hardly an example of military genius and superiority.

The current Russian answer is to suppress the truth. Last week a law was passed making publishing fake news a crime punishable by 15 years imprisonment. Let’s examine two parts of that sentence. Fake news as defined by authoritarians (in this case Putin but there is a long history) is the truth. American prison sentences are long by world standards so for Americans to truly comprehend a 15 year Russian sentence multiplication is needed. (The average Russian murder sentence is between 12 and 20 years.)

In reaction to that law several western news outlets pulled out of the country including the BBC, Bloomberg News and CNN. That was music to Putin’s ears. Censorship is a key domestic weapon of a dictator. The bottom line is that Putin is terrified of the truth.

I just reread John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley. This line stuck me as descriptive of what is going on in Russia today. “When people are engaged in something they are not proud of, they do not welcome witnesses.”

I am far from a Facebook fan but I found it telling that Putin barred it in Russia last week. The threat of the truth breaking through appears to be kryptonite to Vlad.

I was born in the 50s and grew up during the Cold War. I remember the duck and cover drills under our desks in school. Last week for the first time in decades I heard the term “Iron Curtain” used repeatedly. This is where Russia is heading. I have to wonder whether young Russians will tolerate it after being exposed to the rest of the world.

Among Putin’s most stupid proposals (I’m not certain if it passed yet) was to sentence protesters to conscription in the Russian Army. Wow, that’s the move of a genius (and Putin, while evil, is usually very smart). Take a bunch of anti-war people, arm them and send them off to a war they detest. That should work out well. Not!

The extreme right wing that has taken over the Republican Party with Donald “Putin is a Genius” Trump as their leader has given new meaning to the term GOP. Does it now stand for the Gigantic Ostrich Party? They seem to have their collective heads buried in the sand when it comes to reality and truth. Again, I use the word stupid because it is so applicable. The initial reaction of Fox News was to cheer for Russia in the conflict.

During the State of the Union Address, with the twin crises of the pandemic and Ukraine at hand Republican Representative Lauren Boebert of Colorado – armed with the GED she acquired just prior to taking office – was one of the two principal hecklers calling for building the wall. Fact check Lauren: between 2019 and 2021 smugglers sawed through the portion of the wall that exists over 3,000 times necessitating repairs at a cost of over $2.6 million. Feeling Stupid yet Lauren?

Republican stupidity is not limited to the House. Republican Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Steve Daines of Montana tweeted out photos of a video call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky while the call was in progress after specifically being told not to. While I’ve never have and never will accuse either of being a genius, did they even have to be told and was the instruction too complex for them to comprehend?

I’ll conclude with another Steinbeck quote from the same book and follow it up with my thought. “… a species clever enough to split the atom but not clever enough to live together in peace.” When a person is simultaneously stupid and scared, they are at their most dangerous.

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One thought on “The Stupid And The Scared”

  1. I have defined a distinction between “ignorant” and “stupid”. “Ignorant” means has not learned. “Stupid” means can not learn.

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