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Sat Sep 10, 2016, 01:04 PM

Election Reform and Education Reform

The greatest tragedy of this 2016 election season was that the candidate selection process on the Republican side had a monumental failure or breakdown, and somehow, the candidate who wound up winning in the Republican primaries is someone who is clearly unfit to be president. Where did we as a nation go wrong?

This got me to thinking: We need some kind of a vetting process or institution that somehow prevents those who are grossly incompetent and unqualified for the job from becoming the presidential candidate of a major political party. But what form would such a vetting institution or process take? And how on earth did we ever manage to avoid this kind of fiasco in previous presidential elections? OK, baby Bush was pretty bad, but compared with Trump, he's eminently qualified.

Should all presidential candidates be required to take a crash course, or take an examination to screen them? What kind of vetting institution or process could we install that would not immediately be labeled discriminatory or biased? And what on God's green earth could have prevented a clown like Trump from being only a few votes away from being the leader of the whole free world?

As I reflected, I came to the realization that the vetting institution that prevented totally inept clowns and buffoons from getting elected as candidates of a major political party in the past was our education system. The American voter was educated enough to be able to tell when a politician was being a pathological liar to them and just pulling stuff out of his @$$, like Donald Trump, and when he or she was on the up-and-up, and at least had a plan that would work.

In recent years, we have witnessed such a decline in our public education system that critical thinking, and the ability to think and form opinions for oneself, which is the heart and soul of a democracy, has simply gone down the tubes. I should know, because I spent a lot of time as a substitute teacher - and some of the student essays and papers I collected, just from a brief glance at them, were so scary, in terms of their implications for the future of our country, that they sent chills up and down my spine.

This dumbing down of our educational system has also been paralleled by a similar dumbing down of the media. The TV channels got dumbed down; I'm real nostalgic for the days when the History Channel used to have real history on it, instead of these inane reality shows. And this way have gone many other TV channels, I heard from Thom Hartmann. Even the news media and their coverage of elections got more and more like a reality show - a horse race down an obstacle course, and the terrible gaffes and faux pas's of politicians as they ran into these obstacles, which the media sensationalizes at every chance they get. As Bernie said - hey, where is the coverage of the issues affecting the American people? Has all this dumbing down and reality show-izing of our TV and media simply paved the way for our first reality show president - Donald Trump?

The corporate powers that be may well have been behind this megatrend, that is the dumbing down of our educational system; they probably figured that it would make the public more docile and easily manipulable as consumers, and as voters. But in doing so, they were playing with fire. The sheep-like docility is all fine and dandy when a general mood of ease and pleasure is the order of the day, but what happens when these dumbed down voters get angry, frustrated or p-ed off at something or somebody? Or at our whole political system? Along can come a cunning and sociopathic demagogue to use these frustrations and resentments as he sees fit. And demagoguery is the only talent they need to have - not any ability to run the country. And the dumbed down voters couldn't tell the difference between good sense and competence and the total lack thereof even if it hit them over the head.

The Hillary campaign is running political ads on TV that clearly point out Trump's dangers and shortcomings in no uncertain terms, and you could argue that all this is urgent and necessary, but a fine line has to be walked here. Double down too much on these attack ads, and this just might drive conservative hicks and morons to the polls in record numbers to fight for their man Trump - especially when so many of them view Hillary as a liar, and as untrustworthy. Trump's gross incompetence may be perfectly clear to us at DU, who are probably, by and large, more intelligent and well educated than the average guy - but this just might be nothing more than preaching to the choir. That's what makes this election so scary - the scales may have reached a crucial tipping point at which the majority no longer has the basic intelligence and common sense to see what should be obvious.

So - does anyone have any bright ideas for how our educational system can be reformed to keep bozos like Trump from getting this far???

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Reply Election Reform and Education Reform (Original post)
panfluteman Sep 2016 OP
elleng Sep 2016 #1

Response to panfluteman (Original post)

Sat Sep 10, 2016, 01:43 PM

1. No 'bright ideas,'

as those largely responsible for the dumbing down (I agree with you 100%) have been in positions of power for a long time, and it's being perpetuated.

I am NOT optimistic.

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