“Democracy without education becomes tyranny without limitation.”
Our version of representative government found a toehold because the population of the colonies in the late 18th Century had a respectable level of education. So stated one of my college history profs who mentioned the above quote, some version of which goes back to Socrates and Plato.
So how can a highly educated population like that of today’s USA act like such mindless doofusses? My pick to click: Evolution. More precisely, lack of it.
We are still a very primitive species. We revel in our high tech society while the power for our computers still relies on wires hung on sticks.
Even the sharpest among us refuse to acknowledge inconvenient facts. Witness Australian Dr. Barry J. Marshall who infected himself with Helicobacter pylori bacterium to prove that many ulcers could be cured with antibiotics. He was vilified and almost driven out of the profession for going against medical orthodoxy. Then he won the Nobel Prize.
This monster mannunkind remains worthy of poet e.e. cummings’ appellation. We naively believe stuff as credible only because it was part of the orthodoxy before we were born. Why is some twisted guy who scratched symbols on parchment, papyrus or bamboo attributed wisdom just because he’s been quoted so often? Because our tribe demands it. Fealty to the group that protects you.
Peer pressure, aka mob mentality, still controls so much of what we do and drives our taboos. Criminals and despots make a fat living feasting on the emotions of their true believers.
We will see if we have evolved at all this November as our tribal tendencies will be on full voracious display. The infection is already much worse than any ulceration.
BELARUS TRACTION. The former Byelorussia represents the latest symptom of worldwide revolution. Heretofore, their claim to fame was exporting the Belarus Tractor, a cheaper and more efficient critter than other countries produce. One of the leaders protesting the recent fraudulent election came off the tractor factory floor. Sergei Dylevsky was recently jailed for his efforts.
The people of Ukraine came out by the millions in 2004 after the ruling party lost an election and refused to give up power. Before balloting, eventual President Viktor Yushchenko survived an assassination attempt by poisoning. (Sound familiar?) The bad guys were toppled by the fabled Orange Revolution.
The sustainability of Black Lives Matter should give us hope that no matter the threats or the guns pointed at American citizens in November, the voters will prevail. Over our own orange psycho.
COUNTRY GIRL, NATIONAL MESSAGE. Country music hall of famer and longtime Nevadan Lacy J. Dalton just released “I Can’t Breath – None of us matter until the least of us matter.” (Hmmm…which famous guy said that a long time ago? Too bad he is so often ignored nowadays.) “I understand that I will never understand – but I stand with you,” weaves the great Lace. You may access YouTube links via the expanded web edition of this column at Barbwire.US/
PONY EXPRESSIONISM. Lacy is also an international figure because of her advocacy of wild horses, many of whom may be called into service if Czar Donaldov succeeds in unconstitutionally destroying the US Postal Service.
“The law is almost helpless against a president who’s willing to ignore it,” Georgetown Prof. Rosa Brooks told the Boston Globe.
Save the Postal Service rallies erupted across the nation starting last Saturday, with another in these parts on Aug. 25. Remember this: The Postal Service is NOT LOSING MONEY. It’s been highly profitable for the past six years. However, a Republican Congress saddled it with shunting money into an insurance fund for workers who have yet to be born, 75 years into the future. No other institution shoulders such a burden but allows privatizers and poltroons to say it’s a loser. I expect a lot of that during this week’s GOP National Conniption.
COMPUTERS FOR KIDS. The Washoe County school board and its incompetent administration are on the ropes for putting kids back into COVID-19 infested classrooms. (Health experts warned them, but we’re talking egos here.) Computers for kids whose families can’t afford the tab are thus critical as we approach another lockdown. Contact Dorothy Ingraham, President of the Reno Cigar Lions Club, for donation info. Supplies and peripherals welcome. They fix.
“Bulk donations of PCs and laptops are needed but anyone with an extra laptop or desktop PC can help,” Ingraham says. “Please consider donating one or more computers in working order.” Call (775) 453-0307 e-mail <RenoCigarLions@gmail.com>
SUE THE BASTARDS. Dorothy and I both serve on the Reno-Sparks NAACP, the national organization of which just sued Trump’s puppet postmaster general for crippling the country’s most popular government agency. Hey, veterans don’t really need all that medicine, do they?
GOOD GUYS. State Treasurer Zack Conine has $30 million in short-term rental assistance available. Apply ASAP at housing.nv.gov/ Businesses can also now get some help. As of last Monday, the State Treasurer’s Office and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced that small businesses and non-profits may apply for the state’s commercial rental assistance program. The application period closes on Monday, August 31, at 5:00 p.m. PST. Go to DiversifyNevada.com or call 1-800-336-1600.
HIS LIFE MATTERED. Detroit firefighter Sivad Johnson was visiting a riverfront park with his 10 year-old daughter last Friday when he heard a call for help. Three young girls were drowning. The 26-year veteran and another man dived in. The kids were saved. Sgt. Johnson, 49, was swept away in the current. His body was found Saturday.
His heroism survives him, as does his motto: “To Bravely Do or Bravely Die.”
Requiescat in pace.
Take care of each other and be careful out there.
¡Sí se puede!
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 51-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.