Monday, September 19, 2011

"For Want of a Nail..."

The proverbial rhyme about the consequences of the loss of a single horseshoe nail ("for want of a nail, the shoe was lost, for want of a shoe the horse was lost...") is no less applicable today. So let us gather here today to mourn the loss of simple common sense, one of humankind's greatest gifts, which has shown us the way through some of our darkest hours, and whose loss has significant consequences on our society.

And I think, being honest, that we must all accept responsibility for its loss by increasingly turning our backs on it.

Michele Bachmann, that great humanitarian and scholar, tells us that a trip President Obama (a.k.a to Republicans as "the Antichrist") made to Japan cost taxpayers $200,000,000 a day; that he took along an entourage of 2,000 people, who stayed in 735 luxury 5-star hotel rooms (at least that comes out to nearly three people per room--a sure sign of frugality ignored by Ms. Bachmann). She also told us, with the deep sincerity and profundity for which she is known, that our founding fathers worked tirelessly (this is in 1776, mind) until slavery was eradicated from the land.

Is she laughed off the stage and forbidden to play with sharp objects? No, she is running for the office of President of the United States, and her every word is greeted with applause and knowing nods of agreement by her followers. And she is accompanied in her bid for the presidency by others whose intellectual qualifications and devotion to truth equal her own.

As our society becomes more and more ruled by technology--the workings of which are unintelligible to the average human--we feel, correctly, that we have less and less control over our own destinies. As even trying to figure out how and why things and institutions work the way they do becomes increasingly more difficult, more and more people are throwing up their hands in frustration and saying to self-proclaimed pundits, "Okay, you tell me what to think," and those pundits, whose motivations are based far more on greed for power than altruism, are more than happy to oblige. And with every egregiously false and misleading statement they issue, another nail is pounded into the coffin of common sense.

Can this trend be reversed? Possibly, but I fear it would require more time and effort than most people are willing to devote to it--there's a "Housewives of the Jersey Shore" rerun on tonight, after all, and priorities are priorities.

But just because we've tossed common sense into the back of a sock drawer doesn't mean we can't take it out and start using it again. First, we must all realize that just because something is said on TV or read in a forwarded email does not make it true. As someone once said, if ten million people believe a lie, it is still a lie. All it takes, when reading/seeing/hearing something like this is to ask the simplest of simple questions: "Does this really make any sense?" President Obama plans to give every illegal immigrant $400,000 a month, free health care, a new house, and a new car? Forget that even if he wanted to he could not get it passed through a congress which, if he said the sun was shining, would run for their umbrellas. Hey, a friend sent me an email of an article he saw in some magazine, so it must be true. Muslims use a melon scoop to remove the brains of Christian babies? They said so on Fox News, so it has to be true.

Politics, of course, is not the only thing lacking the nail of common sense. Internet spam is obviously unaware of its existence. After railing against Spam endlessly, I still cannot comprehend it, let alone how any rational human being could ever, under any circumstances, believe a word of it.

Television commercials--and especially infomercials and those aired late at night--depend on the lack of the nail of the viewer's common sense.

Instances of the effects of the loss of the nail of common sense are endless, and to point to them all is like standing in the back yard at night pointing up at the stars.

But the nail's not lost; we can find it and use it. All we have to do is try.

Dorien's blogs are posted by 10 a.m. Central time every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Please come back. And please take a moment to check out for information on Dorien's Short Circuits: a Life in Blogs.


Kage Alan said...

I am astounded each and every time I see a new quote by Michelle Bachman. That's how absurd our politics have become, especially since gay marriage will be an issue in the upcoming election.

Let the lies begin...

Dorien/Roger said...

Unfortunately, Kage, the lies began long ago, and they have no end. To avoid despair in light of Bachmann, Perry, and their beneath-contempt ilk is a Herculean task.

C. Zampa said...

Wonderful post, Dorien.
Is is scary, when you stop to think about it. That we ARE becoming a society which does not think for itself. We're losing the ability to be ABLE to think for ourselves.

'The mind is a terrible thing to waste'...but it seems that is exactly what we are doing. Wasting our minds.

Dorien/Roger said...

Sad but true, Carol. But we have weathered terrible storms before, and somehow survived. Let us hope that will be true this time as well.