by Dee Newman
Village idiots have long been known as eccentric individuals (oddballs), typically provoking both pity and derision. Though generally regarded as ignorant and nonsensical, they nonetheless contribute to the social fabric of a community as examples – as tolerable forms of derangement.
Yet, when a significant number of the electorate view and accept these dimwits as sages, something is terribly wrong.
Born and bred in the South – where anti-intellectualism is common and ‘common sense’ is greatly espoused but rarely realized – I’ve gotten used to seeing our nation’s village idiots become icons, widely and uncritically admired for their insights and analysis.
When the ‘Solid South’ Dixiecrats with the passing of the Civil Rights legislation in the 60s became Republicans, I said “good-riddance!” They were a disgrace, a stain on the integrity of the Democratic Party.
Given the fact that their stunted fiscal policies and narrow minded, states’ rights ideology had managed to keep the South backward, lagging behind the rest of the country in health, education and other social services, who would have thought that one day they would actually take over the GOP?
I didn’t. It never entered my mind that one day our entire nation’s progress toward enlightenment would be held hostage by their ignorance and idiocy.