I’m Sorry

     Mea culpa.
     I’m soooo sorry.
     I’ve always thought of myself as someone who accepted everyone, regardless of sex, race, national origin, religion or musical preference.
     I thought I had empathy for the sick, the halt, the blind — even those of deprived of wi-fi and cable.
     But now I realize I’ve been sorely prejudiced — bigoted even — toward a class of persons that have suffered nothing but abuse and whose plight is worsening.
     I’m speaking, of course, of the stupid.
     Stupidity is a disability that’s been ignored far too long and requires legal protection.
     I came to this sudden realization when I spotted a headline on the cover of the July/August issue of The Atlantic: “The War on Stupid People.”
     I thought this might be one of those mythical wars like the War on Christmas or the War on Drugs dreamed, up by people who want to be victims or are paranoid because of all the drug-taking.
     But it turns out that the stupid are too dumb to think of something like that and the headline writer just got carried away.
     What the article does say is that the dumb are constantly ridiculed by people — like me — who would never think of ridiculing people with other sorts of handicaps.
     And, according to the magazine, the stupid are increasingly being denied jobs that they could do perfectly well.
     How is this different from any other disability? Shouldn’t the Americans with Disabilities Act apply to a group of humans who, through no fault of their own, require accommodation? Why are there no class actions on behalf of the intellectually-challenged?
     Consider what would happen if an intelligent person were hit on the head during an office-sponsored dodgeball tournament and lost 20 IQ points.
     Wouldn’t that person be entitled to legal protection and accommodation for his or her disability?
     How is that person’s situation different from someone who lacked those 20 IQ points to begin with?
     Being born without a big brain is just as much a handicap as being born without a leg or rich parents — and it’s certainly not your fault. No one chooses to be stupid unless they’re running for office.
     You’d think that with the current makeup of Congress and most state legislatures the stupid are well-represented enough to write laws to protect themselves. Unfortunately, they seem to be too dumb to do that, so it’s up to the rest of us.
     The Atlantic article (which is actually quite smart) recommends doing something about poverty and providing early education and vocational training.
     Meanwhile, you class action lawyers out there, realize that you have a vast unrepresented clientele to bring to court.
     And while you’re at it, give some thought to my ridiculed class — the poorly dressed.
     Nobody chooses to have this kind of poor taste.
     Election crime. Why is it that lying during an election campaign isn’t a crime?
     Shouldn’t it be?
     At the very least, it ought to be something we can sue over.
     I bring this up in light of all the post-Brexit explanations claiming the vote went the way it did because pro-Brexit campaigners lied to voters.
     Now put lying in another context. If you lied to get someone to sign a contract or give you money, you’ve committed fraud. You could be jailed or at the very least sued.
     But when you lie to an entire country to get it to make historic and possibly disastrous decisions, there are no consequences.
     This, of course, happens all the time in U.S. elections. A barrage of repeated outrageous lies will be believed by enough voters to swing almost any contest.
     We almost take it for granted.
     Then when the results are horrible or completely unfair (see, e.g., any recent book or article on gerrymandering), the only punishment is meted out to hapless voters, not the liars.
     Obviously, lying during election campaigns is yet another thing from which the stupid need protection.
     Write your legislators.
     Oh, wait, legislators are the people doing most of the lying …
     Never mind. It’s hopeless.

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