Slow on the Uptake

You’ll have to forgive me. I’m slow on the uptake. Occasionally I write more than one of these a day, but I haven’t done that for quite some time. The goal is to write one a day during the week and then take the weekend off to rest my fingers. So, 99 percent of the news items I pontificate on have already been widely reported and commented on elsewhere. I will never promise to be first here.

What I will do is promise to put my stamp on everything I write about. After all, what’s the use of having an opinion if it won’t be your own? With that I give you Louie Gohmert as only he can do. The link is a YouTube video where he asks a scientist if the national parks service or BLM can somehow alter the orbit of the Earth or the moon.

The scientist in question has her own kind of Dr. Birks moment where she fumbles for what to say and does her best to keep a poker face without laughing hysterically or simply popping off about what a dumbass Gohmert must be. Of course, we are assuming he is referring to the Bureau of Land Management with BLM and not Black Lives Matter. With Gohmert there are no safe assumptions. You will be forgiven if you have sudden images of “Dolemite in Space”.

Anyone familiar with Gohmert’s work is not the least bit surprised by this. He already had the reputation as the dumbest member of Congress before all this happened. In his defense, he seems to have a lot of competition for that title these days. Maybe he felt he needed to up his game. The citizens of Longview must be proud.

When Gohmert bragged about his high SAT score I was reminded of the time I taught in a private school. One of my students proudly announced the reason why we had day and night. It was because the sun was half fire and half rock. When we were on the fire side of the sun it was day. When we were on the rock side it was night. This was an A student.

I immediately went home and asked my wife (the NASA engineer) why we didn’t plan manned exploration of the sun. She said it would be too hot. I corrected her and told her we would simply go at night. Obviously, the second part was a joke at my wife’s expense, but the student was earnest when offering this and she was one of my better students. Thus, proving that academic performance and intelligence are not necessarily the same thing.

I’m obviously doubly sensitive to stupidity as it pertains to space (I didn’t even mention the solar flares). I’ve lived in the shadow of NASA virtually my whole life and it has been a huge part of my adult life for more than 20 years now. I readily admit I don’t know as much as some people and there are areas of science where I’m a drooling idiot. Yet, I get the idea that admitting as much and allowing yourself to feel ashamed for that lack of knowledge is more than half the battle.

I don’t think it is any coincidence that the folks on the list that might battle Gohmert for his position are virtually all Republicans. Sure, that might just be my bias coming through. I readily admit that. I also can’t help but think this is a feature and not a bug. One of the common markers people look for when they vote is someone they feel comfortable with that they feel like they “could drink a beer with.”

When you follow that thought to its logical conclusion you reach two very disturbing realizations. First, if people elect leaders that reflect their values and intellectual curiosity then the Louie Gohmert’s and Marjorie Taylor Greene’s of the world reflect the majority of people in their home district. Secondly, as one comedian put it, go down to your local bar. Look to your left and to your right. See any leaders there?

I can’t help but think this is how we’ve gotten it wrong all this time. I don’t want someone like me in Washington that I could share a beer with. I want someone better than me. I want someone smarter than me. I want someone wiser than me. I want someone with more courage. I want someone with a stronger moral conviction. That’s what representative government is all about. After all, if people were just as good as me (or worse than me) than why wouldn’t I be there?

Author: sbarzilla

I have written three books about baseball including The Hall of Fame Index. I also write for You can follow me on twitter @sbarzilla.

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