Why buy a movie ticket when some of the most interesting characters on earth are constantly performing on the national stage?
America has certainly produced its share of kooks during the past couple of years (and some of the old ones, like McCain, have become decidedly kookier). But this business about Christine O’Donnell winning the Republican primary for Joe Biden’s old Senate seat in Delaware—well, it just goes to show you that anything can happen.
In education, I’ve run into my share of outsiders though the years—including legislators and school board members—who think they know much better than professional educators how the job should be done. As an engineer, my husband dealt often with clients whose attitude was, “I’m paying for that [dam, bridge, radio tower—insert your own device], and by God I’m going to tell you how to build it!” I guess most of us have encountered people from time to time who think so-called “common sense” should triumph over knowledge and experience.
But the Tea Party movement has honed to a science the art of elevating amateurs to the level of experts, and Christine O’Donnell is just the latest in a long string of examples—Rand Paul, Sharron Angel, Joe Miller—who know nothing about major issues and think shouting, sniping, and waving American flags is the same thing as governing a nation.
Ignorance does not equal innocence. And—at the risk of generating yet another fatuous comparison to Hitler—history has shown repeatedly that crazy people can be dangerous when they gain real power.
In any case, we’re now in a situation when a good percentage of voters in numerous states are happily marching off to political cliffs in the wake of minor celebrities whose only qualification for office is a nasty attitude toward government in general and Obama in particular.
So now we’re set for one of the most interesting—and also potentially catastrophic—midterm elections in American history.
Will the inmates take over the asylum? Stay tuned.