Although Jeffrey Williiams offers his blog post as, in part, a critique of mine, I don?t really see it that way. Like my title here says, stupid and disgruntled ain?t mutually exclusive. Disgruntlement might be the first emotional reaction to tough times, but stupidity still manages to push against different conclusions that disgruntlement might draw. Before this starts sounding like metaphysical forces–disgruntlement versus stupidity flying in mid-air and doing battle with one another–let me explain, by way of anecdote.
My wife, who is a much more patient person than I am, is now doing phone calling for the Democratic Party. We live in a state that?s pretty damn important to the future of American politics, namely, Ohio. We have a governor?s race going on here, between John Kasich and Ted Strickland. Kasich worked for Lehman Brothers and raked in a nice salary from 2001-2008. Strickland, one of nine children from a steelworker family, became a counselor and minister before entering politics.
My wife is talking with people who are telling her that they?re sick of rich people running government, that they wanna ?throw the bums out? (OK, they don?t use that terminology, but that?s what they mean), and therefore they?re voting Republican–in this case the Wall Street guy, not the public service guy. These people I would put into the following category: disgruntled yet stupid. And, yes, they?re stupid. They know nothing about the background of either candidate nor the policies they stand for; they?re just angry. So why think of disgruntled and stupid as mutually exclusive?
On another point, I?d warn Jeffrey Williams that the Tea Party actually offers more than ?media events rather than effectual action.? They?re trying to get people elected to office, after all, people who promise to strip government of its power and pursue free market policies. Sharon Angle, Christine ?No Sex Please? O?Donnell, and Rand (yes, Ayn, your legacy shines through) Paul all share loopy ideas, conspiratorial thinking about government (stupidity), and anger at what they perceive as socialist take-over of government under Obama. So, yes, disgruntled and stupid at the same time.
Indeed, socialism as the Tea Party defines it is a perfect synopsis of stupid and disgruntled. Let?s face it: these people don?t know what they?re talking about. The meager health reform bill as socialist? Far from it. It sure fuels disgruntlement, but not before the stupid comes and changes frustration into the dumb.