On fairly regular occasions, I watch The Daily Show. Now, it can hardly be described as an unbiased source of “news”, but satire always has a stinging level of truth behind it. More than mere truthiness.
Whenever I watch, there is invariably a segment where host Jon Stewart plays clips of US politicians, either delivering sermons in the House or the Senate, or holding forth on Fox or some other news network. The clips are usually of someone talking utter bullshit, saying something truly outrageous and being allowed to get away with it.
One recent example was the case of Representative Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican who appears to have no brain whatsoever. He talked up the ludicrous notion that terrorists were coming to America to give birth, so that their offspring could claim US citizenship under the 14th Amendment, only to return decades later as a legitimate citizen and blow themselves up.
Where this batshit crazy man got this idea from no one really knows. And when challenged to give any proof to his assertion, he just got mad instead.
Allowing lunatics like him to be elected will always remain the great flaw of democracy. But what concerns me a little about America is that he is by far not the only example. Day after day, week after week, on The Daily Show, more and more politicians are put in the limelight displaying absolutely zero intelligence whatsoever.
While Britain too has its fair share of politicians who arguably lack the brainpower to stand up and make a coherent, logical speech, backed by evidence as they see it, it seems to me that the US has a lot more of them, despite actually having fewer politicians at the national level. From Michele Bachman to Jim Bunning. And plenty more.
It seems like a harsh question to ask, but there is definitely something different about American democracy versus British democracy. I’m not saying that our voters look for intelligence in their politicians either, but for whatever reason, there is a cultural difference. US politicians have historically won elections by being more “one of us” – despite not being “one of us” in the least. Whereas in Britain, historically it has not always been like that, though we’re heading in that direction.
For those who disagree, let’s hear it. I raise the question simply because I’m genuinely interested…