Recently in a debate, Jon Huntsman spoke a phrase in Chinese; he has subsequently been skewered by some in the media for this unforgiveable sin. A clip of Mitt Romney shows him saying what his name is in French, “Je m’appelle, Mitt Romney.” Shocking! The critics have even reached back to a clip of John Kerry saying something in French during an election campaign a few years ago, as if this is treasonous.
All of this just goes to show that there is a drive toward the lowest common denominator. How can this country survive if we are not engaged with the world? How chauvinistic (oh, sorry that’s French as well) is it to expect everyone else (tout le monde) to speak English while we blithely ridicule those who’ve taken the time and effort to educate themselves?
We’ve been warned since the founding of this country that a dumbed down populace is the greatest threat to our democracy. Now we are proving it. An ignorant populace is more easily provoked into unthinking fear and vengeance and the scariest part is that fearful people are more easily led to war, discrimination and brutality.
We’re seeing it now. When educating ourselves to be better, more informed people of how the world works and our place in it is belittled, we are skating on very thin ice.