The American Majority.
October 24, 2013 at 2:46pm
Having just viewed Scene 1, Episode 1 of “The Newsroom” earlier this morning (thank you, Facebook), and having processed its brave declarations, I am further emboldened by Russell Brand’s interview on the BBC to say the following. Before you read further, please prepare your heart; this comes from a devout, law-abiding, free-thinking citizen of our country.
We, in the United States, have, indeed, boasted of our alleged supremacy for far too long. Bragging about being a superpower has become a substitute for patriotism. The time is now to stop, inspect, adjust, and move forward.
As a retired public school teacher having given 25 years to the cause, I believe we should begin by addressing the definition of “democratic majority” as it reflects our obsession with the term “average.”
Now, being an artist and musician, I have less affinity with mathematics than the “average” person and probably about as much as most in my combined fields. But, I will say that, on one point, Dave Ramsey is correct: we must look at simple math. On another, we must use simple logic, and use it, well, logically.
A “majority” simply means “more than 50%.” Majorities are not necessarily comprised of averages. Indeed, they could be a widely-diverse group of living beings. And, so they should — but, in our country, they are not.
My problem with public education is that, as a system, it sets about first to define the “average” child based in academic performance and then addresses this average child as if average children comprise a majority and that this majority should be served, essentially, first. Time and attention go first to those who occupy the middle, then to the disadvantaged, and finally to those who test as intellectually superior. There is an unspoken belief that the brightest will fend successfully for themselves, that the weakest need more “materials”, and that the bulk of collective effort should be directed toward the rest who comprise this so-called majority.
In essence, this system creates a majority based in an assessment of school performance, and devises a mean level which is assigned to that majority. That majority is then herded through said system and released to the wild, to occupy a workforce that is lacking in either sufficient saleable skill or the motivation to contribute anything positive to the world it permeates. And, it faces a world that has been waiting for it. These are the massive number of consumers, poised to be influenced by mass media and political manipulation. Yes; this majority of averaged-individuals was not born; it was created.
The class system, inherited from other continents, is merely a parallel reality. Our averaged-majority doesn’t fortify that which used to be called the “middle” class; rather, it actually serves to widen the gap between an elite minority which rises to power and the entire remaining body of our population.
As one of the outcomes of this process, our society is troubled by the pernicious emergence of threats which manifest in the form of drug-addicted, mentally-unbalanced souls who commit mass atrocity. I have not done the study (this is an op ed, after all), but would wager on hunch alone that most of these individuals would test extremely high on a scale of intelligence. Yes; we grandly-patriotic puppets persistently waste our best American minds. These become socially isolated, odd-balled out, either morbidly obese or dissolute, while the monstrous population lurches and careens about, proving the system a self-perpetuating catastrophe of widening disparities between rich and poor, between aware and oblivious and, ultimately, between good and evil.
Russell Brand is a Brit by birth, a radical former drug-addict, and currently merely an ‘entertainer’ by broad definition and an actor by his own. But he, like so many others, is in reality a very bright mind caught in a discarded cage. He has rattled that cage, and many have begun to listen. Lean in, and really take heed; there is change afoot, and we must all be sure to play our part.
But, we need to be of the same mind, a truly unified force, and we must be led by our best intelligences and our most honorable citizens. Let’s create a new American majority, one that represents every race, creed, gender, mentality, and opinion — restoring the democratic process to the role for which it was designed, and dignifying the average American once again.
© Ruth Ann Scanzillo
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