Pete's Blog

Who Are These People?

They seem to have come out of nowhere, shouting about socialism and repeating the most absurd lies as Gospel truth. They are being egged on by a cynical communications empire and headline-hungry politicians, but the real question is: Who are they? How can anyone be that stupid, that gullible, so blindly, unthinkingly hostile that they are willing - happy! - to vote against their own best interest and that of the country they love. What rock did they climb out from under? On what planet, to paraphrase Congressman Frank, do they spend most of their time? However little they seem to have in common with our idea of thinking adults, they've always been here. But up until this generation there have always been more of Us than of Them. Now I'm not so sure. Stupid people seem to have reached a kind of Critical Mass. And they've done it the old-fashioned way. Fucking. Sarah Palin has what? five children? And her 17-year-old daughter has begun work on the next generation already. Stupid people are breeding because their ideology gives them no choice. And what, in the meantime, of smart people? My mother, who took a backseat to nobody in brains or ambition, had four children between 1951 and 1959. This was considered perfectly ordinary among women of her class at that time, but in my generation and subsequent generations any graduate of Smith College with that many children is considered not so much an exception as an apostate. Intelligent, ambitious women are supposed to have better things to do than bear children. They have careers to pursue, freedom to exult in, selves to burnish. Today's man deserves just as much blame as today's woman. The sacrifice of college-educated wives having four children in 8 years was matched, in the mythology of mid-century marriage, by husbands going to work, giving up their dreams of indolence or creativity, and dedicating their lives to the support of their families. How many male writers made fortunes limning the despair of the Man in the Grey Flannel Suit? Certainly my college friends were having none of it. We had guitars to strum, drugs to take, highways to drive, girls to seduce. At a reunion of my college class any man with four children would be looked on as a freak, a polygamist, a glutton for punishment. We see the result in the news every day: hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people whose eyes are a little too close together, carrying misspelled protest signs, chanting gibberish. And these slopes are going to rob us of our healthcare. This is what happens when intelligent, ambitious people won't reproduce.

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