The Dumbing Down of Rick Santorum

Just when I think Rick Santorum can’t get any more insanely radical he proves me wrong. Speaking before a crowd of Tea-Party activists in Michigan last week he attack President Obama as being, “a snob.” A snob because he has proposed that all American children be permitted a chance at a college education.

To somehow take the president’s desire that all who are able to attain a higher education and all the benefits that come with such, and turn that into a charge of elitism and snobbery is beyond sanity, let alone principle. Santorum added:

“Not all folks are gifted in the same way,” he explained. “Some people have incredible gifts with their hands…there are good decent men and women who go out and work hard every day and put their skills to test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor trying to indoctrinate them.”

I’ve been to college, I went to a public university in the heart of Orange County, California; a bastion of conservatism in the 1960s. I experienced what the university experience is supposed to be; the exposure to the universal variety of knowledge. I had professors of every part of the political and philosophic spectrum, I listen and considered what they all had to say, and walked out the door with a piece of paper and a head full of thoughts I had to spend my life sorting into some sort of truth I could live with. That is not indoctrination, it is education. Rick Santorum had the same experience. He hung around institutions of higher learning long enough to get a bachelor degree and advanced degrees in law and business administration. That he remained the iron clad conservative he always has been disproves his claim.

People without higher education often distrust those who do. I’ll never forget being scorned as a “smart ass” because I explained away a UFO to a group one evening as being the planet Venus moving slowly across the sky. Santorum is taking what is already a sore spot with many in the Tea Party and instead of healing it with a gentle salve of truth, he is further inflaming it with a piece of coarse abrasive.

Santorum is correct, however, in saying that people not gifted in the same way, neither do they have the same desires, the same intellectual abilities, or the financial means to pay for an advanced education. Also, society doesn’t need everyone to be a college graduate. But, that is not what President Obama is saying. He has only promoted the idea that the opportunity and encouragement should be there for those who think they have whatever it takes. The door to college should not just open for the wealthy or the super smart. We all know of someone who began life dirt poor and without guidance. But, somehow they felt a glow, got lucky, found a crack in the side door, got a degree, and made a contribution to the betterment of society.  We also all know lots of people who began life with nothing, never acquired much, but did needed work, provided for their family, and left the world better than they found it. One of the best educated men I’ve known never spent a moment in college. He was self-educated and well-read. Among his many educational pursuits was the reading of every Pulitzer and Nobel winning books written. You could sit with him in the evenings and discuss just about anything and if you paid attention you’d learn a thing or two.

But, for Santorum to say that the president’s motivation is, “He wants to remake you in his image.” is outright slanderous. President Obama sees education exactly how every teacher and most parents in America see it; it is the ladder to a better life. It is the basis upon which the American middle-class has been built, it is the foundation for America’s industrial and technological supremacy. America can never maintain or regain our age old position in the world if we cast aside the pursuit of education for the sake of political gamesmanship like Santorum is doing.

PS: If I sound like a snob to Santorum, or any of you, blame my mother. It was she who encouraged me to get an education. Mother’s are like that!

2 thoughts on “The Dumbing Down of Rick Santorum”

  1. Rick Santorum believes in government control of the people – just in the manner that he finds “reasonable”. He demands a US theocracy just as all encompassing as that of the idiots who run Iran.

    And he will simply be “anti” whatever Obama champions, for the sake of diminishing Obama at any cost, like a conservative robot-droid. I am waiting for some Republican like Santorum to come out about the illegality of taking down Osama Bin Laden.

    Let’s hope and pray that this guy is toast by Republican convention time. He’s an idiot and a tool and he would damage our democracy (the parts not thoroughly polluted by corporate control, that is.)

    We really could use less demagogues and more reason. I suspect that the American people do not deserve real leaders, because they certainly do not demand it of their candidates.

  2. In the visual and verbal blizzard of information chaff surrounding Rick Santorum, someone asked (and I don’t remember who or where) “Does he brook comparison with Barry Goldwater or George McGovern; does he represent the start of a movement or the end of one?” This got me to thinking, just exactly what segment of the Catholic heirarchy does he represent? Where does he fit in that scheme of things? Perhaps that might explain where these spectacularly out-of-touch-with-everything-American ideas of his stem from. It’s obvious that he doesn’t represent Kennedy Catholicism, and I sincerely hope he doesn’t represent the pedophile priest faction. I’d identify him as a Mel Gibson Catholic. I first heard about Gibson’s crazy take on Catholicism somewhere between Lethal Weapons 2 & 3. I’ve never watched one of his movies since. I wasn’t aware that there were Catholics in the world who thought the only purpose women had on this planet were to be brood sows for their owners (oops, I meant husbands), or that no longer saying the mass in latin was some sort of affront to God. Since then, Gibson has added anti-semitism to his list of party chatter.

    What we’re dealing with here is, of course, religious fundamentlism in Catholic disguise. I find it puzzling that someone can go into a Catholic education and come out more out of touch with reality than the vilest redneck snake-handler, but that appears to be what we’re dealing with here. I recently posted a comment on FB about the hysterical muslim overreaction to the latest supposed infidel insult, and that sort of craziness (by our standards) is exactly what we are dealing with in this presidential candidate. It would be reprehensible if this were an act designed to get illiterate bigots to vote for him, but, as nearly every writer and talking head has pointed out, he really believes this stuff.

    So, my point (arrived at ponderously, as usual) is where is the Republican establishment throttling this moron back, at least in public? Does anyone in the Republican party realize that, by default, this guy is speaking for all of them? For that matter, without some sort of control, he is speaking for all Catholics. It was bad enough when the Republicans let George Bush show the entire world what Americans were truly like (after all, he represents everyone; so everyone must share his world view, right?), but now, America is being represented by what one writer called “one of the finest minds of the 13th century.” I disagree. He’d have been a flake back then, just like he is now.

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