Back to School for Seventh Graders


According to Google Images, this group of seventh graders qualified for the Duke Talent Identification Program. Do you see yourself in this picture? Nope. I don’t either.

But do you know who does? The Democratic and Republican parties along with those who craft the messages on which they hope you will base your voting decisions aim their messages at seventh graders.

Actually, to be entirely fair, political spinners do not see you in this picture because this is an especially talented group of seventh graders and the flacks are aiming for the average.

It takes nothing away from these top-of the-class 13 year olds to say that your elected officials and their handlers think you are stupid. Grownups are supposed to be smarter (or at least better informed) than seventh graders.

Hmmm…. If elected officials think we are stupid, maybe…

Before saying he had no strategy for dealing with the Middle East, the President described his policy as “Don’t Do Stupid Shit.” Mrs. Clinton found that unworthy of a great nation.

Wait. Let’s have a think.

Perhaps we have been setting the bar too high for those who hold elective office?

What if “Don’t Do Stupid Shit” – while perhaps a bit demeaning — is actually an improvement over what prevails today?

Would police departments have surplus military equipment with which to terrorize the constituents who pay them if elected officials didn’t do stupid shit?

Would the words “economic patriotism” have been joined together to blame companies for following Judge Learned Hand’s advice that “anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible” if elected officials didn’t do stupid shit?

If the benefit of incorporating elsewhere is that significant, the fault lies squarely with 537 easily identified people: one President, one Vice President, 100 Senators and 435 Congressmen, all of whom have persisted in doing stupid shit.

You might want to walk that comment back, Mrs. Clinton. “Don’t do stupid shit” would be a big step up.


3 Responses to “Back to School for Seventh Graders”

John Patton, September 03, 2014 at 1:16 pm said:

For me, the most important part of this post is that political communication is happening on a 7th grade level. The U.S. is made up of 350 million people (190 eligible voters) and national politicians, in order to be elected, need to mass market. Additionally, more localized politicians are now subject to national audiences in some cases. The viral and social nature of media today makes a politician’s positioning/reputation highly sensitive. So, the reality is that we are getting politicians who buy into this kind of “fashion show politics.” We need brave politicians that speak truthfully and also who don’t do stupid shit.


Haven Pell, September 03, 2014 at 3:27 pm said:

great line about fashion show politics


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