Home / Features / Columns/Opinions / USING LABELS
Monday, Feb. 16, 2015


Stupid is as stupid does

Sometimes we get so caught up in using labels that we miss the forest for the trees. Of course, labels help us organize our world, which is increasingly loud, confusing and misleading. People often bite their tongue, or hold their comments back, afraid that they will be called a racist, elitist, liberal, conservative, sexist or an anti-environmentalist – for simply what they believe.

But no matter the label, I think it all boils down to the plain wisdom of Forest Gump’s momma when she said, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

And the world is certainly full of lots of examples of stupid. It’s hard to comment on any of it, or engage someone in a meaningful discussion about it, without offending them – or some group – or risk being branded as a heartless so-and-so, or an insensitive you-know-what. Thus, lots of people just keep their opinions to themselves.

And a recent Pew Research poll indicated this as well: Most people who regularly use social media sites are less likely to share their opinions, even offline, unless they know their audience agrees. Our fear of isolation from others, it seems, keeps too many of us from sharing our opinions, and this encourages a sense of apathy or a “to each his own” mentality.

The problem with that, in the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., is that “[O]ur lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

For example, does it matter that welfare spending has increased 16-fold since the federal government began the “War on Poverty” in the 1960s, and that welfare spending has risen 32 percent since President Barack Obama took office? Yet the number of people on food stamps in the United States exceeds the total population of Argentina (43,024,374)?

Doesn’t it matter that Obama said earlier this month that he was “proud of saving the economy,” during the same week that 25,000 Americans filed for unemployment, and that the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 93 million Americans being unemployed now, or not even looking for work?

Does it bother you that our federal government is borrowing 14 cents out of every dollar it spends now, just to keep the “lights on,” and yet Obama’s executive order on immigration enables those here illegally to get a check from the federal government through the Earned Income Tax Credit, even retroactively, going back three years? And did you know that last year the IRS sent $4.2 billion in checks to illegal immigrants in our country?

This is exactly the kind of “stupid is that stupid does” thinking that will do us in. It’s contagious and it’s reaching epidemic levels – especially with the nonsense thinking in our society that places more value on how something looks or feels, rather than what it is actually.

Does it bother you that our president is more concerned with “showing” the world that Americans are united together to fight ISIS terrorists, instead of him simply freeing up our military commanders to go break things and kill the bad guys (instead of just “showing” the bad guys how united we are in spirit)?

And does it bother you that NBC anchor Brian Williams wanted to look more heroic when said his helicopter was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade as he was covering the Iraq war in 2003 (when it really didn’t), or when Hillary Clinton said she landed in Bosnia in 1996 under sniper fire (when there wasn’t any)? Or when Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal wanted to appear as a war hero and said he served in Vietnam (when he hadn’t).

If any of these examples bother you, speak out, be heard. There’s more people who think like you do than you might realize. And like fleas, roaches, rats, rust and termites, if you say nothing, or ignore the problem, it will only become worse.

Our society too often confuses doing something with actually accomplishing something. We give more praise and attention to those who care more, than those who actually help more.

And it’s got to stop. So don’t be silent about things that matter, and call it like it is, no matter what side of the aisle you are on. And if anyone happens to get offended by you defending what you believe, especially the intellectuals who “know better” than the rest of us, just tell them to go see Forest’s momma. It’s not any more complicated than that.


The Forum News