Several times in his farewell address last week, President Obama gave credit for the advances we’re seen in the last eight years — and what can be accomplished in the future — to “The American People.” Check out these excerpts from the transcript:
Change only happens when ordinary people get involved, get engaged, and come together to demand it…
We, the people, through the instrument of our democracy, can form a more perfect union…
You were the change. You answered people’s hopes, and because of you, by almost every measure, America is a better, stronger place than it was when we started…
I am asking you to believe. Not in my ability to bring about change – but in yours.
Those are fine sentiments, but it’s also giving Americans more praise than they deserve. As we’ve seen time and again, “the power of the people” is a myth. The truth is that “the people” have fewer representatives in Washington, DC, than any major industry has lobbyists. It wasn’t “the people” who saved the American auto industry from financial catastrophe. It wasn’t “the people” who helped 20 million of us get health insurance. It wasn’t “the people” who legalized same-sex marriage in all fifty states. All of those were accomplished by your federal government, Mr. President, not by a public referendum.
What else is there to say about the American people? Aside from the fact that “the people” have fallen for a lying billionaire con-man as our next CEO, they’re the ones who, in large percentages:
- Use “password” as their password;
- Do not believe in evolution;
- Are convinced that voter fraud is rampant, despite no evidence that it’s even a small problem;
- Aren’t sure that human-caused climate change is real;
- Are convinced the government wants to take their guns away;
- Give Congress an approval rating in single digits yet re-elect over 90% of incumbents;
- Think abstinence-only sex education is effective, despite all evidence to the contrary;
- Believe homeopathic remedies are the same as actual medicine;
- Accept health advice from Gwyneth Paltrow, who once recommended women steam their vaginas;
- Think the best way to cook hot dogs is to boil them.