CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In the Dec. 8 Sunday Gazette-Mail, our wise and quite lucid friend Perry Mann gave us much food for thought as to why West Virginia shifted from a blue state to a red one. Indeed, his solid intellectual and practical arguments, as far as they can go in such limited space, are irrefutable.
But he is too much of a gentleman to utter the more gritty reasons why a majority of our state's citizens vote for those vile poltroon puppets of certain devious super-rich whose party idolizes a reverse Robin Hood scam they call "trickle-down" but which has proven itself to be "gush-upward-to-them" economics.
May I, an aspiring blackguard since the cradle, use plain language?
It is not elitist to declare that most (at least 51 percent) of the about 50 percent who bother to vote are too damned dumb or distracted to pay attention to more than those yammering smear campaign TV commercials they are bombarded with as they channel surf for the latest staged drivel "reality" show.
They do not trouble themselves to listen to discussions between informed people on stations that have the integrity to air arguments from across the political spectrum. Thus they do not become the well-informed electorate our founding fathers envisioned for their new nation. They vote mindlessly on "gut" feelings implanted by wolves in sheep's clothing who, over and over, tell them how God wants them to vote. Diving onto that same pig pile are those highly-paid media hucksters who fan flames of paranoid fear about guns, gays, abortion or such other conspiracy crap du jour that has not, and never will affect those voters' own lives.
It is not completely their fault that many never read a newspaper or magazine whose content rises above coupons to clip or the latest arrest of some mindless celebrity. Some don't study issues and candidates because they do not have a facility for, or never had motivation to read. The blame for that lies with schools' failure to teach, teach, teach, until every child is proficient with that most fundamental asset which allows anyone to learn any other thing -- the ability to speak, read and write English competently.
Under those circumstances, how can such citizens be criticized for never having read the Constitution or Declaration of Independence, much less understand them? How can they wisely choose when what little they are told comes from underhanded scoundrels who brazenly lie about any and everything to get their vote?
How many public school systems now educate youngsters in how our government was founded and works, our geography and the history that brought us to where we are today? Things they sorely need to know to be responsible citizens all their lives -- as opposed to being force-fed time-wasting distractions for which they cram, pass a test and promptly never use again. Don't chuckle, college presidents. Some of you are guilty, too. Many "Reader's Voice" and "Ventline" comments affirm that abysmal ignorance exists even among certain faithful newspaper readers.
The United States of America was founded on political differences. Our form of government demands that all sides be heard. Its fundamental laws provide that even the least of us has inalienable rights, including to better oneself. The framers did not envision red states or blue states where screaming extremists send overly ambitious fools or grandstanding idiots or those obsessed by a creed of greed to govern us. They would unanimously damn such interlopers who do not grasp why those revolutionaries put the word UNITED into the name of our nation.
West Virginia needs to become the first WHITE state on those maps. No longer a red state. Nor a blue state. But a white state where people make truthfully informed voting decisions so as to reject rabid, narrow-issue partisans of any stripe. A place where people of intelligence, integrity and ability govern, and, while having philosophical differences, can still agree to disagree, then put competently governing West Virginia and The United States of America above blind partisanship.
As for those who scream "My way or the highway!" -- let's vote them to the highway.
Cook is an artist, author and inventor who lives in Hurricane.