Editorial: ’One Dumb Person’ doctrine at work

Column By John Young

Beauty is skin deep, but stupid is to the bone.

I didn’t come up with that. The stupidity that today passes for governance in some places, however, inspires me to coin a term.

Call it the “One Dumb Person” doctrine.

Actually, credit for this thought goes to Salon’s Amanda Marcotte, blasting Florida’s new “parental rights” bill that lets a single parent harass school administrators and block activities or content based on the inability of one person’s simple brain to process it.

Take the idiocy behind a Florida school barring the showing of the Disney film “Ruby Bridges,” about a little girl’s role in desegregating schools. Why was it blocked? Because of one parent’s complaints about racial slurs depicted.

Then there’s the Florida principal fired over students having seen Michelangelo’s “David” because one parent complained it was pornographic.

Whether it’s class activities or materials at the school library, “Republicans have landed on this strategy of simply giving a single busybody total veto power over a school curriculum or library,” writes Marcotte.

“Any group of people of sufficient size will have at least one person who has the twin personal failings of being both mean and stupid.”

Rather than “Parents Bill of Rights,” she brands Florida’s law the “Dumb Parents Empowerment Act.”

It couldn’t be more appropriate as pertains to those who assail public education with capricious demands.

Alarmingly, laws and legal maneuvers that empower a single stupid person far exceed what is happening to schools and libraries.

Look around at the destructive mischief of the MAGA crowd and see it in venue after venue.

One federal judge with an ideological agenda – one, for gosh sakes – was on the verge of stopping every woman from being able to end an early pregnancy via the safest means possible, pharmaceutically.

Fortunately, a judge in Washington State intervened with a ruling that will send it to the Supreme Court (which ruled in 2022 that abortion laws are up to the states. We’ll see if the anti-choice clique on the Roberts Court lied.)

The outrageous thing about North Texas Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk’s ruling, aside from atrocious disinformation courtesy of Wikipedia, is that the case was brought by plaintiffs with no standing.

A group of anti-choice physicians, after forum shopping for just the right judge, sued under an absurd pretext: that they might have a case where the drug in question – mifepristone – might cause an adverse reaction for one of their patients.

Such a possibility exists for any drug ever invented – baby aspirin, throat lozenges, name it.

Healthcare analysts assert that legal standing under these terms is tantamount to just about anyone filing suit over unknown and unknowable situations.

Yes, government by the village idiot.

This might sound familiar for Texans alarmed by that state’s trigger law effectively deputizing citizens to sue people who “provide, aid or abet” an abortion, a $10,000 bounty at that rainbow’s end.

In so many instances over the last few years, we’ve seen how one person who lacks the standing to have any power to influence events causes great disruption and outright harm.

Mental case attorney Sidney Powell should have been telling her tales to a rubber room rather than a Fox News cable audience that wanted to believe anything Donald Trump claimed about a “stolen election.”

When Trump couldn’t get any of the top-level figures in his own Justice Department to go along with his desire to confiscate voting machines, one party hack, Jeffrey Clark, said, “I’ll do it, Boss.” (Fortunately, the threat of resignations en masse caused Trump to back off.)

Then-Attorney General William Barr, who ultimately claimed to see Trump as a hoax meister, served as judge and jury to circumvent Robert Mueller’s report which said Trump likely broke the law in obstructing the Russia probe.

And then there is Trump himself, inadequate for his job in every way – intellectually, emotionally, morally — so suspect that he now faces more trials than a “Law and Order” marathon. One man, so much harm.

He calls himself a stable genius. He and his flock are entitled to make that claim. Those seeing more clearly are entitled to depict his years in office as government by one dumb person.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email him at jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author.