Daytonopia and Idiocracy

I’m admitting it, I’m late to the party. After hearing people reference the movie “Idiocracy” over and over to refer to the current leadership in this country, I sat down and watched if for the first time. It’s a very stupid movie. Unfortunately, it does a lot to explain why we currently have an idiot running this country. And while many people talk about dystopian predictions by authors like Orwell, Huxley, Atwood, Bradbury, I still feel like the quintessential story to predict the rise of Donald J. Trump is a children’s fairy tale, from 1837 by Hans Christian Andersen called “The Emperor’s New Clothes.

If you’re not familiar, a vain emperor obsessed with clothes, gets conned by a pair of weavers who tell him the fine fabric that they used to construct his new clothes is invisible to fools. Not wanting to admit he’s a fool too, he goes along with it- and parades in public naked. The citizens having been warned that only wise folks can see them, won’t admit that he’s naked, until a 5 year old boy calls bullshit.

That’s America today under Donald J. Trump, and why everyone with a brain should vote every single Republican member of the house and senate who saved him from impeachment out of office.

But, that’s where “Idiocracy” comes in. Its premise is “the wrong people are breeding” in America, while the DINC YUPPIES put off having babies, the lowest IQ common folk f*ck’d like rabbits and overwhelmed society with dummies wearing MAGA hats. The heroes in the movie are two “average” intelligence folks (Luke Wilson and Maya Rudolph) who were put into suspended animation for the military, to “store” soldiers for when they’d need more. The test was supposed to last a year, but instead, they were “woke” 500 years in the future- where America was an Idiocracy and corporate interests had destroyed the environment. When it was discovered that the time-traveler Wilson was the smartest person on the planet, he’s charged with saving the human race from dust storms and famine- caused by the switch from water to Gatorade, which has “electrolytes” to “water” the crops. Wilson isn’t brilliant, but suggests switching back to water (“you mean the stuff in the toilet?”) and it works. Of course, he and Rudolph want to find a time machine to escape the stupidity and go back to 2005 (proving they aren’t very smart).

And it got me thinking, maybe I should use the overwrought tool of time travel to describe how stupid is running amok today. What if the Wright Brothers were trying to invent their flying machine? I’m sure Nan Whaley and her “culture of corruption” crew would pass a law banning experiments in flying. Or the Engineers Club would reject their membership, and the Bicycle Club too. They wouldn’t be allowed to give a TEDx talk here- or even a Pecha Kucha. They’d be shunned and mocked and their little paper they published, The “West Side News” would be ignored by the bigger paper, even when they broke stories. And, then I went and read the Wikipedia entry for them- and basically found that what I was imagining- was sort of what happened- and it wasn’t until they’d flown in France that this city recognized them for their accomplishments.

but after their poor showing local newspapers virtually ignored them for the next year and a half…(1904)….

In years to come, Dayton newspapers would proudly celebrate the hometown Wright brothers as national heroes, but the local reporters somehow missed one of the most important stories in history as it was happening a few miles from their doorstep. James M. Cox, publisher at that time of the Dayton Daily News (later governor of Ohio and Democratic presidential nominee in 1920), expressed the attitude of newspapermen—and the public—in those days when he admitted years later, “Frankly, none of us believed it.”

Source: Wright brothers – Wikipedia

So much for that literary license. I’d just be telling people that we’re just as stupid now as we were then, and that the square pegs in this community must be beaten into submission and put in round holes at all costs.

The last time Dayton reformed itself was after the great flood of 1913, when John Patterson rammed the “City Manager” form of government down our throats because he was sick of the political party bosses. While many around here talk about this great innovation, it didn’t even make it into his Wikipedia entry. The best google reference I could find was in a stoically written book from 1923 “John H. Patterson, Pioneer in Industrial Welfare” by Samuel Crowther. Of course, Patterson couldn’t see into the future, 100 years later, where the party bosses have again figured out a way to rig the system, and that even something as simple as a mail in primary election would be hijacked by intentional incompetence.

What would Patterson think of not one government in Dayton, but 30+ and so many other unnecessary divisions of power? Do we really need so many tax levies? West Carrollton just squandered millions building a “recreation/entertainment district” acquiring land at tax payers expense for a grand plan- only to not have enough money to supply basic police and fire without an additional levy. The land they bought- was turned over to the County LandBank- because they actually cut their own revenues by buying up private tax base and turning it into non-tax generating empty lots. And this is just one example of idocracy right here in river city.

Coronavirus is going to decimate local tax collections for the next 2 years. We’re going to hear about how we have to sacrifice, that cuts will need to be made in public service, how cities and counties are on the verge of bankruptcy (and if you listen to idiot in chief Mitch McConnell, we should just let them declare bankruptcy). The reality is we can’t tax ourselves back into health so it’s time for a come to Jesus moment in Montgomery County: It’s time to eliminate all the local banana republics, redraw some lines on the map and build a new, simplified, streamlined system of government we can afford.

It’s time for unigov. It’s time to put away the county lines of the Northwest Ordinance of 1785 and realize Fairborn and Beavercreek and Springboro and maybe even Franklin have more in common with “Dayton” than with Greenville, Waynesboro and Arcanum. That we need a strong urban government and a strong rural government but not 30+ governments. We need 1 set of courts, 1 police department, 1 fire department, 1 public maintenance department, one housing, one planning, one water, you get the point. Because, post Covid-19, we can’t afford that many chiefs for the remaining Indians.

Friends ask me why do you continue to fight the system here? Why don’t you just live and let live. I got a call from a “local leader” yesterday who claimed to be a leader who “builds people up” everything yet she spent the whole call calling me everything but Jezebel in her rant where I could literally heard her shaking out of fear or hate because I’d pushed her buttons. I “tear people down” was her main complaint- yet, she thought by berating me, she was somehow better than me- when I did manage to get a word in edge wise- and asked her if she had spoken to one of my few friends in high places, someone who had accoplished amazing things in things in this community – things she could only hope to aspire to a fraction of his success, she continued to suggest that I’m a leper and that he’d thrown me under the bus as well. All this, because she can’t find 15 minutes to hear a presentation on how to properly turn her ship around. You know the bumper sticker philosopher’s old standard “Minds are like parachutes, they work better when open.” Well, not hers. I’ll refer back to this post in a few years when she finds herself in the same position as the last 3 people who’ve failed at her job, and I reach out to yet another one of the people drinking the Daytonopia Kool-aide that’s been chosen to be the next sacrificial lamb.

epilogue: If you like the idea of reconstructing Dayton into a more manageable, more efficient, well run community, leading the way to a true better tomorrow, please head over to www.reconstructingdayton.org and contemplate a donation or subscription to updates.

New word: Daytonopia– the rose colored view of Dayton as a functioning democracy, where taxpayers fund the continuation of the “Monarchy of Montgomery County” that believes that local tax dollars should support WPAFB, the two Hospital networks, CareSource and Sinclair Community College at all costs, putting them first, instead of worrying about basic functions of government in service of the people.

 

 

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