In a special op-ed to CNN, Frida Ghitis wrote an article entitled, “Are men stupid?” If you toss out all the intelligent men in the world, even those of mediocre intelligence, the ‘yes’ answer is pretty much a slam dunk.
Mr. Ghitis chose to focus on the life and travails of former North Carolina Senator John Edwards. Even though Mr. Edwards still looks young (is that because only his hair dresser knows?), he was not born yesterday. In 2006, he enter into an illicit affair with “cinematographer” Rielle Hunter. It’s not as if he had not heard of Bill Clinton or hundreds or other men who strayed off the reservation and were unfaithful to their spouses. This knowledge included the awareness that in all likelihood they would that they would be caught literally or figuratively with their pants down.
Ms. Ghitis has a list that includes such men of outstanding discretion as former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, former Congressman Anthony Wiener, and former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer (ooh, it hurts to say this one because Spitzer knows a thing or two about redemption.
But as we all know, it’s not that men have an exclusive corner on lack of wisdom. One of the most famous answers to any question was “All of them.” This was Sarah Palin’s response to Katie Couric question about what newspapers and magazines the then governor of Alaska reads. Ms. Palin’s pearl came only after she couldn’t think of a single publication that she reads.
Even though President Barack Obama currently enjoys a double-digit lead among women versus George Romney, it does not necessarily prove that women are smarter than men. That number has diminished considerably over the past month and theoretically could disappear. African-Americans are much more attuned to the struggles of the poor and minorities in the U.S. and around the world, but there is a burgeoning number of Herman Cains who if they existed twenty years ago, would not have spoken in public.
In the fifteen elections since 1952, Americans have voted five times for Richard Nixon as either president or vice-president. Additionally they have voted for either George H.W. Bush or George W. Bush seven times as president or vice-president. In only four elections since 1952 (1964, 1976, 1996, and 2008) has the ballot not included a Nixon or a Bush. The 67% “presence rate” of a Nixon or Bush since 1952 could not have been possible without the participation of women.
So while John Edwards may be today’s poster child for being “stupid” (a pejorative term with which I am not fully comfortable), it is important to remember that the genes of men and women share a 98.7% similarity.
Perhaps it would do us well to concern ourselves less with who is “stupid” and who is not. Instead we could focus on elevating the intelligence of all of us, regardless of our gender. As the great philosopher Forrest Gump said, “stupid is as stupid does.” Let’s try to “do smart.”
Since 1969, Arthur Lieber has been teaching and working in non-profit educational organizations. His focus has been on promoting critical, creative, and enjoyable learning for students in informal settings. In the 2010 mid-term elections, he was the Democratic nominee for US Congress from Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District.