Ignorance equals gullibility. The less you know the easier you are misled. If this first decade of the 21st century has demonstrated anything, it's that our cousins to the south are, to an alarming degree, ignorant and gullible and easily misled.
In the United States, public support for universal healthcare is plummeting. The pathetic performance of the Democrats and the unspeakably vile lies spread by the Republicans and their private sector co-conspirators has unnerved the American people. Talk of "death panels" and such has caused real fear and suspicion to take hold.
I think most Americans know their country spends more per capita on healthcare than any other and yet, on a performance basis, American healthcare ranks 37th in the world. Talk about American exceptionalism! You have to be exceptional to spend so much more than everyone else to enjoy so much less for it.
But if they know they're spending so much more for so much less, why aren't they marching through the streets with torches and pitchforks? Why? Because they're afraid. The "land of the free and the home of the brave" has been transformed into the land of the corralled and home of the easily intimidated.
Ever since 9/11, the American right has been using fear as a cudgel to shape American public opinion. Remember when then Homeland Security czar Tom Ridge sent them panicking into the streets to snap up every last scrap of duct tape and plastic sheeting which many wasted no time in slapping up all over their doors and windows? Those are people who are way too easily frightened for their own good.
This is a nation of people who have lost their ability to discern reality. It is a nation of people who truly believed their homes were ATM machines that would allow them bountiful luxuries now and boundless comfort in their old age. Americans are a people who, despite the stream of disclaimers from Hans Blix and his weapons instructors, believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and the means to attack America with them. They are a nation of people who firmly believe in creationism and think the theory of evolution is a scientific fraud. They've come to equate science with fraud so much that a great many of them believe global warming to be a hoax perpetrated by scientists in order to secure lavish government grants.
The strength of America, like the strength of any nation, is in its people and right now that is the country's greatest danger. America is in decline. It's not the Chinese or the Europeans or anyone else who is undoing the United States, it's the American people. They believe they're the same people as the Americans of sixty years ago. They're not. And that's just sad.