There's a great debate, or so it seems, between the "just folks" people and the "swallowed a dictionary" people. If you've missed it, I would like to request that you let me know whether there are any houses for sale on your street, because it's really annoying me and I'd be happy to escape.
Not that I think this debate is anything new; I was already being mocked for being "book smart" (by adults in my own family, mind you) before I was out of middle school. Which is funny, really, because there's no other kind of smart to be in Greenfield, Indiana; suburbia does not offer a lot of opportunity for gaining street smarts. Especially not tiny-town suburbia.
But, I digress. Again. With the politicians jumping in on either side, as they do, the debate has been nationalized and thrust into the spotlight. On the one side, we have those who wish to relate well to their constituents who had fewer opportunities for education and are sick of all our national leaders coming out of just a handful of colleges; on the other side, the ones who act like everyone else should pull out a dictionary just to understand their campaign speeches. (Yes, those are totalizing claims. No, I don't know for sure what they are thinking. Yes, I'm making assertions based on how they act.) As with pretty much everything else in life, there is right and wrong on both sides.
It annoys me that they all score points with their followers by jabbing the other side. ("You're elitist." "Yeah? You're dumb!") And it annoys me even more that the followers fall for it. Every time! Like we don't have, you know, actual problems to be solved, and the best we can do with our public debate is call each other names? Small wonder we can never get anything done.
But it's troubling to me on a deeper level. Is there really no way to bring together the educated and the not-so? In my own experience, I've had limited success. Of course, I still consider myself to be in the middle of the two sides; my instructors use words on a daily basis that I have to look up, but I also have to bring my vocabulary down a few grade levels to talk to my parents. (I don't think I really do; I'm pretty sure they are capable of using long words, too, but they act like they can't understand me. So I play along.) Which is why I say I've met with limited success. It's almost like speaking two different languages, and neither of them fluently.
There has to be a better way. How do we stop the madness?