We have met the enemy and he is us

It goes without saying that almost every single marketing communications crisis rule no longer applies in our Post-Trump/Fake News era.

CCOs and CMOS everywhere are scrambling to figure out if, and when, to respond to an angry @POTUS Tweet, a barrage of fake news damaging the brand, the cascade of sexual harassment suits that not only destroy the careers of Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose and countless others, but have a HUGE negative impact on the organizations for whom they work (and on and on and on).

As it turns out, we have no one to blame for the 24×7 tumult but ourselves. To put it bluntly: We’re a nation of dullards.

Timothy Egan penned an amazing opinion piece in The New York Times that said, among other things:

  • Nearly one in three Americans cannot name a SINGLE branch of government
  • 97 percent of immigrants who take the U.S. citizenship test pass it. But, one in three American citizens FAIL the test.

And, make no mistake, the dullards are not attempting to join MENSA. Instead, they’re unable to answer such rudimentary questions as:

  • What major event happened on 9/11?
  • What ocean is on the West Coast of the United States?

Even worse, by a 48 to 38 percentage, Americans think states’ rights and not slavery caused the Civil War. Holy utter ignorance, Batman!

In his essay, Egan places the blame squarely on our public school system which, as most would agree, is in shambles. I agree, but I’d also blame the lackadaisical adults who have raised so many citizens who know so little about their country.

This is beyond scary because it not only fans the flames of the uniformed believing fake news, it augers very, very poorly for the future global competitiveness of our nation.

Egan’s optimistic since a dozen states now require high school students to pass the immigrant citizenship test. But, hey, that still leaves 38 others that are graduating students who have not read and don’t understand our Constitution, Declaration of Independence and basic historical facts about the past.

I wish I had an answer, but I think the long-ago cartoon character Pogo said it best when he opined, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

2 thoughts on “We have met the enemy and he is us

  1. Steve: Indeed, this is a crazy time for many organizations, brands, and individuals, especially those which have spent years and years building their reputation, only to see it completely torn to shreds in just days or even a few hours (for whatever justifiable or unjustifiable reasons)! The lack of basic knowledge about civics/government is truly shocking, especially among “educated” citizens and college students. In this Internet/information overload/ADHD culture we live in, I don’t know how you solve either of these problems. Finally, I didn’t know we were in POST-Trump/Fake News era, I thought we were in the middle of it?? -CPO Kasko

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