If you feel that Congress has gotten dumber in recent memory, you might be inclined to think it’s just present dissatisfaction at the direction of the country, blatant obstructionism, or failure of our legislators to make any progress at all, it seems- but a new study by the Sunshine Foundation suggests otherwise.
It’s almost a bit gratifying to read that measured techniques to quantify stupidity have discovered that Congress is literally getting dumber, because otherwise you kind of get the feeling they’re kind of just gaslighting America. Then again, this is the same America that voted in the current batch of yahoos- or, the dudes that held the country hostage for a month last summer and paved the way for a reduction of our debt rating because they feel like they need America to feel hurty in order to save it.
The issue of a stupid Congress (that may or may not be influenced by an infusion of candidates from a certain “grassroots” party named after a certain hot beverage that tend to know little to nothing about the workings of government) is not new, brilliantly satirized in the Onion article “Emergency Team Of 8th-Grade Civics Teachers Dispatched To Washington.” But the study puts the actual dumbness of Congress into perspective with some cold, hard numbers, explaining on the Sunshine Foundation’s website:
“Today’s Congress speaks at about a 10.6 grade level, down from 11.5 in 2005. By comparison, the U.S. Constitution is written at a 17.8 grade level, the Federalist Papers at a 17.1 grade level, and the Declaration of Independence at a 15.1 grade level. The Gettysburg Address comes in at an 11.2 grade level and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is at a 9.4 grade level. Most major newspapers are written at between an 11th and 14th grade level.”
According to the study, Republicans have made the sharpest gains in stupidity, entering a marked decline compared to Democrats in 2005. To which again, we say, *cough cough* Tea Party *cough*.