Simpletons. We have met the simpletons, and we are them! My apologies to Walt Kelly and the Pogo comic strip for appropriating and bastardizing their famous quip. But it is the truth, and since the term simpleton can have negative connotations, allow me to say that I am a simpleton compared to Neil deGrasse Tyson. As used here, we are all simpletons in one form or another because we are uninformed in certain areas.

Another way to look at this discussion is in terms of bandwidth as applied to Internet Technology. In IT, bandwidth refers to the transmission capacity of a computer network or other telecommunication systems. In human terms, it describes the energy or mental ability to deal with a situation or complex information set. So, we can all be simpletons in a particular situation.

The ultimate simpleton is a newborn baby. They come into the world informed only by whatever stimuli they experience in the womb. They have no memories, speech, or frame of reference for anything they will encounter as they start down their life path. Over time, they will learn words and how to string words into phrases and sentences. They will learn to love, get angry, what it feels like to be warm and cold, and many other physical, intellectual, and emotional things. They will get an education in the many skills needed in society. Their development will depend partly on how much they are exposed to and how open they are to learning new things. Part of their learning will depend on genetics and their ability to comprehend the complexities of life, augmented by opportunities to develop their comprehension provided by their adult supervision.

Some people look at the night sky and see the moon and a bunch of stars, and that's enough for them. Others, like Tyson, see an entire universe, a multitude of galaxies, and maybe even the light from a star (it's a sun) bent in a way that suggests a dark hole at play. When it comes to the cosmos, Tyson has excellent bandwidth, more than most of us. Some of us will comprehend complex explanations quickly, while others will struggle with concepts like a novice swimmer in the water.

Simpletons, like everything in the universe from what I can tell, are on a bell curve, ranging from the simplest of simpletons to those who are simpletons in only specific situations. We can be simpletons because we've never been exposed to the learning curve that could inform us about what we see or hear. As I proceeded through my career in aerospace and manufacturing, I went from company to company and was constantly confronted with new processes and information I had never encountered before. I was back at step one learning new things.

A quick anecdote from my years at Boeing. I worked with a guy, Terry. A new manager I didn't know was coming into our organization, and when I asked about him, Terry said the guy learned everything he knew in his first year and has been repeating that for over twenty years. We can be simpletons because we don't care or we've had the opportunity to learn but have refused that knowledge. Those who reject the knowledge are the ones that trouble me the most.

I suppose simpletons have to exist, or we wouldn't be the diverse species we are. If we all had the bandwidth of Tyson, or perhaps some of our greatest thinkers and inventors, such as Steve Jobs, we wouldn't have anyone willing to do some of the grunt work needed to have a balanced society. We would all be sitting around theorizing and visualizing, and no one would be there to make our espresso or build computers. Some people aspire to greatness, and some want only to do a job for pay and go home. We need both of them for our society to thrive.

So, let me get to the heart of what I want to say. The MAGA crowd is a perfect example of people who have either not availed themselves of information about global warming and the benefits of vaccines against diseases or refuse to be informed about these and many other topics. And that's where I get concerned. Their constituency consistently ranges between twenty and thirty percent of the GOP base, suggesting that they are among the chronically simple people who choose to remain so.

In our society, after they have gone to a rally for the ex-president in our midst, they will go back to work the next day and play a role in keeping our society functioning as it should, and that's a good thing. We need people of every stripe to play their part in our democracy. The barista and the person who services our car don't necessarily require massive bandwidth to carry out their societal role.

But when it comes to voting, we each need to expand our bandwidth enough to comprehend the problems we face as a nation and the impact of electing other people with limited bandwidth, regardless of why they harbor narrow views of society. We need politicians with incredible bandwidth to lead our nation into an increasingly complex future. Our democracy was designed to be as free and open as possible while retaining consistency, fairness, and manageability. That requires elected representatives who are honest, fair, and consistently democratic.