It's time to pause for a minute and think about how we define "smart" in this country. Or, more importantly, why we allow people to claim some sort of superior intelligence without evaluating the outcomes of their cerebral aptitude—applied. I mean, doesn't it stand to reason that smart people should produce smart results? Yet, no matter how many times we see the world's so-called "best and brightest" do the stupidest things, our societal structures of education, breeding and achievement trump reality and somehow preserve the notion that they still belong at the top of the intelligence stratosphere. Now, I'm not suggesting that smart people aren't entitled to a slip-up here and there, but when they manage to create ruin in everything they touch, one has to ask, "How smart can they be?"

No surprise, John Corzine immediately comes to mind as do all the other CEO's and politicians who tout their educations, titles and pedigree, only to find themselves at the center of an unfathomable and unfortunate mess. Was it reasonable to assume Corzine was a smart guy, what with him having been the head of Goldman Sachs and NJ Governor and all? Sure, even though in truth his departure from Goldman has some major questions attached. But now? Are we still impressed?

We've been through the debauchery of governments and businesses alike more times than I care to think about. And, I know I am not alone in feeling that things are getting worse. Sadly, I think it has to get worse before it gets better, which is something I don't think will happen in this lifetime. Everyone expects one person to fix in one or two years what it has taken many, many years to break. Logically speaking, it is not possible. It will require as much time and as many people to repair the damage as it took to create it. The problem is that the right people are not in the right jobs to accomplish such a daunting task. Rather we are dealing with people who are enjoying playing games more than they are interested in changing the situation. Brains or no brains, it is going to require more. 

For some reason, and I don't know why, we fail to appreciate that emotional retardation is as much an impediment to being functional as is a bona fide cognitive impairment. So, they can cling to their intellect all they want, but until we all realize that heartlessness is as bad as mindlessness, we are going nowhere. I'm not talking about the slogans and rhetoric used to create the appearance that we are a heartfelt country, or work for companies that say they "care." I am talking about the actual presence of concern for others in the people who have the power to impact change—change for the better that is, not worse—because what these guys and gals fail to understand is that hate begets hate, war begets war and greed begets greed. It really is not all that complicated.

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About the Author

Donna Flagg

Donna Flagg is the author of Surviving Dreaded Conversations and a New York City-based dancer.

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