Louie Gohmert and the cult of ignorance

U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert has blamed wearing a mask for his having contracted COVID-19.

I have written a bit about my family history before. But recent events regarding our state lead me back to draw some valuable comparisons.

Let’s get to the crux of the matter first. Ignorance is apparently seen as a badge of honor in some parts of Texas, and it’s time we stopped honoring it.

Our “special child,” U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, is the poster boy for stupid. He has been rabidly anti-mask since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and it looks like that willful ignorance has resulted in him becoming infected with the virus. Is anyone but Louie surprised?

To further his place in the Stupid Hall of Fame, Louie now posits that he might have even caught it from wearing a mask.

Let that sink in for a few minutes.

And it seems a big swath of East Texas sees fit to re-elect Louie Gohmert term after term.

Meanwhile, our fearless leader in the White House is promoting another Texas natural resource, Dr. Stella Immanuel, who is licensed to practice medicine in Houston. Dr. Immanuel’s “theory,” which is being widely retweeted by the man in the White House, is that hydroxychloroquine is a cure for COVID-19, and masks and social distancing are unnecessary.

That canard was debunked by the World Health Organization and the CDC weeks ago, and yet, here it is again.

And to add to the ignorance, it seems Dr. Immanuel has spoken out about endometriosis being caused by “intercourse with demons” and has claimed that modern medicine is being made with alien DNA. And yet she is licensed to practice medicine in Texas!

What is it about Texans and this seeming cult of ignorance?

Ask folks in East Texas, and I suspect their answer would be something along the lines of, “We are just simple folk trying to make a living here, and we don’t need any high falutin’ experts tellin’ us how to live!”

That translates to, “We are intellectually incurious and ignorant of facts and proud of it.”

Now, how does this relate to my family?

Well, my grandfather was originally from the hills of Tennessee. He was a certified hillbilly, and he made his living as a blacksmith, eventually moving to Dallas and running a blacksmith shop on Main Street downtown a long time ago.

I knew him as a child, and he was a character for sure. He was functionally illiterate — couldn’t read a word, and he signed his name with an “X.”

That said, he was always curious and eager to learn. He had an uncanny ability to learn math, and he ended up marrying a woman who tutored students in calculus. He was a bit ashamed of his lack of schooling and always held the highest respect for my father, who was a PhD.My grandfather was about as simple as a man could be, yet he followed politics and was a Yellow Dog Democrat all his life. He disliked those who sought to put one over on the ignorant blacksmith and often used his apparent lack of intelligence to turn the tables on more than one customer trying to cheat him.

What I learned from him was that not having school learning was no shame, as long as you continued to learn through your lifetime. To him, knowledge was a goal not a curse. He even moved from his old prejudices against people of color to being a fan of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. in the last years of his life.

I would only hope that some of that would rub off on the people who keep sending Louie Gohmert back to Washington and on the State Board of Medical Examiners, so I could once again proudly tell folks I am a lifelong Texan and have them take me seriously.
God bless Texas, and as for Louie — well, bless his heart!