Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

Celebrating Expertise

When my Australian pen pal told me her grandfather in Poland was executed during WWII because he refused to let the Nazis dictate what he could or could not teach in his history class, I was appalled. And when I read that scholars and professors are the first to be murdered as a dictator seizes power, I was dumfounded. I couldn’t imagine a government or country that would want to eliminate learned people. Where did they imagine fresh ideas and innovations originated? Weren’t they glad to have advanced medicine or technology or thought-provoking entertainment? Are those in this country who still openly despise “libtards,” election workers, and scientists ready to walk blithely away from newly created effective vaccines for COVID-19 as those vaccines are offered to the masses in a socialistic act? Will they?

Anyone who spent time in school succeeding where others struggled—regardless of how briefly—knows what it’s like to be the target of resentment. “It’s so easy for you!” snarled a classmate when I aced an exam he failed. He refused to listen when I tried to explain how much time I had spent studying. He was happier to think he had somehow been cheated and it was my fault. I thought of the students who truly are gifted and silently sent them sympathy. I’m certain they didn’t simply breathe in knowledge, either. They focus on their goals and use their resources wisely. Their achievements look easy only from the outside.

The fact that a majority of the American population has recently rejected the spiteful lies of the Far Right isn’t entirely comforting. Hitler was rejected in his early bids for power, too. Yogi Berra’s observation that “It ain’t over till it’s over” feels ominous. The question I have is why? Why isn’t it over? Why do members of the Far Right still cling to outlandish myths perpetuated by people who aren’t even clever at constructing believable conspiracy theories? How can they ignore unbiased information—when the lives of those they love are in jeopardy? Why do intelligent people stay in cults? 

Personally, I’m thrilled that people exist who understand complicated science so well that they could invent a Corona vaccine this quickly. I’m happy that people who know far more than I design my phone, my computer, and my car—among other conveniences. I don’t mind a bit that they can talk about details I can’t comprehend. I remember when I tried to read my sister-in-law’s PhD dissertation and didn’t manage to understand anything beyond the grammar. (She was studying analytical chemistry.) My puffed-up sense of self that insisted I was educated enough to understand the basics of ANYTHING deflated in a hurry. No, I can’t understand EVERYTHING. I need to listen to experts who specialize using their talents as guides.

And so, today, I celebrate experts—in medicine, in technology, in political science, in honest journalism, in whatever we need in order to handle these complicated times—regardless of race, religion, culture, or gender. We’re given the people and tools we need if only we recognize them. I have no desire to return to times of subjugation, ignorance, or hopeless plague. I celebrate hope and the people who can deliver it. I’m not afraid of new ways of doing things—especially if their basis is compassion. I want the Dark Ages to truly be over.

2 comments on “Celebrating Expertise

  1. Sallie Harris
    December 4, 2020

    Glad to know that someone tried to read that dissertation. 😘. As I get older, I get wiser and know how much I don’t know.



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