Foolishness is nothing new in America. This is the country of P.T. Barnum, medicine shows and pet rocks, after all. But our current concentration of imbeciles has surpassed any kind of safe level. How we became a nation of so many dupes and fools is a matter at least as complicated as the causes of Trump’s presidency. What stands out, and as the sad state of Washington’s schools suggests, is that we are suffering the consequences from generations of Americans who are both undereducated and miseducated. This many millions of nincompoops didn’t show up overnight. They have been stumbling out of our nation’s failing schools for decades.

If we are sincere about wanting to stop the next attack on the Capitol, then there could be no more urgent work than rescuing our students from the schools that fail them. It has not been so long since education was a top priority for both parties, but it can hardly compete with other issues that can more effectively be used as wedges and for which simplistic solutions can more easily be offered.

Humanitarian concern for students being dumped into and out of facilities that look like medium-security correctional institutions and act like daycares might not be enough to renew interest in the issue of education. But perhaps the consequences of plopping generations of wet clay into the hands of kooks, charlatans and demagogues will do the trick.