Column: I think we’ve found the lowest common denominator

Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Email him with comments or story ideas at

Russ Kent - Galion Inquirer

It’s sad, but anymore, I expect to be lied to and disrespected.

When it doesn’t happen, it’s an pleasant, unexpected surprise.

I like to golf. I’m not good at it, but I enjoy it. But I have a method. Long ago, I decided to expect to score a triple bogey — or worse — on every hole I play. If I score better than a triple, it’s a win for yours truly.

And that makes me happy.

In recent months I’ve adapted that strategy to everyday lie.

I expect a bit of hatred and rudeness and a general lack of respect in my daily interactions with people. I also expect it on social media, specifically Facebook. If I tune in to Twitter — which I rarely do anymore — hatred, rudeness, a lack of class and lots of stupidty — dominate the tone of almost every interaction..

It didn’t use to be that way.

In fact, I didn’t use to be this way.

I used to take it for granted that most people I talked to or texted with or received email from or dealt with personally would come at me with some semblence of truth, some basic respect and and with my — or “our” — best interest in mind.

That’s no longer the case.


It’s easier, and less disappointing to expect the worst.

Which means I am rarely disappointed.

My low expectations about liars and scammers and hate-mongers on social media and in person are usually exceeded.

I keep thinking we can go no lower.

And I’m always wrong.

National news and social media are filled with celebrities, mogols, politicians and media types who rarely fail to disappoint.

Zuckerberg, Clinton, the other Clinton, Obama, Trump, McCain, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, CNN, Fox News, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, N.Y. Times, USA Today … they’re all the same.

They all skirt the truth, or tell only the part of a story that supports their viewpoint.

Or they lie.

They all support an agenda … their own.

Among the major mainstream media, truth has taken a backseat to self-serving propaganda.

Why should we expect billionaire business owners and politicians to be any different from us normal poor folks.

Unfortunately, it’s those wealthy celebrities, politicians and moguls that Americans hold up as good examples.

It’s sad. Most of those with the ability in fluence Americans have an agenda, and ultimately they all are looking out for No. 1.

And you know who is not No. 1?

I’m not No. 1. And neither are you.

In math — a few decades ago — l learned how to deal with fractions.

When adding or subtracting fractions, you couldn’t finish your equation without first finding the lowest common denominator. That means the denominator — the bottom number in a fraction — had to be the same for all fractions in order to successfully add or subtract.

I wasn’t a big fan of fractions then, and I’m still not.

Aside from baseball (Galion’s Cameron Payne pitched 5 ⅔ inning), track and field (Galion’s Marissa Gwinner high-jumped 5-feet, 8¾ inches) and cooking (I accidently added 5½ cups of salt instead of 5½ cups sugar to my strawberry jam recipe), I have little use for fractions.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t use the phrase “lowest common denominator.”

I use it more now than I did in the fifth grade.

Just look around, there is a lot of competition in America to be the lowest of the low, the rudest of the rude, the crassest of the crast, the lyingest of those who tell lies for a living.

On social media — and in person-to-person social interaction — Americans no longer strive to be the best.

We no longer want to be better than the other guy.

When’s the last time you heard anyone tell anyone “to be the bigger (better) man.”

Instead we now strive to see how low we can go.

We lie, we cheat, we steal, we disparage, we make up and share fake news.

The truth? The truth is boring.

On some days, I think American has reached its lowest common denominator.

But I’m always wrong.

Every day we get better at demonstrating our lack of respect for others. We find new things to blame others for. We find new and more crass ways to insult others for no reason other than so some other person knows we are being insulting.

Our politicians skirt the truth.

The national media skirts the truth.

Late-night talk show hosts can’t do a show without denegrating someone.

And we love it.

Americans not only accept this kind of behavior, we encourage it. We applaud it.

We actually crave it!

American should quit building new homes and apartment.

We should all just live in the gutter.

The gutter is where we are most at home.
Russ Kent is editor of the Galion Inquirer. Email him with comments or story ideas at

Russ Kent

Galion Inquirer