Saturday, December 5, 2009

Lunatic Mainstream (Updated/corrected)

I haven't written about the birthers here. I haven't talked about the teabaggers (either sort, but it's the quasi-political ones I'm speaking of ignoring) or the truthers. I don't really have anything much to say, ordinarily, about people obsessed with wild allegations, driven to them out of fear (which is basically the case with those folks).

They're like the people who wear tin foil hats to keep out the mind-control rays from the aliens (or the government). You shake your head, and move on. It's like the serious members of the Flat Earth Society and the people who've experienced alien abduction first hand, except there are more of them and they're armed. Still, there's really nothing much to say about them unless you really like making fun of the lame and the halt.

The refusal to be educated is telling. Turley posted about this billboard put up by a Colorado car dealer.

He was particularly struck by the thoughts of "passing motorist Keith Walters" who said
I can’t honestly say he’s a Jihadist, but there’s a lot of things that are questionable. The whole birth certificate controversy. From what I’ve read, there’s no proof Obama isn’t a Muslim. And I don’t believe there’s any racism [in the billboard]. I think that should be a question asked to any president who — they have some questionable backgrounds.
What Turley loved was the "there's no proof" part. He writes,
The sign is legitimate because “there’s no proof Obama isn’t a Muslim.” There’s no proof that he is not the Anti-Christ or the Second Coming either
Well, yeah. But don't give them any ideas on that Anti-Christ thing. After all, 21 % of the electorate in New Jersey already either believe he's the Anti-Christ or aren't sure. But I digress. Sort of.

Because the part of what Mr. Walters said that got to me was "from what I've read." See, Walters isn't some illierate bozo who just believes any crackpot thing someone tells him. He's a literate guy who actually goes and checks things out, reading Glenn Beck's book, maybe*, and the hysterical rantings of Lou Dobbs. If you get all your information from the troglodytes, you're not going to learn that they're troglogdytes.

The real question, though, is what happens when you're told. Do you listen? Can you hear another voice and take seriously what you're told? Can a birther be persuaded by evidence? The scary thought is "Maybe not." And what then? Either we rant in response or we make fun of the (mentally) lame and halt or we throw up our hands in despair and say nothing because there's nothing much to say.

Which is why I haven't taken them on.

But now . . . .

I can kind of shake my head at them, laugh once in a while at their smug ignorance, but mostly just ignore the usual run of these folks. Even Limbaugh and O'Reilley and Sarah Palin. Half of it is schtick and they know it. They believe what they say because every good snake oil salesman believes in the snake oil while selling it. But they're also cartoons (influential, but cartoons).

What's frightening, what set me off on this tirade, is the mayor of Arlington, Tennessee, one Russell Wiseman. He set himself up on Facebook and, in what is apparently the first thing he put on his page, demonstrated that he's not just crazy, he's stupid, too.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal explained.
In the opinion of Arlington Mayor Russell Wiseman, President Barack Obama's speech on Tuesday night on the war in Afghanistan was deliberately timed to block the Christian message of the "Peanuts" television Christmas special.
Got that? Islamist counter-programming. Don't believe the Commercial Appeal's paraphrase? Here's what they say Wiseman actually wrote. (I can't vouch for it. I'm not on Facebook and, in any event, he's taken the Facebook page down.)
Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch 'The Charlie Brown Christmas Special' and our muslim president is there, what a load.....try to convince me that wasn't done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation (sic) about it....w...hen the answer should simply be 'yes'....
There's more, of course. Wiseman understands that it's already too late.
In Wiseman's extensive thread that attacked the president, his supporters and Muslims, he stated " obama people need to move to a muslim country...oh wait, that's America....pitiful."
And there's still more. There always is when you've gone this far off the deep end.
you know, our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that ONLY property owners could vote, if that has stayed in there, things would be different........
So: Obama conspired (perhaps only with himself, but maybe with his good buddy bin Laden) to advance the Islamist cause by ensuring that this year people will only be able to watch twenty-six rather than twenty-seven times the miracle of the tree and Linus' reading from the Gospel. My god it's dastardly.

The thing is, I'm not horrified. I'm not even appalled any more. But the man actually holds elective office.

Perhaps I'm the one who's out of step.


Thanks, I think, to Sara at Preaching to the Choir for pointing me to this story.



Joel Rosenberg wisely (which is pretty much a given) points out that I've maligned Glenn Beck. He is neither a birther or a near-birther. He's actually driving the birthers nuts because he won't sign on with them (See here, for instance.) Since this is a mea culpa, I'll refrain from the actual joke.


  1. To be fair, if the guy has read and believed Beck on the birth certificate issue, he'd be of the opinion that a: Obama was born in the US, and b: the birther nonsense is, well, nonsense. There's far too many people on the right who are tolerant of the birtherism conspiracy theory, but Beck isn't one of them.

  2. Fair enough.

    It's what I get for tossing out the off-the-top-of-my-head-slur instead of actually making sure I'm targeting the right, er, correct folks.

  3. And I've added a correction/update.