Is it just my imagination, or has the level of political discourse in this country plummeted precipitously in just the past few years? Maybe it was 8 years of Bush, Cheney et al. smearing anyone who disagreed with them as “weak on fighting terrorism” or “cut-and-runners” or traitors or whatever other smear they could think up that day. Or, maybe it was the rise of 24/7 infotainment, the demise of hard “news” into fluffy “human interest” or “news you can use” idiocy, and the descent of our media into non-stop triviality (the latest from Charlie Sheen, next on Good Morning America!) and paranoid conspiracy freaks ranting to audiences who either agree with them or find it all “entertaining.” Yeah, some days I really think we’re screwed as a civilization.
Today is one of those days. To support my pessimistic view, here are three items for your consideration.
1. The craziest, stupidest, most bizarre comment of the past day or two has to come from past and possibly future Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who apparently believes that Barack Obama grew up in Kenya, and that “his perspective as growing up in Kenya with a Kenyan father and grandfather, their view of the Mau Mau Revolution in Kenya is very different than ours because he probably grew up hearing that the British were a bunch of imperialists who persecuted his grandfather.” Yes, it’s completely untrue. Yes, it’s completely bonkers. And yes, this lunatic really IS a past and possibly future Republican Party presidential candidate. You can’t make this s*** up.
2. Then there’s this beauty by raving anti-Semitic conspiracy loon Glenn Beck, who apparently now believes that people who think climate change is a problem (like, 99% of scientists) and want to do something about it are communists. Next up: people who believe in gravity, the Theory of Relativity, and evolutionary science are fascists, Maoists, and anarchists, respectively. Oh, and George Soros and the Jews are behind it all, I’m sure, maybe also the Queen of England, people who oppose returning to the gold standard, Muslims, liberals, and of course, obscure elderly college professors. Got that?
3. Another good example of the sheer stupidity and Charlie Sheen-level looniness we’re experiencing in this country right now was pointed out to me by Democratic political operative Mo Elleithee. This letter to the editor claims that “Mo Elleithee and the progressives…do not love that freedom” – the freedom “the likes of Jefferson, Washington, Madison, Franklin and untold tens of thousands of men and women” fought for. True, all the Democrats and progressives I know – especially Mo Elleithee, he’s crazy like that! – have always preferred slavery and oppression, misery and suffering. But what else can you expect us to believe, that is when we’re not busy “laboring to create a European-style socialism in which the People would cease to be the master of their government but would be little better than slaves to it.” Good point, you must admit – that is, if you’re one of those people who goes around with tinfoil on their heads to deflect any stray radio waves that might be controlling your mind.
Anyway, those are just 3 relatively minor, trivial examples of where we’re at in this country these days. And that’s not even counting the Big Lies, perpetuated Teapublicans, such as “cutting spending will create jobs,” “focusing only on the tiny sliver of the federal budget known as ‘non-defense discretionary’ will solve all our budget problems,” “cutting taxes for rich people and lavishing subsidies on wealthy corporations is always the answer to everything,” “pollution is good, the environment is bad,” etc. By comparison, it almost makes Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, and the op-ed writer who thinks Mo Elleithee hates freedom, seem sane.