To listen to leading voices on the right, you would think the apocalypse was imminent. We have a socialist, muslim, non-American President that wants to turn the country into an alternately fascist and communist state. Apparently the notion that those 2 ideologies are rather different is lost on them. For instance, Glenn Beck, the most fervent of the Chicken Littles, has taken Jimmy Fallon to task for not being correctly outraged that his show’s house band was disrespectful to (former) presidential candidate Michele Bachmann. Apparently the Republic was at stake.
To further see the Right’s paranoia regarding the President, take a look at comments made by Republicans in the House, Senate, and on the Presidential campaign trail. Speaker of the House John Boehner called Obama’s State of the Union address “pathetic” (the speech hadn’t been given yet). Dana Rohrabacher (R – CA) claimed on Bill Maher’s Real Time on HBO that Obama was trying to “gut the military” (factually incorrect). Then Newt Gingrich arrogantly called President Obama the “food stamp president“. I’m not sure what’s more offensive: the race baiting nature of that comment, or the fact that his statement blatantly ignores the dire financial straights a lot of Americans find themselves in right now. More people need food stamps.
Of course, this just shows the real fears and anger in the Republican base. Some conservatives genuinely feel that the sky is falling, and Obama is going to drive us off a cliff. Conservative writer David Frum was on NPR’s Morning Edition the other day, and he talked about a conservative talk show he had been on shortly before. The host of that show was convinced that we were on the precipice of an apocalypse that would bring this country to it’s destruction. Obama must be defeated!
None of these dire omens are legitimate. Obama is not the antichrist. The country is not going to be destroyed by him. The four horseman of the apocalypse are not on their way. Nevertheless, truth has never been a problem for those politicians that prey on the fears of the ignorant. They have run around for the last 3+ years creating a storyline about Obama, and the repetition of that storyline has caused a large portion of the Republican base to believe it.
I would rail on about how people need to parse through the rhetoric to find the truth, but seriously, why bother? For many, the more you give them facts, the further they retreat into their paranoia. My only hope is that free thinking individuals on both sides of the political spectrum do their homework this coming November. It would be a shame to see fear and paranoia win over truth and reality.