Monday, August 10, 2009

I Have Met the Lunatic Fringe. I'm Related to Some of Them

It's a cloudy afternoon and hot and muggy, just right for early August. Out on the lake front there are scads of sweaty people. The Thunderbirds have been buzzing the lake front for much of the day, and reminding us that the annual Air and Water Show is upon us. It's 82 degrees and very humid, what we refer to as the "Dog Days."

The health care debate has dominated the news recently, and not surprisingly, I have this on my mind. Last week, while reading about it I read in the New York Times that (sorry I can't remember who to attribute this to.) while the Republican Party once embraced the lunatic fringe, now they are the lunatic fringe. This begs the question, "Just who is the lunatic fringe."

I honestly suppose that this just depends on your point of view, but as I have noted before, I have my point of view up here on the 14th floor and I'm firmly convinced that it has more credence than those other guys' points of view. You just have to take sides. So back to the point. Who is the lunatic fringe?

Well, all over the news is a group being referred to as "birthers," those who despite all rational evidence continue to insist that Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. and is, therefore, not eligible to be the President of the U.S. Then there are the "teabaggers," so called because they are anti-tax and claim some direct line to the Boston Tea Party. These have been shown to be Republican operatives and Republican-inspired operatives who use every opportunity to deny free speech to those who disagree with them while claiming that there own outbursts are a validation of free speech.

Then there are those (approximately 6 of ten Republicans, according to one recent poll.) who believe in Creationism and firmly deny the reality of evolution. There are those who absolutely refuse to believe in global warming. Just my opinion, mind you, but I believe most of these to fall squarely into the category of corporate related rich dudes trying to protect their profits.

But who are all these people? If you are like me, you travel in a circle of friends who are anything but the above. It's very easy to begin believing that most of the world is just like you. Believe me people, the truth is anything but that.

I have seen the lunatic fringe. They are right there on Facebook. A great many of them are people you have chosen to friend. They are relatives, spewing racist sentiments, praying for everybody in sight, professing to the world that God and Creationism are real and that Barack Obama is an evil man who wants to bring socialism to America and take away your doctor.

I have seen the lunatic fringe. They are people you went to high school with, who want to catch up with old friends and then feel it necessary to tell the world, (on my FB page) that AK-47s don't kill people. Terrorists kill people. They are friends of friends who verbally attack you on Facebook for stating what you believe in and call you stupid and then say, "God bless you."

Who are the lunatic fringe? They are all around you. It just took Facebook to take down the barriers that kept them from openly avowing their lunacies. Now they're in your face, on Facebook. Sadly, I enjoyed interacting with people I hadn't seen or heard from in a long while, if only for a short while. Now I realize, I chose the friends I did because they were of a like mind. I abandoned the others a long time ago because their views and my own simply did not mesh.

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