I’ve been away, meeting with an editor of mine. She is a very colorful character — and one of the best storytellers ever — and brilliant. She’s even a life coach of sorts for me, because she is the one who rushes in while I cower in the corner. But over the past couple of years, she has really gotten into listening to conservative hate radio. In fact, as I was having coffee with her yesterday morning, Rush Limbaugh was playing on the radio. She is aware that I am not a conservative. But as with most extreme conservatives, there are a number of things we agree about. But I’m not not going to discuss those here.
She related to me her concern — which I have seen floating around conservative media — that Obama wants to start a race war. And she presented him as this major Machiavellian character, determined to destroy the United States. Now this is clearly nonsense. The one thing I’ve never understood about this theory is why the most powerful man in the world would want to destroy it. If these people were saying that Obama would change the Constitution and become president forever, that would make a bit of sense. And indeed, I do hear that mixed in with the conservative ranting: the very same people will claim that Obama wants to destroy America and to become its dictator.
It isn’t surprising that none of it makes sense. It isn’t about reason. In my editor’s case, as I said, we are talking about a prodigious intellect — one of the most remarkable people that I’ve ever known. But none of us is perfect. And conservative broadcasting has hocked into something inside her. Part of it is a fairly common paranoia that comes from area and time. I’ve known a lot of people from the late 1960s Berkeley scene who mix a kind of liberalism — Can’t we all just get along? — with a profound distrust for authority.
But in her case, she’s done a lot of work with police and generally has a high opinion of them. In fact, when I sent my first book to her to consider for publication, her main complaint was that I had been so nasty (and inaccurate, she incorrectly claimed) in my depictions of the police. But in our conversation about race wars and Obama declaring martial law, she claimed that she was for small government — just things like police, fire, military. And this is the kind of nonsense that really blows my mind. This is the same old, “The government shouldn’t waste money on public libraries, but it should hire millions of cops and army men!” Well, in the history of the world it is the military and cops who governments used to oppress their people — not public libraries.
But the whole thing reminded me so much of Paul Bibeau’s recent article, What If They NEVER Come For Our Guns? I wrote about it at the time, Oath Keepers As Protectors of the Power Elite. The conceit of Paul’s article was that an Oath Keeper was starting to have doubts that Obama was coming for our guns. After all, it’s almost seven years now. What’s he going to do, wait until 19 January 2017 just to confuse us all?
I know that my editor (who I won’t name — and I have several) would be able to come up with justifications for all these obvious inconsistencies. And she will be able to justify her beliefs in a year and half when there has been no race war and we have a new president. As I said, she’s really smart. And even I can fill in most of the gaps. For example: Obama could destroy America becoming dictator, because then America wouldn’t be America anymore. Blah, blah, blah. But really, I think the takeaway here is that people like Rush Limbaugh present the appearance of informed commentary. So my editor accepts it as such — and effectively turns her mind off.
It is literally a Brave New World.