BY VERN TURNER
While shopping one day a woman I’ve worked with and like very much waved me over to chat. We hadn’t seen each other for some time and as she is good friends with my in-laws it’s always pleasant speaking with this intelligent, thoughtful and energetic citizen who works for her community and country.
She had read one of my columns about education and agreed with it “150%.” I thanked her and we discussed some details about the increasingly rapid destruction of public education by mindless politicians and citizens not taking charge of their communities.
Out of this came the question: “Are you going to vote for Obama?” I assured her I was. She was aghast.
“How could you?! I’m really disappointed in you that you would think that way?”
I guess she never read my columns.
I told her that I decided months ago I am voting for our president because, among other reasons, the slate of candidates on the other side was beyond ridiculous.
She sort of agreed, but then told me that President Obama was a Marxist. I asked what she knew about Marxism and what her source was for this revelation. She said something like, “Well, he wants everybody to have all the same things.”
Now, I read a lot and that sentence never crossed my desk. Instead of getting into that, I merely hugged her. She did the same back and said she’d buy and read my new book. I look forward to our next conversation.
This encounter made me think of the multiple ideologies flying around the airwaves and print media this election year. My friend’s statement about our president smacked of Glenn Beck and his ilk.
I admit I do not listen to any of their claptrap, but it reminded me of how desperate some people are to have their fears and prejudices justified by some “authority.”
In my opinion it is a sad testimony to what passes for “informative” media these days.
That said, I received a note of personal experience from someone who had encountered Ron Paul, the Libertarian/Republican who ran for president again this year. The summary is worth reading: “He told me that climate change ‘hysteria’ was part of a plot by one-worlders, as he called them, to take control of our government. We would have to give up our rights, and we would be governed by the United Nations as a result. I spoke with him again a year-and-half ago [about] the building of the border wall … He told us how much he supported the wall; ‘build it higher,’ he said, ‘because the Mexican culture [is] diluting and destroying the ‘white’ culture” and we have to ‘stop them.’
“Additionally, he is said to advocate a form of religious law akin to Sharia law in this country [Source: Republican Gomorrah by Max Blumenthal]. He believes that we should convert executions to stoning, because it’s great for the public to be involved, and besides, rocks are cheap. He believes that gays should be executed.”
Add to all that Paul’s advocacy for eliminating meat inspection, air traffic controllers, construction inspection and having states coin their own money.
Ron Paul was also invited to give a keynote address to the John Birch Society, the group that thinks former President Eisenhower was a Communist.
OK. You get the idea: bizarre ideological radicalism is not the way to solve our country’s problems.
What is more painful than just discussing opposing ideas and political positions is the toll it takes on innocent, idealistic people who so much want to be right and good in pursuit of doing their parts to help make America great.
I’ve read many opinions, columns and letters that bash our president for trying and doing anything. The lies that spawn these opinions are part of the political process that is normal to the freedom of speech.
Knowing that, though, should motivate all of us to research the facts and make a determined effort to get them right.
Ideological claptrap is indeed a trap. It traps the mind into having a desperate struggle between personal desires and what it takes to actually do the right thing.
– Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. He lives in Marble Falls, TX, where he writes a regular column for the River Cities Daily Tribune. He is the author of three books – A Worm in the Apple: The Inside Story of Public Schools, The Voters Guide to National Salvation and Killing the Dream: America’s Flirtation With Third World Status – all available through Amazon.com.