Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The history of batshit crazy in American politics

I know, I know, it seems as though we've crossed into a new world of lunacy, what with a Texas "judge" (really a county commissioner) vowing to resist the invading UN forces should Obama be re-elected, and a New Hampshire candidate for sheriff promising, if elected, to kill doctors who perform abortions, presumably as part of his official duties.

I'm not sure this is really anything new, however. Ron Paul has been a member of Congress since I could clean and jerk 200 pounds. You may think he is sort of like your eccentric uncle, and you like his ideas about legalizing marijuana and not invading Iraq. He is, in fact, crazier than a quilt. And his inspiration, the John Birch society, a big influence on Paul, has been broadly influential in American politics for as long as I have been alive. There was no space between the Birchers and Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater.

Back in the 90s, before that little unpleasantness with Tim McVeigh set them back, the sovereign militia movement had numerous supporters in Congress. I'm too busy today to try to write even a summary of the history of far right conspiracy theories, eliminationist threats, and crude racism in American politics, but I shouldn't have to work to convince you. It's always been there.


Daniel said...

We sure have our share of crazies out here and have for years. But when the Birchers were the crazy wing of the Republican party they were our there on the edge. Now they are main stream.

I don't recall armed citizens with semi automatic assault rifles and placards asking the the tree of liberty be watered at Presidential events until 2009.

I do disagree with you on this score, I think the situation is worse. Maybe the Birchers were right and the fluoride in the water drove half the country bat shit crazy.

Cervantes said...

Well, yes, the Republican Party has gone over the edge of wackoness in a way we haven't seen for a while -- but Barry Goldwater was once the Republican nominee. Granted, he got trashed, which does not seem to be happening to Romney.