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.