So, I'm sitting here working and listening to the radio. The guest on the show to which I am listening states that a recent poll finds that the majority of registered Republicans believe that Obama is not a U.S. Citizen (yeah, sure, because the folks on Fox are so much more likely to uncover his background than, say, the entire federal government in all of it's law enforcement and fact-checking capabilities), that a significant minority believe that he is a socialist (thus proving that they don't actually know what the word "socialist" means or that they haven't actually bothered to look at any of his actual policy proposals and are simply listening to pundits), and a smaller but still significant minority believe that he is the Antichrist.
Now, as noted before, I am not a particular fan of Obama's. There are many policies that he holds to that I dislike, and even those that I like in concept I have serious reservations about the execution.
But these beliefs, apparently common amongst one of the two major parties running the country, are literally psychotic - they show a complete break with reality. Take into account thing such as the John Birch society is a sponsor of the Conservative Political Action Committee's meeting this year (a significant event in U.S. politics), that the Tea-Party National convention hosted a highlighted talk by the founder of the truly delusional pseudo-news site World Net Daily, and that lunatic conspiracy hypotheses that were once confined to neo-Nazi websites are now making their way onto Prime Time television via Fox News, and, well...we're in trouble.
There was a time, up until the mid-90s, when there were real, legitimate, conservative intellectuals. People who were in touch with reality, saw the real problems, and tried to come up with solutions based on a conservative political philosophy. Those days seem to be gone.
When I began voting, I never voted a straight ticket. Party lines were not so tightly made, and intelligent, capable people are available in both major parties, and many smaller parties. Now, though, this isn't the case. William F. Buckley has been replaced by Glenn Beck. Newt Gingrich and Richard Nixon (love or hate them, both were true geniuses) have been replaced by Sarah Palin. And discussion of political and social problems has been replaced by paranoid conspiracy-mongering and false comparisons to Hitler. I suspect that this has come to be the state of politics because elected officials are more interested in winning than in governing, and this is a crass way for them to do so. However, maybe we really do have truly insane people in office and they actually believe this crap.
Regardless of what the politicians actually believe, it's apparent that many of the voters do buy into these delusions.
the Democrats certainly have their problems - the fact that they have proven too astoundingly wimpy to stand up to either presidents or other congressmen, or that the take part on the political duopoly that has hijacked the electoral system not the least among them - but they haven't made the weird echo-chamber ride into delusion that the Republican party has. I used to wonder why so many of the Republicans I knew had gone over to the Libertarians, or why people I know who were once very active in Republican party politics have left politics in disgust, but in the last few years I have come to understand.
When we have only two likely outcomes in an election, and one will result in a delusional demagogue in office, the other in a milquetoast putz, we are well and truly fucked.
As I have said before, we're doomed. I just hope that whatever rises from our ashes has the good sense to take the lesson. However if history is any indication, they won't.