Overheard or seen on the radio / online in the last 24 hours:
- Obama is not stupid, he is nefarious.
- Obama doesn’t understand traditional values
- Obama is attempting to dismantle traditional values
- Obama wants to destroy capitalism and turn America into a socialist dictatorship
- Obama is a fascist socialist
- Obama is a secret Muslim
- Obama was born in Kenya
- Obama will fundamentally change America if re-elected
None of these things are new or surprising if you have an eye or ear out for the nuttery in the Republican/Conservative/Tea Party, and I could write forever on the hypocrisy on the right, but what concerns me about this semi-organized message is how prevalent it has become by the bigger voices as they continue to fall on their faces trying to dig up dirt before November.
No, Hannity has not gone full-out birther, but he allows birthers a voice. They may not directly say “Obama was NOT born in America,” but they’ll manipulatively sow the seed “You know, there are still some unanswered questions with his birth certificate.”
And the right wing media has been pushing this “other-ing” of Obama since the last election, sometimes with subtlety, sometimes with a bullhorn. The volume knob has been turned up so slowly, the threshold nudged at just the right pace that here we are, four years later, with millions of Americans who will not need to flinch or think before clearly opining that “Our President, a Kenyan Muslim, is actively working to destroy capitalism, religion, the constitution, and all America to rule as a dictator.” (Granted, said people would not be that concise or understandable.)
Some of this has grown out of the lack of an ability to “other” him directly by his skin color, but I feel the propaganda has pushed much further; they’ve gone from “he got a lucky break” to “he is The Enemy.” And when the message actively moves from “amateur” and “idiot” to “malicious” and “nefarious,” it starts to get dangerous.
People have a constitutional right to free speech and I’m not suggesting that ever be changed. But what four years ago was a whisper has now grown to a murmur, and amongst the crowd of “vote him out” has appeared a torch there, a pitchfork there, and just enough vitriol to drive fear to action.