Op-Ed by Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun Times/Roger Ebert—I’ve had these thoughts for some time, but have been reluctant to express them. Now so many others have voiced them that it’s pointless to remain silent. I am frightened by the climate of insane anti-Obama hatred in this country. I’m not referring to traditional conservatives or Republicans. They’re part of the process. I’m speaking of the lunatic fringe, the frothers, the extremist rabble who are sweeping up the ignorant and credulous into a bewildering and fearsome tide of reckless rhetoric.
There have always been nuts. Remember when the John Birch society thought Kennedy was a communist? In those innocent days most of the American people were reasonable. They’d shake their heads in wonder at such a weird notion. Kennedy might be one of those liberals, but he wasn’t a commie. And when people said Johnson murdered Kennedy? Also ridiculous. But slowly, ominously, things began to change. After his death, it was said that Edward Kennedy was a Soviet agent. These theories have rabid subscribers.
Obama is a Muslim. Obama was born in Kenya. Obama was a terrorist. Obama will destroy Medicare. Obama will kill your grandmother. Obama is a racist. Obama wants atheism taught in the schools. Obama wants us to pay for the health care of illegal immigrants.
These beliefs are held by various segments of our population. They are absurd. Any intelligent person can see they are absurd. It is not my purpose here to debate them, because such debates are futile. With the zealous True Believers there is no debating. They feed upon loops within loops of paranoid surmises, inventions which are passed along as fact. Sometimes those citing them don’t even seem to care if you believe them. Sometimes they may not believe them themselves. The purpose is to fan irrational hatred against our president.
What are we to make of the recent suggestion on the “respected” right-wing site NewsMax, later withdrawn, that “it might not be such a bad thing” if the U. S. military rose up and overthrew Obama in a coup? That sort of talk belongs on a password-protected neo-Nazi or Klan site, not in a place where ostensibly intelligent people look for information. Where were the editors? What did they think? If they’re “conservatives,” do they support the overthrow of our government by a coup?