- having Orly Taitz as a prominent member, a woman so crazy even Bill O'Reilly has called her a nut. Among her claims of mistrust is that Obama is a Hamas supporter and that the US House of Representatives are building labour camps.
- being the larger umbrella under which the birthers movement nestles themselves. The Birthers are a group of people who allege that Obama is actually born in Kenya, and that the falsification of his papers and installation in the White House is part of a radical Islamic plot to control America.
On the other end of the spectrum is The Onion, which is a satirical news site that is, frankly, brilliant. They put out a combination of written articles, videos, and radio news segments that lampoon everything from current politics to media to sports to relationship matters and basic human behaviour. As an example, of of my recent favourite articles from them was entitled "Unstable relative, toddler compete for attention at family get-together". Other examples of headlines; "NBC announces fall cancellation lineup", "God hinting at retirement", and "Nation demands tax dollars only be wasted on stuff that's awesome". And that's just the tip of the iceberg, with them having news reports on Jennifer Aniston adopting a 33 year old boyfriend from Africa, how the US was condemned for pre-emptively using Hilary Clinton on Pakistan, and how the South African vuvuzela symphony were becoming increasingly irritated by the soccer games that were breaking out during their concerts. This level of brilliant satire is really on par for the course on The Onion, with their video and audio segments being delivered with the most serious voices and expressions possible, simultaneously parodying news anchors and the news they report on. Essentially, it's the opposite of the Tea Party, in that regularly reading The Onion will most likely increase your intelligence, whereas regularly associating with the Tea Party will most likely lower it.
So why am I talking about two entities that are on opposite ends of the spectrum? Well, that's because the Tea Party has recently discovered The Onion, and have done with it exactly what you'd expect stupid people to do; take it seriously, completely failing to see the humour even after it has been pointed out to them. They've taken it one step further, though, picking up a video segment the Onion originally posted in 2008 to poke fun at Bush's congressional policies and the zombie apocalypse simultaneously, and have begun circulating it as recent news and an indication of what Obama's real plans against America are.
Here's the video in question, which was put up by The Onion in January of 2008
Note the date; this was before Obama was even confirmed as the official Democratic candidate.
And this is how the Tea Party members have distorted this segment;
Mind you, if you read the comments, you'll notice one particular individual taking the lack of any information that proves the validity of this video not as a hint that the video might be less than genuine, but rather as an indicator that not only is the video authentic, but that the government is actively covering it up, with co-operation from the entire internet, I guess.
There are so many things wrong here I don't know where to begin. For one thing, if we are to accept, for the sake of debate, that these racist, close-minded individuals are somehow right, and that they've somehow stumbled onto Obama's plan for death camps, did they really think that these plans would be openly discussed on C-SPAN and then put on youtube? Or, for that matter, that they'd send this as a regular bill to be voted on in congress, in some odd "Well, we can't do illegal things without making sure we're following due process" way of thinking?
Another question that begs asking is, did all the people taking this seriously miss the flesh-eating and the otherworldly strength aspects of the speech? Or the fact that the "person" presenting the bill doesn't actually exist? I can understand people not noticing or understanding the date of posting or the Onion symbol; after all, these are people likely unfamiliar with both C-SPAN and The Onion. But really, they do everything in the video to point to a zombie apocalypse short of actually saying "zombie apocalypse", which is part of the joke.
Yet another puzzling issue is the belief of the Tea Party that news like this would somehow fly under the radar. I mean, yes, I'm incredibly jaded about the state of current news, where genocide is usurped by paparazzi pictures for top headline. But even I don't think that if the US congress were planning to put their citizens in death camps that news agencies would not take notice and atleast report on it. I mean, it is a pretty big deal, regardless of which side of the political spectrum you fall on, so how exactly would something like this fly under the radar?
And then, of course, there's the big question of why, as in why Obama would do something even remotely close to this. This one is actually understandable from the Tea Party perspective; what it comes down to is fear. Obama has become the boogeyman to these people, and all of them are projecting their worst fears onto him, be it socialism (a term I'm not sure many of them actually understand) or fanaticism (which, oddly, is wrong only when it's employed in the service of a religion other than their own) or even race (a black guy as president? He must not be a real American!). Some of these fears are that Obama will, for whatever reason, abuse his power to punish Americans...because he's bored, I guess. I mean, with Lost over, there's nothing good to do on Tuesdays anymore, and even the President needs to relax sometimes. Amusingly (or horrifyingly), these same people supported Bush and Co. when they actually did abuse their powers in similar fashion.
Ultimately, these people will be around, no matter what, and they will do their hardest to perpetuate their level of stupidity, no matter what. It remains up to the rest of us sane, functioning members of society to ensure that the outlying crazies never overpower our voice, and that we, in turn, never ignore their presence. The internet helps with identifying and tracking these crazies with greater ease than ever before, but we still need to make sure they remain inconsequential, for everyone's sake. Because if they're like this now, imagine how they'll act with some real power in their hands.