I’m not generally much of a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe Elvis is in Wisconsin working at McDonald’s, or the moon landings were staged in a NASA studio, or that somehow the September 11 tragedies were purposely staged by the government. I am, by nature, a skeptic. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt and try as hard as possible to base my decisions on fact.
However, I have a low tolerance for liars and charlatans once I do satisfy myself of their guilt. Nothing chaps me more than someone who tells a lie and then defends it by saying it’s to my advantage that they told the lie. I’m also inflamed by the notion that if said liar or charlatan is caught red-handed, telling the lie is somehow my fault. Someone telling a lie doesn’t make me a traitor, terrorist, or maniacal morale squasher.
It does, however, make them a liar.
Give Them Enough Rope…
I used to give the Bush administration plenty of leeway. If someone accused them of a lie, I generally countered there was no proof. I tended to explain each mishap as just blundering by a crew of incompetents. Of course, I also believed that no matter the reason we ended up in the soup, it was still inexcusably bad and Bush was still at the helm. I believed the cause of the blundering didn’t matter much. Whether you’re a ninny or a liar, bad stuff is still bad stuff.
Finally, the house of cards began to collapse. It became more and more difficult to look beyond the daily revelations of arrogant, dishonest behavior. With each oily drip, any benefit I was willing to offer found itself simply a doubt. Information conflicting with the party line was invariably blamed on lower level functionaries, the person who leaked, or the victim of the leaks. Everyone in the administration became overnight Alzheimer’s victims. Executive privilege came to mean, “I dare you to come and get the information.” The President came to look like a tin pot dictator protected by a squad of political suicide bombers. Eventually, the pretense of honesty or legitimate mistakes was abandoned along with the truth. The administration had gone to the well of distraction far too many times and the public came to trust them about nothing.
See that blue sky? If they said it was blue, at least 2/3 of the American public would consider it a hoax.
Blue Sky? What Blue Sky?
I don’t like living in a country where I question whether the sky is blue. I don’t like living in a country where every explanation from the administration is bound to cause a scandal within the week. I don’t hate America. I detest what it has become through dishonesty and incompetence. I also don’t like living in a country where I can’t give my elected officials the benefit of the doubt.
I’m surprised to find that I – the prototypical skeptic – now find myself constructing conspiracy theories of my own.
I look at the deepening cesspool of scandal and avarice and begin to consider the unthinkable. I see top-down rust throughout my government. From the inner circle to the lowest-level cronies, I see a tower so thoroughly weakened by corrosive bad behavior that I don’t see how it continues to stand. My government no longer serves me. A rabble of hubris-bloated hobnobbers have hijacked it for their own gain. Our national prestige and considerable treasure have leaked as readily as the levies in New Orleans and those leaks have eroded my natural resistance against conspiracies. Checks and balances have become a thing of the past. Our government is stacked and every switch and lever is off, allowing the administration and their supporters to stride like giants across the land.
A Real October Surprise
Looking at the facts, I can only conclude the wholesale rejiggering of my government will eventually lead to one thing – a real October surprise. Our next election may be outrageously stolen, or simply just called off. Once, such a thought would have been the worst of the worst conspiracy theories. Now, it seems to take on the patina of truth.
I sincerely hope my conspiracy theory is wrong, but if it isn’t, I may find myself heading to Wisconsin in search of Elvis.