Back to politics for a moment
Anyway, the ILs live in a state that is pretty much guaranteed to go for Obama next week, but they live in a pretty rural part of that state--we're talking deep in Wal-Mart country, deep enough that even though they live literally minutes away from the home state of the VP candidate, McCain/Palin signs seemed to outnumber Obama/Biden signs by at least 3 to 2. We had the rental car radio tuned to the local lame Gen X-ers station most of the weekend--you know, the one that plays the "best hits of the 80s, 90s, and today!" and has an all-80s weekend every other weekend so we can all enjoy a regular Dexy's Midnight Runners and Kool & the Gang fix. You've got a station like that near you, right?
I say all this as a preface so that you understand that this was just a regular mainstream radio station, with the stupid morning-show DJs that play farting sound effects--not conservative talk radio, not some crazy fringe opinion program. Anyway, we were on our way to Wal-Mart Sunday afternoon to buy all the usual crap you buy there, when that afternoon's DJ started ranting about Obama. The usual stuff, saying that Obama is a secret Muslim who is friends with terrorists, might as well be a Black Panther, etc. He basically said that Obama is part of a secret plot to bring down America, and that the reason why people are snowed by him is that the truth (secret Muslim, terrorist, etc.) is so outlandish that we refuse to believe it even when the proof is staring us in the face.
At first I was disgusted and wanted to change the station, but my husband insisted we listen ("It's good to hear what the other side is saying once in a while"). Then I laughed at the ridiculousness of it all. Then I got a little depressed as people started calling in to say things like "Thank God someone isn't afraid to tell the truth about this guy!" Again, this is a mainstream radio station, a DJ giving an off-the-cuff commentary in between songs, broadcasting to a wide audience in a generally liberal-leaning state.
It's not so much the fact that they were saying it that bothered me. I knew that people thought these things and said these things, and that I'm mostly shielded from it because of where I live. What really depressed me was finally realizing that there is a significant minority in this country who truly believes that Barack Obama is not only a bad person, but anti-American to the core--someone who will stop at nothing to destroy this country.
I've met my share of Bush-hating people in my life. Hell, I've been a Bush-hater. But I don't think I've ever met someone who believed that Bush (or even Cheney) truly wanted to bring the country down. Believing that he would bring the country down as a side effect of misguided policies and even selfish motives, perhaps. But believing that he had the destruction of America as his primary goal? No.
And I wonder...if Obama wins next week (please please please oh please let it be so), how can he truly be an effective, unifying President, if people think such terrible things about him?
(Please feel free to give examples of past Presidents who were believed to be the anti-Christ.)