Sweater Weather - The Neighbourhood (mp3)
The Wind - Peasant (mp3)
On Monday night, my family was taking a leisurely stroll around our neighborhood in what will likely become a regular summertime ritual on nice evenings. On this particular evening, we ran across a man and his son -- "neighbors" from some unknown location near us --walking the other direction. His boy and our boy were doing the young boy equivalent of what dogs do. They weren't sniffing one another's butts, but they were sizing one another up as potential play pals, so the adults were forced to engage in small talk.
Barely three minutes into the small talk, this man we only just met goes off on President Obama in a monologue of offenses that concludes with his statement -- as fact, not opinion or theory -- that our President has been manipulating the weather patterns in the United States. Obama is, apparently and literally, a rainmaker.
"You've seen those strange-looking planes flying around over the city, right?* They're up there injecting chemicals into the atmosphere. Obama is using the weather to attack the states who oppose him. Like Tennessee and Oklahoma." (He was referring to the V-22 Osprey, one or more of which have indeed been flying around Chattanooga.)
To keep from laughing, I did what any immature male would do: I went and played with the two boys. Meanwhile my wife and mother both did their best to nod and be polite before moving us down the road as quickly as possible.
On Tuesday afternoon while sitting and working in Starbucks, I was subjected to a neighboring table's conversation. It was one of those 8-seat tables where several people can sit and work or chill without having had to know one another first, and in this case it was a black guy in his 40s and a bald white fella in his late 50s or early 60s with a military green shirt and the saying, "Liberty or Death."
"Nobody wants to acknowledge what really happened up in Boston," the white guy was saying. The black guy kind of "uh-huh" and nodded while tapping away on his laptop, so the white guy continued. "That was a trial run, my friend. Obama had those FBI people going door to door, violating everyone's rights, supposedly searching for this terr'ist, but it was never about that terr'ist. What Obama was really doing was training his thugs for control and getting citizens numb to the idea of having no freedom."
The black dude stopped "uh-huh"ing and looked over at him and said, "Well I don't know about all that."
"Oh just wait. Obama's moving us closer and closer to Stalin every day. That election in 2012 is the last Presidential election we'll ever have."
On Wednesday night in my favorite local watering hole, I sat next to two men who were convinced that every single one of their phone conversations -- of every American's phone conversations -- were being recorded and tracked by our government.
"They hear every word you say. Every damn word, swear to God," one said. "Obama isn't just going after them Tea Party groups. He's looking for individuals, anybody really, who thinks they have the right to a gun or who believe our government is fucked up. If someone don't stop him, he'll round us all up and execute us. Or maybe he'll just jail us all on some bullshit charges. But he's comin' to get us, swear to God."
The last few months have not been good for our President. Even if ObamaCare proves to be every bit the miraculous fix-all to what ails our healthcare system -- and let's be honest, the odds aren't good -- it increasingly looks like history will be vanilla at best, harsh at worst, to Obama's two terms in office. He won't be viewed quite as harshly as Dubya, but he won't ever reach Clinton or Reagan heights, even with the benefit of rose-colored glasses.
I'm happy to criticize the man. He deserves to be criticized and questioned.
But in less than 72 hours I encountered three different white men who are so far removed from Planet Earth that they actually believe Obama possesses powers not unlike some mash-up between Thor and Loki. (Hey! Maybe Obama isn't Muslim... maybe he's a Norse god!)
I was comfortable being "slightly liberal" in matters concerning health care, gun rights, our use of military force, taxation and government spending, gay rights, immigration and the like. These were topics worthy of political discourse, and I valued opinions counter to mine. Do I have to be some pro-Obama Kool-Aid drinker to walk around with the silly notion that our government didn't destroy Oklahoma with tornadoes, isn't planning a hostile takeover of any state in our nation, isn't worried about a barfly in Chattanooga's drunk-dialing habits at 2 a.m.?
Obama is about to create a massive electrical storm to take out all our power, send in his troops, take over our country, and execute anyone who has spoken a critical word of the man on a telephone. Really, people? We have an entire universe of information at our fingertips, and this is what we believe?