It seems that many Americans are convinced the United States is so “exceptional” that it is too good to partner with other nations.
On an equal basis, anyway.
A lot of these folks (far too many from my perspective) believe a global conspiracy is underway to create such a partnership. And some of them fear this partnership would lead to a science fiction scenario in which a cabal of wealthy and powerful international figures rule the masses with black helicopters and underground internment camps – even guillotines to cut off our heads.
It’s known as the One World Government Conspiracy.
I don’t know how far these fantasies extend, but I’ve even heard something about butchering nonentities like me as food.
(Perhaps I might be spared. As the Purple People Eater said in that old song, “I won’t eat you; you’re too tough.”)
It’s easy to make fun of these weird ideas, but they have to be taken seriously because they have become part of the Republican Party’s chatter leading up to the midterm elections in November.
At least one GOP candidate is warning of a United Nations plot to “subvert American sovereignty.”
In Colorado recently, Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes (photo above) accused his opponent, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, of “taking orders from the UN.” The evidence? A bike rental program started by Hickenlooper to cut down on motor vehicle traffic in his city.
Here’s how Maes put it:
At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what’s wrong with that, and what’s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what’s wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize [the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives] is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty.
And the way the Republican candidate sees it:
When the mayor signs on to a program that’s sponsored by the United Nations, that should bring concern to people as to how that program may or may not be compatible with our state constitution.
I know this guy is running in Colorado, which is famous for its thin mountain air. And you might be tempted to dismiss him as a nut case. But browse the web and you will find a slew of sites spewing out similar scare messages.
I don’t know what their objective is, apart from peddling tapes and books, but they seem to have created a lot of believers. And, even more troubling, there is a mainstream belief in American “exceptionalism” that makes otherwise rational citizens susceptible to scare stories about the UN.
I’m also uneasy about the fact that a lot of “fringe” people have joined Republican ranks in this election campaign.
Usually, they have Tea Party support. And Republican leaders have embraced the Tea Party, shunning “moderates” in a sharp swing to the right. All kinds of fringe candidates are running as Republicans. Some insist that President Obama was not born in the United States (polls show that some Republicans don’t know Hawaii is part of the U.S. and others think he was born in Kenya despite ample evidence to the contrary). Some want to abolish all social programs – Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Unemployment Insurance … the lot. Others want to turn back the clock to the days before civil rights legislation…
It’s a motley crew. But each bizarre doctrine has its own cult of fervent followers. Do they add up to enough votes to put the Republican Party back in power? We shall have to wait and see.