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An Increase in Whackos? September 29, 2009

Posted by Dindy in barack obama, Obama, Politics.
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There’s been a lot of talk in the press about the decline of civility and about whether or not there are more whackos now than there used to be. It’s true that emotions are certainly running high in the country right now, as we saw when the nutters, who have been frothing at the mouth since Obama was elected, went off the deep end over Obama’s proposed speech to American’s school children.

I don’t know, however, that there are more whackos than there ever used to be. What I think has happened is that thanks to the internet, the world has become a much smaller place and the nutters have been able to reach out and connect with each other in ways they have never been able to before.

If you look back, there have always been people who were just a little “different.” Every neighborhood had its resident eccentric, its Boo Radley, as it were. The house your parents told you not to go to during Trick or Treat or the neighbor who kept your ball when you and your friends were careless enough to hit it over the fence into his yard.

These people were usually isolated, and because they didn’t know anyone who shared their delusions or their paranoia or their offbeat views, they were generally pretty harmless as long as they were left alone.

The internet has changed all that because now all of these people who thought they were all alone have suddenly found other people who also thought they were all alone, and they’ve discovered that they have things in common.

Suddenly they are no longer alone and they are feeding off of each other. They are sharing experiences and stories and myths and legends. Urban legends have taken on a new life with the easy spreadability afforded by email, list servs and forums. You can find absolutely everything on the net– whatever your beliefs you can find somebody, somewhere who shares them.

Now that the nutters know that there are others who feel the same way, they are finding that there is strength in numbers. In addition, they are picking up new fans as people who do not necessarily share the more extreme beliefs relate to some of the more innocuous sentiments.

Obama’s election is a testament to the power of the internet as the grass roots movement that played such a huge role in his election capitalized on the social media available on the internet to spread his message of hope.

So now all we have to do is find a way to harness the power of the internet to counteract the whackos, and relate to the complacent middle of the roaders. We know it can be done. We just have to do it again.

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Comments»

1. omawarisan - September 29, 2009

I so agree. I’m concerned that that small group of nuts commands a disproportionate amount of media attention. I’m not sure if its just “better tv” to broadcast a room full of screamers instead of rational discussion or if they mistake them for a true majority.

2. Dindy - September 29, 2009

I know. I’d like to say the media should just ignore them but then the media gets accused of ignoring them or underplaying them. They are kind of caught in a Catch-22 situation. And face it– people shouting and screaming makes for much more exciting TV than people discussing things in a rational manner.


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