There have been a disturbing number of conspiracy theories floating around lately. Sure, that’s nothing new — we have the JFK assassination and moon landing conspiracies of the past — but there just seem to be a lot more of them lately.
It started with the truthers, who believe that George W. Bush either knew about the 9/11 attacks beforehand and did nothing or even blew up the World Trade Center himself. And some people also believed that Bush blew up the levies during Hurricane Katrina. And then there is the conspiracy theory, which still persists among some extremely disturbed individuals, that Sarah Palin isn’t really the mother of Trig.
And now we have President Obama, who is the subject of a number of conspiracy theories himself. There are those who think he’s secretly a Muslim — despite his blatant contempt for all religion that elitist liberals share. And there are those who think he’s secretly gay (well, I don’t know of any, but I just assume). And famously, there are the birthers, who believe Obama wasn’t born in this country, and no amount of documentation is enough to dispel that notion from a few crazies clinging to their fact-free assertion.
You’d think we would have had enough of conspiracy theories by now and that the media would be quicker to educate people to keep the theories from spreading. Yet still another conspiracy theory has emerged, even more divorced from reality and the facts than any of the previous ones. And it has already spread, as recent polls show that somewhere between 34% and 37% — more than a third of Americans — believe it. What is this new, insane notion? That the job President Obama is doing on the economy could be described as “good.”
Yes, it’s really hard for an educated individual to understand how one could hold such a belief when it flies in the face of all the facts we see daily. All the other conspiracy theories are, in a way, much more understandable because what they involve doesn’t directly affect the bored individuals who cling to them. It’s easy to just sit online and second guess things you don’t really understand and aren’t involved in, but this economy affects everyone. You’re reminded of it every day when you see all your unemployed friends and family and the high gas prices and just general malaise. How can anyone ignore that? It’s like holding to a conspiracy theory that the sky is orange despite each day seeing how blue it is.
Of course, I could just be making too much of a poll question. A lot of people who say they believe in a conspiracy theory could just be engaged in partisan silliness. Some polls had up to half of Democrats saying they believed Bush knew about or caused 9/11, yet it didn’t really seem from their actions that that many Democrats truly believed President Bush was a mass murderer of his own citizens. Similarly, one could assume if Bush were president now, a number of those saying Obama is doing a good job on the economy would correctly identify wasting trillions of dollars while unemployment only increases as being one of the worst imaginable jobs one could do on the economy.