I was talking with two acquaintances today and wouldn't you know it, politics became the subject eventually talked about. One of the acquaintances began praising President Obama and the other jumped in with many encouraging words about him. However, the conversation took a radical change in direction when one of them said she thought that former President Bush had made such a mess of the country that Obama should "ditch the Constitution and Bill of Rights and start all over again". Piling on, the other acquaintance added to the proposal to dismantle our government with a long riff on his resentment of insurance company executives, asking how they could sleep at night when there were millions of uninsured people while the executives were making a million dollars a year.
Less than one minute of political conversation, and out came an intense hatred of the basis of our freedoms and bitter resentment of wealthy people. How do you respond to such emotional denunciations? I learned long ago it is foolish to directly challenge such comments with a simple "you're wrong". Instead, I merely asked questions such as, "can you elaborate on your desire to get rid of our Constitution and Bill of Rights?". Here's the answer I got in a nutshell (I can't quote my acquaintance directly because her answer was long and rambling, but here are the essential parts of her answer).. she said that people who through NO FAULT of their own lose their jobs and their homes, should get more understanding from the police, drug counselors, and landlords, and that is where Obama is different than President Bush because Obama because he cares more.
That's when I knew I had run into a brick wall of nonsense that could not be countered with any reasonable discussion of the merits of Obama, our Constitution, or anything else. Everything was George Bush's fault. Evictions, drug abuse, arrests? Bush's fault. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights? We have Obama now. We don't need those old pieces of paper. Obama cares about us.
Sometimes it is truly frightening to discover what people are willing to believe. Frightening.