Some days I don’t know if I should become a flaming tower of righteous rage, or if I should just point and laugh.
Up til now, I’ve chosen the point-and-laugh strategy. Because I like laughing. And rage, to be perfectly frank, gives me the runs. After all, do you know who these crazy whack-jobs are? These nuts out there spouting Birther nonsense? Well, it’s this guy:
Joseph Farah, adviser to Donald Trump. (Hey! Buddy! Your fake mustache IS FREAKING ME OUT!)
I’m not surprised, honestly, that Mr. Trump would hire that used-car-salesman-turned-talking-head to run his sideshow of a campaign. This is Donald Trump we’re talking about. But that Mr. Trump-Loving-Mustache-Man, in the face of the down-dressing the media got from our president, would start making even more insinuations – that he was secretly adopted, that the date was wrong, and that maybe his dad wasn’t his dad? (And who was it, Joseph? This guy?)
Well, it’s too much. I mean seriously, if he told me that the sky was blue, I’d go and get my eyes checked out. There is absolutely nothing that guy could say, no manipulations in diction or synatx that would possibly make him seem like an informed individual. That ‘stache screams wingnut. Sorry, bro.
I think I can blame my current ennui and despair over the state of my country on my parents. It was my parents, after all, who taught me that human beings were brave and honest and noble and good. That the upstanding individual was the norm, and that anything else was a sad outlier in the human experience, and can be redeemed through love and tenderness and adequate food, shelter and education.
I believed this. I believe it still. Mostly. On a good day. Indeed this is what I’ve taught my own children. I need to believe it, you understand. But the rise of BirtherNation – its conspiracy theories nothing more than very thinly disguised racism – well, it has sent me into a friggin tailspin, I’ll tell you what.
The birther nonsense is racism. It’s not curiosity, it’s not holding our leaders responsible for their actions, and it certainly is not patriotic. It’s only racism. Also racist: the new assertions that he didn’t really go to Harvard. Or if he did go to Harvard he did poorly. Or if he did well, someone else was writing his papers for him (possibly terrorists). And he only got in because he was black. And the Nation of Islam – according to one commenter – paid for his education.
These assertions won’t go away, and they are repeatedly mentioned (with smug little grins to boot) by people who should know better. People who do know better. People who are cynically attempting to strip the presidency of its credibility so they can keep giving tax breaks to rich people.
And I’m sick of it.
And since I’m neither a mover or a shaker, and since I have no money nor clout nor status in the inner circles of power that run this country, I’ll do the only thing that I can do.
I started earlier today on my Twitter feed encouraging Mr. Obama to just stay ahead of the conspiracy theorists and start making up his own insinuations. He could start a rumor that he was having an affair with a Marylin Monroe-shaped robot for example. Or he could get a trending tweet going that he had simultaneous citizenship in every nation on earth, thus hastening his establishment of the One World Government. He could put himself on the terrorist watch list. Or start a rumor that he must devour the still-beating hearts of kittens in order to maintain his youth (he’s 198. Did you know?)
But really, that’s not enough. Because in the end, I think his decision today to put the matter to rest, share the stupid birth certificate, and fight insane racism with evidence and truth – well, it was a lawyer’s move, but I think it was the right one.
The only antidote to wingnut crazytalk is truth. And lots of it. So I think we should clog the internet with truth and facts and honesty and confessions – about ourselves, about one another, about the world. I think that we should have a good old fashioned TruthFest, and prove once and for all that truth is stronger than lies.
And so, in the spirit of Full Disclosure, I, Kelly Barnhill, have decided to come clean. I’ve decided to air all of my dirty laundry, and make some admissions that will probably lead you to believe that I am not fit for my job (as a housewife. Also, as a writer.). So here it goes:
1. Despite the fact that I call myself a vegetarian, I still have a bratwurst every year on Fourth Of July. It’s the It’s Fourth Of July And Nothing Counts Clause. You can look it up.
2. While I was a proud English Major and love everything about the classes I took and the books I read and the papers I wrote and the discussions I had – I came very close to not graduating, because I did so TERRIBLY in my senior seminar on John Keats. In my defense, I had fallen in love with a lovely young man from Princeton, which really killed the semester. And fortunately, my professor let me re-write my paper and shoved my starry-eyed self out of her class with a gentlemen’s B-. But really, I deserved an F.
3. Despite my history as a park ranger and a wildland firefighter and despite the fact that I take the children camping multiple times every year and despite the fact that I’m a committed environmentalist, I actually hate camping. Don’t tell my husband.
4. Once, one of the kids who was bullying me in grade school told me that if I jabbed a kid in the back with a pencil, she’d leave me alone for the rest of the day. And then I did it. I didn’t get in trouble because I told everyone that I had tripped and it was an accident – a thing that was universally believed because A.) I’d never hurt anyone before, and B.) I was and am the klutziest person on the face of the earth. On the bus ride home, the bully in question pulled my hair and pinched me – hard, and everywhere. And she wouldn’t stop. So much for my attempt at violence.
5. While I enjoy my job in housewifery and I really dig being a full-time household coordinator, I am really not suited for this work at all. I’m sloppy. I cut corners. And I’m crafting deficient. My proof: In seventh grade we had to take Home Economics, where, though I worked and slaved and sweated my brains out trying to do well in that stupid class, I only got a D. It was my only D of my life. (And it should have been an F)
6. I’ve only ever gotten one speeding ticket in my whole life. But I’ve deserved…..many. Prior to my speeding ticket, I had actually been pulled over for speeding nineteen times previous – in four different states. Each time, I burst into tears. Each time I was let off with a warning. Clearly I’m a lady who doesn’t heed warnings. Also: I can sense a sucker from a mile off. I’m not proud of either of these qualities.
7. When I watch television shows with my husband on Netflix, I ALWAYS read the plot summaries of the entire season before I begin. Ted has no idea. Don’t tell him.
8. I once wrote a query letter for a book that I hadn’t written, and had no intention of writing. I just wanted to know if I could write a good one. I got 27 emails back requesting the full manuscript. I never wrote back.
9. I once accidentally let my drivers license expire, and didn’t notice for two years. We travel by plane 3 and sometimes 4 times a year. No one – not the folks at the ticket counters, not the TSA folks at the checkpoints, not the people carding me at the liquor store – NO ONE noticed.
I think nine is a pretty good start. Anyone else want to unload their souls? Clear the air? Combat crazytalk and lie-mongering with a good old fashioned TruthSpeak? Let’s hear it, folks!