1) There are people, in this country, alive right exactly now, with college educations, who know in their hearts that the earth is flat - and the government is covering it up.
2) There are people, in this country, alive right exactly now, with college educations, who know in their hearts that humans have never set foot on the surface of the moon - and the government is covering it up.
3) There are people, in this country, alive right exactly now, with college educations, who know in their hearts that the best way to win an argument is to jam their thumbs in their ears and scream at the top of their lungs like a third-grader until the other party relents - and the rest of us are desperate to cover that up.
Don't even get me started on the "birthers".
I happen to have the pleasure of working with a dyed-in-the-wool, old-school, conspiracy theorist. For this man, modern science is a thing to be feared and the government must not be trusted. Ever. Russians are still out to get us. The Chinese are undercutting us. And things from Outer Space are trying to kill us. All things unpleasant in a day's unfolding can be easily linked to intricate government coverups, complicated scientific experiments gone wrong, and criminally overfunded military tom-foolery.
He lives on a glassy edge of normalcy, on the brink of tumbling into paranoid delusions at any minute. Seriously, I would NOT be surprised to see him appear at work in a fetching tin-foil hat.
He, and all the well-educated folk just like him are part of a growing fraternity in my country and it scares me like hell. Their manic zealotry frightens me almost more than the idea of a drooling zombie hoarde creeping out of the atlantic ocean. (heh, almost)
The thing they fear is intangible, unstoppable, and can't really be solved one way or another. It seems to me that they almost NEED that fear to exist, to give some kind of reason to their otherwise plain and lackluster lives. They believe what they believe. Passers-by and nay-sayers be damned. They campain against common sense in an effort to shine some vague light on the one idea that's been hidden from us all along. They just want "the truth". That one solitary thing that's so important that it's been hidden from the masses for so long, which, once revealed will bring a new era of peace and fulfillment to the world... and it is in their hands to bring about such an event.
What scares me most, is the thought that they might someday get ahold of that final covered-up truth - and having acquired that truth they'll lose their minds completely and it'll be a bloodbath. I'm pretty sure I've figured out what it is being covered up, too. All on my own.
It's not aliens, or lasers, or mutated genetic superhuman warriors bent on the destruction of Paraguay, or even a direct line to the heavens into which a game-plan for world domination can be whispered every third Wednesday.
The secret being concealed, the thing the allmighty government doesn't want us to know, is simply this: the ones in charge are human. Just normal schmoes thrust into positions of incredible influence. They need us to think that they're secret and powerful and have secretly powerful tools at their disposal, which they can hang over our heads and tease us with by not using them... even though no such tools exist. No aliens. No fax machine of the gods. No matter converters and no legions of secret agencies designed to warp the American election process. The very secret which so many beg for, and which so many fear is the one we already know: humans are in charge. Just humans. Nothing more.
The people running the country/planet were born and grew up and are getting older at exactly the same rate as the rest of us. They catch colds, they go to the bathroom, they laugh at jokes and they fall in love just like the rest of us. They feel greed and avarice and hunger and paranoia just like the rest of us.
The thing I actually hope the conspiracy theorists never find is that last door in the emerald city. I hope they never reach the grand audience with the wizard himself and I hope they never notice the man behind the curtain.
Because then? the tinfoil hats will be gone and they'll have nothing left but to scream and spiral into madness and start killing us all.
At least the conspiracies give them a sense of order. I guess I'm a tiny bit jealous of their fervor. They'll go on TV and walk across Montana barefoot for their beliefs. They'll wear their tin foil hats and wave their signs and scream with bleeding lungs for their causes. But I know the truth, and jumping at any cause like that just rings hollow for me. They're not idiots. They're just clinging to the last scraps of hope and safety they think they'll ever come across. Maybe they're kinda' right? After all, change is bad and anything new MUST be evil and anything difficult is CLEARLY wrong especially if it defeats the most inhumane aspects of the status-quo.
And yet, in this era of what's supposed to be the American Renaissance, can't we find a way to get over the idea that it's somehow wrong for the dudes in charge to still be just dudes? At the end of the day can't we learn to accept that the mightiest of the mighty aren't demi-gods with a lust for volcano virgins? They're just schmoes? They're just schmoes, and some of them want to do right by the people they serve and a lot of them don't give a crap. They make mistakes and do things wrong and so do we and wouldn't it be just grand if we could just kinda' get over ourselves for long enough to actually work together and improve the standard of living for a few billion people?
Oh wait... that sounds like a story I read about some guy from 2000 years ago. hunh. I bet HE had some fun "birthers" and shout-downs in his "town hall meetings" too. I bet they showed up with goatskins on their heads and were all "prove you're the son of god, ya hippie" and he was all "oy, this sucks".
Nothing new under the sun, is there? Put that in the secrets-they-don't-want-us-to-know category too. I'm not saying Obama is Jesus, far from it. Honestly. I'm just saying cripes this history crap gets repetitive sometimes.