A select quote from the Washington Post story, "In Flag City USA, False Obama Rumors Are Flying:"
"People in Findlay are kind of funny about change," said Republican Mayor Pete Sehnert, a retired police officer who ran for the office on a whim last year. "They always want things the way they were, and any kind of development is always viewed as making things worse, a bad thing."
When people on College Street started hearing rumors about Obama -- who looked different from other politicians and often talked about change -- they easily believed the nasty stories about an outsider.
"I think Obama would be a disaster, and there's a lot of reasons," said Pollard, explaining the rumors he had heard about the candidate from friends he goes camping with. "I understand he's from Africa, and that the first thing he's going to do if he gets into office is bring his family over here, illegally. He's got that racist [pastor] who practically raised him, and then there's the Muslim thing. He's just not presidential material, if you ask me."
I guess change is scary. This fear is compounded by the fact that conservatives have an intolerance for ambiguity and struggle to process new information--some researchers, in their less polite moments, would argue that conservatives have authoritarian personalities (in layman's terms they are attracted to "strong" leaders like Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, and Premier Bush aka Cheney's Number Two).
This story reminds me of the time when my parents upgraded from rabbit ears to cable. This change caused quite a bit of frustration in my childhood home-all these buttons, that big heavy clunky cable box, with the wire connected to the remote, and more than five stations...so confusing for older Americans. Then my dad discovered the Playboy station so things were okay--I also loved the Playboy station because you could manipulate the fine tuning on the cable box in order to make the station clearer. I am sure many a young boy's masturbatory fantasies were given both fuel and fire by some fine adjustment on yee' old cable box.
I also fondly remember the anxiety when we upgraded again from records, to cassettes, and then to compact disks. Pops was scared again, but low and behold--and once he figured out how to put the CD in with the label facing upwards--things were once more copacetic.
It seems older folks are still scared of Obama. Perhaps our brother needs to partner with the AARP? I can see it now, a legion of gray ghosts fanning out across Florida, small town USA, and Manhattan, spreading the truth, and working against the concerted disinformation campaign targeting Obama (and by the way see this great article on one of my favorite people, Danielle Allen, and her research on the Obama smear campaign--I love to see smart (actually genius level) black folk doing their thing).
But, lest I be accused of picking on the elderly, Americans in general don't appear to be too bright. This is the reason I don't support democracy. For your examination, here is some recent public opinion research demonstrating the wisdom of the masses:
1. 7 percent of Americans believe Elvis is still alive.
2. 13 percent of Americans believe the Da Vinci code is real.
3. 39 percent of Americans believe in Creationism (boy our schools have utterly and truly failed haven't they? And not just the young black ign'ts, but white folks too).
4. 33.3 percent (that is one third by the way) of Americans believe in UFOs, witches and astrology--hey UFO's are real, just ask my man Riley Martin--you didn't know that black apartment dwellers also get kidnapped by aliens? You best get up to speed people!
5. 41 percent of Americans believe that Saddam had something to do with Al Queda and 9-11. Goodness.
Ohh the good, old days, we all long for them. We had manicured lawns, well behaved children, all the race mixers kept their love private, those Negroes knew their place, everyone spoke English, and those foreigners stayed on their own side of the tracks, water, fence, ocean, continent, etc.:
And most importantly, John Wayne--not that demi-God Chuck Norris--was the order of day: