Along the Tracks

Wednesday, October 30, 2002
 

Conspiracy, anyone?


Could Sen. Paul Wellstone’s plane been shot down as part of a conspiracy? I found the thought amusing, particularly considering all the e-mailed conspiracy theories I receive at The Leader, from senders on the right and the left. (Interesting aside: I can hardly tell which is which unless I know who the sender was. Black helicopters fly in from both directions, apparently.)

Yesterday, James Taranto’s Best of the Web mentioned such a conspiracy theory, to be found at Alternet.com. But the idea which crossed my mind was not a Republican-inspired conspiracy, but rather, a Democrat-inspired one.

You know, Wellstone was struggling in the polls, so maybe Daschle and crew decided to hire out a militia-type to shoot down the plane so they could sneak Fritz Mondale onto the ballot and garner a big sympathy vote. What do you think?

I find such horrid, crass accusations disgusting, as I’m sure most of you do as well. But isn’t it interesting that all these conspiracy theories about Bush and 9-11 and the Afghan war and the possibility of war with Iraq all get floated out there, right on the edge of legitimacy? You’ve heard the code phrases: “War over oil” or “Family grudge” or “Wag the dog.” These things have all been said by what are considered to be legitimate journalists and commentators and liberal operatives and some politicians from the “loyal opposition.” Some have said even worse.

I have no problem with vigorous debate over policy disagreements; in fact, I wish to see much more intelligent and, yes, boisterous discussions when it comes to issues affecting our lives, our children and our country. Yet, more and more, it seems unsubstantiated accusations are tossed around like they actually count as debating points. Such discussions radiate heat, but their smoke dims the light and chokes the interest of the public.

Wish to question policy? By all means, attack it with every ounce of emotion, and tie your line together with whatever reasoning you think works. But if you wish to question motives, you had best have some hard, cold facts to back up those questions.

P.S. - I think conspiratorial accusations say far more about the minds of the accusers than the minds of those they are attempting to read. I’m talking about you, Molly Ivins and Maureen Dowd.


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