When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro

I find fringe politics both baffling and absurdist. Let’s recap the last two days.

First, the News & Record publishes a column by Charles Davenport arguing for a 21st century literacy test to make sure that only informed voters can cast a ballot. He writes:

In an ideal world, the ignorant and the oblivious would be prohibited from voting. Their participation would be actively suppressed. How so? Prospective voters would not only have to provide a photo ID, but also have to pass an exam on American history, civics and current events.

I, too, mourn the lack of informed voters. If people were more informed then the candidates I support would always win. I assume Davenport thinks the same way or else he wouldn’t propose it. But what if that’s wrong?

Let’s not even address the racist memories or oligarchical overtones in his idea. The imagination leaps at the confusion.

“Wait. Why did you mark No. 3 wrong? Bill Clinton was impeached because of a vast right-wing conspiracy. President Hillary Clinton said it.”

“I got No. 4 wrong, too? No, it’s right. I saw an ad that said he routinely lets child molesters out of jail!”

“Well, first Tillis said they resigned and then he said he fired them? How I am to know whether it’s A or B?”

Now, had he paired his proposal with the elimination of political parties, that would have been worth talking about. As so many people base their voting decisions on the party, just think of the possibilities for ignorance!

Then yesterday Yes! Weekly publishes a story about defamation lawsuit brought by members of the high-profile Conservatives for Guilford County against an over-the-top blogger.

I won’t get into the merits of the suit because, frankly, I don’t care enough. However, the most interesting part of the story is this line about one of the suit’s plaintiffs: “Douglas Adkins is the owner of gentlemen’s clubs in Greensboro where women perform seminude in return for cash.”

I admit I’m surprised. I thought that this whole ruse about rampant voting fraud was just an attempt to limit the people we don’t agree with. Now I know that ultra-conservative groups truly do have a big-tent mentality.

(It is such an interestingly worded sentence. “Gentlemen’s clubs?” Really? Are we back in the 50s? “Perform seminude in return for cash?” What does perform mean? What is seminude? Do we actually think they do it for fun?)

These are the days when I wonder if those on the political fringe — right and left — actually hear themselves. Are they thinking fast or slow? Do they ever think, do I actually want to say or write this? How will I sound if this is printed in the newspaper?

The level of cluelessness and cognitive dissonance is not up to Donald Sterling levels, but it seems to be getting there.

I can’t wait to see what happens today.

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