When something like this week’s terror-bombing in Boston happens it can cause you to seriously question any faith you might have had in the basic goodness of humanity.
Then the comments that some people make in the aftermath of such a tragedy can make you wonder why you ever gave us the benefit of a doubt in the first place.
Yes, the “false flaggers” are out in force once again. These are the people who see every terrorist act as a secret government plot to sway public opinion to support whatever their agenda happens to be.
False flag is a term that originated in naval warfare when a ship would fly the flag of its enemy to confuse them into thinking they were friendly, thus supplying them with a tactical advantage. It has over the years come to mean any military act perpetrated by those in power disguised to look like an act by an enemy force, usually for the purpose of fooling the public into supporting some political agenda.
We heard from the false flaggers on 9/11 when left-wingers like Cynthia McKinney suggested that the Bush administration knew the attacks were coming but gave them tacit approval so they would have an excuse to wage war in the Middle East. More recently some on the right claimed the Sandy Hook massacre was orchestrated by Obama operatives as a pretext for swaying the public to support his gun control initiatives. And now the lunatic fringe is suggesting that Obama is up to his old tricks, terror-bombing his own citizens so that he can -- what?
I don’t think even the conspiracy theorists have come up with a semi-coherent explanation about what blowing up runners and spectators at the Boston Marathon is supposed to have accomplished for our “Dr. Evil” president. But I’m sure they’ll let us know once they piece it together. I see this as an extreme example of a trap many of us fall into.
We want life to be simple and straightforward. We want the world to be made up of good guys and bad guys, with the good guys being made up of ourselves and the people who look, act and think like us. The bad guys are made up of everyone else, and they are constantly working on tearing down all that is good and righteous in the world. Some people approach politics that way, and we are more polarized than ever.
There is a troublingly large group of people on both the left and right who see the other side as not just wrong in their beliefs about the best kind of government, but as bad people who do nothing but bad things, all the time.
If you are seeing things through that filter, then it’s going to seem like the most obvious thing in the world that Bush allowed the Twin Towers to be destroyed or that Obama somehow was behind Sandy Hook and the Boston bombing. And you won’t require a great deal of proof to be offered to convince you that the smug so-and-so in the White House is at it again.
As it turns out though, the world is not that simple. The human race is made up of left-wingers, right-wingers, moderates, libertarians, fascists, socialists, anarchists, and even a large group of people who don’t care a lot about politics and are motivated by completely different things altogether.
The president of the United States is a powerful man, but he’s just one guy. Everyone who has ever sat in that office has had his good points and bad points, and I don’t think any of them have been the embodiment of evil or had “destroy America” as the top item on his agenda.
Their opponents should stop conferring these near-omnipotent powers of evil on them. It’s both silly and counterproductive to their cause.
Bill Ferguson is a resident of Centerville. Readers can write him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his blog at nscsense.blogspot.com.