By ADAM DAVIS
Perhaps you’ve gotten those chain emails in the past — the ones claiming Barack Obama is a socialist, communist, Nazi, Islamist or some combination of those things, forwarded to you from some obscure relative or friend. As a rational person, you probably laughed it off and moved it to the junk folder, but you may have also wondered at some point, as I have, where such insane theories were coming from. These assertions, after all, were ones that even the “respectable” conservative outlets would shy away from.
Unfortunately, I’m not familiar with the inner workings of the ultra-conservative blogosphere, so to me the ultimate source of such lunacy remains a mystery. But in an intellectually masochistic web surfing session recently, I managed to stumble upon what just might be the ultimate database of every crazy, unsubstantiated claim ever made by your Tea Party uncle at a family gathering or by a Breitbart commenter with a screen name along the lines of “TexasVet1776.” It is here that every politician in the capitalist Democratic Party is exposed as an evil Manchurian Candidate, and where even the most moderate representative is revealed to be Ché Guevara in a business suit. This website is KeyWiki.
To give you an idea of the depth of KeyWiki’s insane paranoia, their page on Hilary Clinton features a section about support she has received from Bernard Rapoport, who the article refers to, with no hint of irony, as a “marxist leaning businessman.” It also manages to present Clinton’s approval for famed labor leader Cesar Chavez in a negative light, and bring up the old bogeymen Saul Alinsky and George Soros.
Local Congressional candidate Martha Robertson ’75 has also managed to earn herself a short entry, which points out her attendance at a rally at which the Democratic Socialists of America were also present. The purpose of this rally was to support the Employee Free Choice Act, which aimed to “amend the National Labor Relations Act to establish an efficient system to enable employees to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts, and for other purposes.” In the world of KeyWiki, these are radical goals.
And the website’s many pages go on like this. If you’re feeling up to it, go to the site and punch in the name of any Democrat in Congress, and prepare to learn all sorts of fun facts about their radical leftist backgrounds.
Maybe we can dismiss KeyWiki and the seemingly infinite number of similar right wing conspiracy theorist websites as laughable relics of the McCarthy era, populated solely by the lunatic fringe. But the sad truth is that a substantial amount of people read such websites and take the information on them seriously. We can hope that the democratic process does its best to cancel out the voices of such people, but the fact that anyone can see a Democratic politician or a wealthy businessman and think “Marxist” is more than a little disheartening to me.
Adam Davis is a freshman in the School of Industrial and Labor Relations. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.