Thursday, December 04, 2008

Why they’re called ‘wingnuts’

One of the main derogatory (only just) terms for extreme right wingers is “wingnut,” which is, obviously, derived from “right wing nut”. They call anyone they perceive as even slightly liberal or left of centre a “moonbat”, though there’s no agreement on the origin of the term (which seems to reinforce the feeling that wingnuts are a few sandwiches short of a picnic).

Anyway, I like the term. It’s short, a put down, but doesn’t use obscenities, even though swearing is so often justified when talking about wingnut ideology. It’s actually kinda cute in a way. However, there’s one wingnut fantasy going on right now that is so crazy that it reinforces a literal meaning to the word: Wingnuts claim that Barack Obama isn’t “really” a US citizen, and so, is ineligible to be President.

The only reason I’m mentioning it at all is that a wingnut anti-tax group has taken out full-page ads promoting their obsession. The Chicago Tribune, which published the ad, ran an excellent refutation of the absurd claims made. They also speculate that the group is seeking publicity for themselves. That’s obviously true, but I suspect that another purpose is to set-up some bizarre justification for treating the Obama presidency as illegitimate.

They’ve done this before. The wingnuts thought Bill Clinton’s 1992 election was “illegitimate”, and spent four years trying to tear him down by exaggerating claims of “scandals” that never were. When he was re-elected in 1996, they went into overdrive to try and drive him from office (and the main leader of that effort, Ken Starr, is now apparently leading the defence of the anti-gay Proposition 8 before the California Supreme Court).

So the wingnuts spent eight years undermining, sniping at, muckraking over, smearing and lying about Bill Clinton, and they seem to be preparing to do it all over again. I have absolutely no idea what their problem was with Clinton—he was hardly a liberal, after all. But their problem with Obama is obvious: He’s a black man.

Hatred is a funny thing. At first it may seem to the hater that they’re being reasonable and rational, but over time it consumes them, driving out all higher brain thought functions until, in the end, they become nothing but the hate. In the case of the extreme right, they then become the very definition of “wingnut”, demonstrating why the term was coined in the first place. The real tragedy is that such a term is needed at all.


d said...

If they really want to be weird and technical about things, McCain wasn't born in the US:


I do find it pretty rich, though, that people who are using illegal means to avoid taxes are so all-consumed with Obama's citizenship.

Question is, if their house catches on fire, will the local firefighters feel compelled to put it out?

Nik said...

These jerks make me so angry I can almost feel the steam leaking out. The sad part is while 90% of people will agree they're wingnuts, there's a creepy minority who will believe anything these racist, deluded fools can scrape up. Pathetic.

Arthur (AmeriNZ) said...

Dawn: Congress passed a resolution to make clear that McCain was qualified to run, but it should've been obvious: A child born overseas to two US citizens, as McCain was, is automatically a US citizen (and besides, the Canal Zone was US territory at the time). I think the connection to tax cheats is relevant: These are people who don't understand the Constitution or law, and so they're trying to make it say what they want it to. The truth doesn't change even when they stick their fingers in their ears, shut their eyes and hum "Nyah, nyah, nyah nyah, nyah..."

Nik: I completely agree. The bottom line is that wingnuts don't believe that a black person can be a "real" citizen. They weren't making these absurd claims about McCain, nor did they demand that any white candidate with an Anglo-sounding name produce their "original" birth certificate to "prove" their natural-born citizenship. But it's pointless to argue with them because their reading comprehension skills are pretty much zero—not to mention their critical thinking skills.

I just hope Obama's healthcare plan will have mental health coverage so these people can get the help they so obviously need.