Generally, I don’t spend much time bellyaching over the more ridiculous beliefs some people hold. It’s a big world out and some pretty bizarre ideas occupy the minds of small numbers of our fellows, most of which do not obtain a wider purchase. However, I have not yet forgotten the “Swift Boat Incident.” When John Kerry, a former U.S. Senator from Massachusetts and current Secretary of State, was running for President, advertisements were run claiming that he did not deserve the combat medals he received during the Vietnam war, a war of which he had been highly critical. At the time, Kerry’s campaign decided that it would be better to ignore what they felt was an obvious lie so as not to give it credence. That decision has since been reevaluated, and now many people feel that it is better to refute lies that may seem to some to be self-evidently untrue.
Consequently, I have decided to inaugurate an occasional series, naming it after the saying, “A lie will go round the world while truth is pulling its boots on.”
Via RawStory, I came across a video in which “Joseph Farah — founder of the ‘Birther’ conspiracy website WorldNetDaily — interviewed African-American conservative Star Parker, who warned that President Barack Obama’s government is going to turn America into an openly gay nation of emotionless, disconnected zombies like ‘in Europe,’ who exalt ‘vileness.'”
Parker’s assertion strikes me as so obviously untrue as to need no contradiction.
“But the laws, um, the laws that are pushing homosexuality out into society,” said Parker, “when, when, when you have this type of vileness exalted, the wicked go on the prowl. That’s what the Proverbs says, is that if the wicked can now go on the prowl, people with the resources will now pull away, and so they become much more private.”
She concluded, “So while you have ill activity now in the public square, you have those decent people and quiet communities becoming much more, you know, refined, and more closed. And that’s not healthy for us as a society because when you go start walking out in the public square and nobody talks to each other, that’s what they do in Europe. They’re just a bunch of zombies and we don’t want that as Americans.”
Now, my first reaction is to just say to myself, “She’s nuts,” shrug, and look at something more interesting. Then I remembered my cousin who, when I had recently returned from a trip to Florence, said to me, “Oh, I always wanted to go to Italy.” Unfortunately, she probably never will. To put it briefly, she’s had a hard life, she’s been a single mother and has had four children, one of whom died in infancy, and she’s mainly worked menial jobs. She can’t even always afford an internet connection. The reality is that some people have a smaller window onto the world than others among us. So maybe when I see a video of a woman confidently asserting that Europeans don’t talk to one another “in the public square,” the impulse to laugh and ignore it is the wrong one. So, as silly as I feel saying it, if anyone is in any doubt, Europeans are anything but “a bunch of zombies.”
First of all, I’m saying this as an American. Secondly, I’m a fairly pro-American American. Lastly, I happen to have viewed this video while staying in Europe. I’ve been traveling alone and, consequently, have found myself talking to a wide variety of people. Just last night, I didn’t feel like being alone, so I went out to a bar. A young man came up to me and asked if was alone. When I said, “yes,” he said, “Come, join my friends.” Which I did, and I had a very nice time. I’ve not only talked to people in bars, but in cafes, museum and, indeed, very literally in public squares – and I’m actually a little bit shy, which means people are reaching out to me.
So, I’m tempted to laugh at this woman, Star Parker, but I shouldn’t laugh. I should refute her, which is what I’m doing.