We live in an era in which it is fashionable in some quarters not simply to question the policies of an Obama, a Bush, or a Clinton; one has to call into question their very legitimacy. It is a cast of mind that allows one’s grievances to find refuge in conspiracy theories (Bush knew in advance about 9/11 and purposely lied about WMDs in Iraq; Bill Clinton was behind the “murder” of Vince Foster and a drug-smuggling operation at the Mena Airport; Barack Obama is a Muslim who was born in Africa).
Entertaining these myths and giving them wings is dangerous stuff. The reason is obvious: our nation depends on its citizens accepting the legitimacy of democratic outcomes, including ones that don’t go our way. If people believe without supporting evidence that our president is not just wrong but illegitimate, that he’s not simply misguided but malevolent, essential bonds of trust are ripped apart.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Peter Wehner writes at Commentary: