paranoiaWhile ordinary politics attract people from across the political spectrum, a presidential campaign with an African American frontrunner is bound to attract a few people from the far reaches of the mental health universe. Recently I stumbled onto a blog that reminded me that not everyone experiences reality in the same time-space dimension as the rest of us.

“Texasdarlin’s” blog features many postings that highlight the vast left wing conspiracies that have coalesced to bring Obama to the cusp of electoral victory. The blog is a busy place, single-minded and shrill. It reminded me that just under the surface of the American electorate there are those who thrive on and are sustained by conspiracy theories.

The cognitive contortions that come with this kind of paranoia are almost amusing to watch. No amount of contrary evidence can change the conspiracy theorist’s mind. He needs only the flimsiest evidence to support his belief. Ironically, he uses the absence of evidence for a premise to confirm his belief. Case in point: a recent posting on the blog is titled, Did Michelle Admit that Barack is Indonesian? Update! The post is a confusing mashup of references to “African Press International,” which turns out to be another blog with a decidedly paranoid flavor. The upshot is that there are recordings of phone calls with Michelle Obama in which she purports to reveal that her husband in in fact an Indonesian citizen. And we know what that means, don’t we? Why does the Obama campaign hide this information?  And why won’t Obama’s colleges release his transcripts? (They’re unfamiliar with the Buckley Amendment guaranteeing privacy of educational records? It’s only 30 years old.)

There is no evidence out there supporting these theories, but there could be! And the harder we look, the better the conspirators hide it, so if we don’t find it, it proves we’re right! Reminds you of Alice in Wonderland, doesn’t it?

Conspiracy theorists enjoy the sense of self-importance that comes with their world view. It is a heady experience to believe that one is privy to a secret that no one else has discovered, is too blind to see or too dim to understand. It is intoxicating to imagine the fame when one’s suspicions turn out to be fact. Of course, that rarely happens, but that doesn’t deter the dedicated seekers of hidden truths. The truly paranoid person is a wizard at spotting facts, but miserable at connecting them.

After the election we’ll be able to enjoy the conspiracy theories explaining how Obama stole the election and how his mysterious, invisible supporters from distant lands are now controlling him. Of course, the obvious explanations for an election victory are a better platform, better campaigning, and resonating with the voters. But that’s just what they want you to believe!

Frankly, I recommend Abilify®, 10mg PO qam.

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