Commentary: Lies and election season lunacy

The Kansas City StarAugust 21, 2010 

This being an election year, the lies are flying like beer bottles in a bar fight.

Take this idiotic "ground zero mosque" debate that's all based on myth and ignorance.

First of all, it's not a mosque. It's an Islamic cultural center that includes a place to worship. Second, it's not at ground zero, but two blocks away.

But the much bigger lie is this notion that building the "mosque at ground zero" would somehow insult the memory of those who died on 9/11 because the terrorists who hijacked the plane were themselves Muslim.

Well, so were many of their victims. And even it were an affront, which it's not, it is perfectly within the rights of the … no, let's stop right there.

See how they suck you in? The reason certain politicians and their enablers in the media start irrational arguments like this one is to divert attention from things that really matter.

Like the fact that millions of people are out of work and millions more worry that they may be out of a job soon.

What our leaders need to be focusing on is how to get us out of this financial quagmire. Instead, they squabble over symbolism because that's easier than accomplishing something.

Here's a local example: voter fraud in Kansas. There's simply no proof that a significant problem exists. Yet the Republican candidate for secretary of state, Kris Kobach, says we must stamp out voter fraud.

Acts as if election fraud is rampant in the Sunflower State. Implies that hordes of illegal immigrants are scheming to influence the outcome of school board and city council elections across the state.

Well, if that were true, then how did Kobach win the GOP nomination?

So it goes every election season. Politicians on the right and the left play us for fools.

A few years ago, Republicans urged the electorate to "save marriage" when it didn't need saving. Democrats regularly try to get senior citizens' votes by accusing conservatives of wanting to wipe out Social Security.

Party hacks on both sides of the aisle are so accustomed to passing off fiction as fact that they stop knowing the difference.

Problem is, the distortions seem to be having an ever greater effect in this age of 24/7 cable news and the Internet.

Take that Pew Center poll out this week showing that a majority of Americans either think President Barack Obama is a Muslim or they're not sure what religion he is.

Hard to believe, given that the non-issue of just two summers ago centered on the influence candidate Obama's fiery evangelical Christian pastor had on his beliefs.

Either the American public can't hold a thought for long, or it's getting dumber by the minute.

Probably both.

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