Obama's garden shoots controversy

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The Internet is wonderful. I get a lot of news feeds via email and RSS, much more news, and a wider variety, than one would ever get when print media was the only real source for an in-depth look at what was going on in the world. I get stuff from the left, the right and the mushy middle. Some of it is interesting, some hilarious and some even frightening.

My biggest laughs come from the so-called conservative news services. There are days when I wonder what planet some of the people whose articles appear in them really live on. Their reality certainly doesn't seem actually connected to anything on this one. Of course it is a misnomer to call these people conservative, they wandered way off of the field of real conservatives years ago. They are what we now call neo-conservatives, and what I prefer to call more precisely, nut bars.

These are the people who helped take over the United States in the last few decades, culminating with the disastrous administration of Dick Cheney and his sock puppet, George W. Bush. Their mouthpieces are hate mongers like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage and the usual gang of idiots at Fox News. Their Canadian cousins, who are a bit more low key, are some of the folks who gave us the Reform Party which became the Conservative Party after snatching the body of Canada's real conservative party, the Progressive Conservatives.

A recent example of how fruity these folks can be is what one journalist has labelled Watercressgate. This has to do with a vegetable garden that Michelle Obama and a group of school children planted at the White House in March. A garden to help promote healthful eating. In June, vegetables were being harvested and the children were chowing down on them while Mrs. Obama used the occasion to promote healthy practices and the President's health plan.

The right-wing nut bars went rabid, as usual. Claims were made that the vegetables were fake, a trick and that no garden could grow that fast. That they would say this speaks volumes about how bizarre these fruit cakes are. That anyone would actually believe them is a direct indication of how little some people engage in critical thinking, or much thinking at all before forming an opinion. Whether this is an indication of low IQ or just plain mental laziness on the part of people who follow these nuts is a good question.

One has to wonder, with all of the serious issues in the world to deal with, why is anyone choosing to make a vegetable garden contentious? Particularly so when the critics don't really have a leg to stand on. Washington, D.C., sits on about the 39th parallel, about 11 degrees further south than where I live, and the garden that I planted in March was starting into harvest in May and has been producing steadily since. I would be far more concerned if the White House garden was not ready for harvest.

If this incident were an anomaly it would be a passing amusement. Sadly, it is not. It epitomizes the quality of conservative opposition to the Obama administration, an administration whose policies have lots of areas to be intelligently critical about. Things like their waffling on health care reform, or the tepid and useless climate bill they support, or their pursuit of the needless war in Afghanistan. The list goes on, but instead we get too much attention directed at Obama's birth certificate. Say what? Say grasping a straws. Say the same for much of the other silly and unreal issues that these people choose to focus on.

So, what do we have? Given the continuous prominence of these nuts year after year what we must have is either a plot by the media barons to dumb down the population, or a population in which a large number truly are too intellectually challenged to tie their own shoe laces. If neo-conservatives were not so destructive to society,they would be simply an amusing farce.

Jerry West is the publisher, editor and janitor for The Record, an independent, progressive regional publication for Nootka Sound and Canada's West Coast.

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