In my American Politics through Film class I teach a session on “Conspiracy Theories”. It fascinates me that human beings who can barely remember what they had for breakfast and make it through one day without a disaster (like me) think that organizations/families/religions run the world in a detailed day to day fashion and manage to keep it a secret. The cartoon above is very disturbing so my apologies but it is a classic. I pulled it off of a alt right Twitter feed I follow (it is shrinking my soul). The theme is Trump Draining the swamp but in the swamp are conspiracy theory favorites old and new.
Of course the oldest conspiracy theory is Satan. The second oldest would have to do with Judaism. Both are represented in the cartoon with a giant demon (the deep state — remember, a conspiracy theory is “all bad stuff” so “all bad stuff” is “the deep state”) We used to call it the bureaucracy.
But the deep state is deeper. There are “the Rockefellers” and the “Bilderbergers” in the background. George Soros is a vulture on a tree. The deep state demon is all seeing and its eyes are the CIA and the NSA. The Federal Reserve bank and the Capitol are both sinking into the swamp. John Podesta is an octopus with a Satanic symbol (also looking like a Star of David) in one tentacle and a piece of pizza and a hot dog in others. In case people don’t get the “Pizzagate” reference (which is so bizarre as to defy belief that anyone believes it) there is a child in another tentacle. Although not overtly Anti-Semitic anyone who follows conspiracy theories will recognize symbols used for centuries like the Vulture and the Octopus to represent, as Henry Ford used to say, the “World Wide Jewish Conspiracy”.
Such theories, as they seek to explain “all bad things” have to incorporate new developments and we see them swimming in the swamp. There are the Bushes and Clintons. There is John McCain and, of course, Barack Obama. The FBI isn’t ignored either. Only the great hero, Donald Trump, stands behind this mighty cabal and “real” people.
It would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. They work in insidious ways. Our President tried to convince people for years that Barack Obama wasn’t a citizen. Think what this would require? Dozens if not hundreds of people in Kenya and Hawaii would have had to coordinate to keep the actual birth data secret. Anyone involved in the actual birth would have been silent for years (family, doctors, nurses, midwives, etc). It is ridiculous. But people believe things if it fits into their narrative. One popular narrative in parts of the U.S. is the “woe is me” narrative. One variation of this is the “They can always disrespect Christianity but we can’t say anything” narrative. I was on Facebook the other day (a rare occurrence, I was looking for someone’s email and I noticed an indignant post from an old High School classmate (I guess we are all old). It talked about how awful it was the NBC (I think) edited out the mention of Christ by the widow of a Navy Seal. The young man had been killed in action. It was a classic story. A brave American hero, a believing Christian (both are true I’m sure) having his basic belief ignored by the MSM (the MSM also features in the cartoon). The only problem is it isn’t true. First, the Seal’s death took place in 2011 so it was 6 years before. Second, everyone in the interview mentioned God and it wasn’t edited out. It may have been cut for size in some affiliates (6 years ago) but that is pretty hard to a) figure out and b) figure out if was on purpose. The post got a lot of comments like “Amen” and “Why are they allowed to do that?”. Here is a great web site that is aimed at getting behind such stories.