Homework for the Fearful

12/08/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Jesse Berney Freelance writer, Democratic strategist, and comedian

I suspect that most of the people who voted for John McCain were feeling OK when they woke up on November 5. They probably share our pride that we elected the first African-American to the White House. And while they wanted the other guy to win, President-elect Obama's approval ratings are high enough to make me think that most McCain voters aren't drowning in their sorrows.

But there is a group -- a pretty big group -- of McCain supporters who are absolutely devastated. The true believers, the Palinistas, the right-wing radicals are in a state of panic. We can't forget what these people actually believe: that Barack Obama is a Muslim terrorist with a hidden agenda to destroy the United States.

How do we convince them that this belief is wrong? You can't reason with the fundamentally unreasonable. You can't list the facts or show them Obama's agenda or speeches, because those can be explained away as part of the deception. The only people they believe are themselves and their fellow travelers.

And that's exactly who is going to have to convince them: themselves.

So I'd like like to offer a homework assignment to the people out there who think we've condemned our country to certain doom by electing Barack Obama.

Write down everything you think President Obama will do, contrary to his stated plans, to undermine our democracy, our economic system, and the American way of life.

I'm not talking about the parts of his plan you don't agree with. You may not want the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy to go away, and you may think that making health care available to all Americans is tantamount to socialism. That's too bad -- that's Obama's agenda, and if he follows the right advice, that's what America's going to get.

But if you believe he has been hiding his Muslim faith, that he has always had a plan to get into the White House and use his position there to destroy America, what exactly do you think he'll do as president to advance the goals of (as I think you'd put it) radical Islamofascist jihad?

Make your list, seal it in an envelope, and mark it "Not to be opened until President Obama leaves office."

Then on January 20, 2013 or 2017, when the 45th president takes the oath of office, I want you to open that list and see if any of your predictions came true.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can twist your facts and confuse your priorities. It drove a the most intense opposition to Obama's campaign. Millions of Americans think Barack Obama is the monster hiding under their bed. I urge them to crawl under there and give it a good look. You'll be surprised at what you see.