Roy Moore lost the Alabama election for U.S. Senate because black voters were bused in from out-of-state to vote illegally, giving Doug Jones a narrow 20,000-vote theory.
You can read it on the Internet, so it must be true.
It is as true as the claim, touted by our Twitterer-in-Chief for as long as it suited his desire to get people upset, that former President Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
And did you know that the Earth is hollow and is filled with aliens?
What? You had not known that?
Shame! You have been deficient in your Googling.
You don’t use Google to find out what is “really” happening out there?
Well, how about the “Lyndon Johnson Killed John F. Kennedy” story?
It must also be true, because last week, you could read it in any supermarket checkout line.
This is what happens when we become fearful.
Fear is the mind-killer. It suffocates reason. It makes us deny what we do see, and believe in what we really did not see.
“Was that something moving around out there in the dark, or was that the wind whipping the tree branches? It was big!”
Hmm. “Big.” Big .... Big ... BIG ... BIGFOOT!
Next thing ya know: “Bigfoot was HERE! Right over THERE! I SAW him!”
Now, a half-century and more later, I still do not definitively know who shot and killed President Kennedy in 1963. I do know that John Wilkes Booth shot and killed President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 — although some of you who are reading this will shout, “No! No!” because of course you can find on the Internet that General (later President) Grant had Lincoln killed.
This morning, when I awoke to outside temperatures of 3 degrees, I was tempted to post on the Internet that black people had been bussed into western Pennsylvania specifically to lower the temperature, and that our current cold spell has nothing to do with global warming, or with just what we ought to expect from winter in these parts.
But if I did that, would I start another conspiracy theory?
There are times when it does no harm to reject reality.
Watching “Road Runner” cartoons is one of those times. I mean, who really believes that Wile. E. Coyote can fall off those high cliffs, land with a “Poof!” and then get right back to chasing the Road Runner again?
Rejecting reality can be fun. As kids, Denny Davis and I used to fasten bath towels around our necks with big diaper-holding safety pins, then leap onto and off a bed, playing “Superman” — until his mother or my mother put a shouted stop to that, anyway.
We could not fly.
But heck, it was fun to pretend we could fly.
The stupidity comes in when we actually come to believe what simply is not supported by the evidence.
Back to Roy Moore’s black voters bussed in from out-of-state. Which states did they come from? Yellow school buses or hired travel coaches? Which towns did they go to? Who let them vote? At what time(s) of day? Where were the election officials who either know me by name or ask me my name and address, then cross-check it with their registration lists?
Roy Moore was an extremist long before he ran for the Senate. Like President Trump, he got to high office by playing on people’s fears.
But Trump won the 2016 election, narrowly but fairly.
Moore lost his special election, but cannot admit that people would see him for the bigoted sourpuss that he actually is, with or without the allegations of past gropings of underage girls.
That’s what happens when we reject reality.
At the moment, I am uncomfortably enduring treatments for bladder cancer, including coping with a stent that keeps open a ureter tube between a kidney and my bladder. That stent sends pains, sometimes sharp and sometimes dull, along a nerve pathway from above my hip to below my groin every time I need to use a bathroom.
That pain is reality.
I could decide to not have cancer any longer. I could tell the doctors to remove the stent, because I am going to go mountain climbing. I could stop treatments. I could stop paying attention to getting enough rest, to eating in a healthy fashion, etc.
But I won’t.
I am not that stupid.
I am also not stupid enough to believe, with no evidence, the rantings of a sour old man in Alabama that he lost an election because phantom black voters were bussed in from out-of-state by the tens of thousands.
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Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org