This morning, I checked my e-mail and found the following prophetic note:
Come the millennium, month 12,
In the home of the weakest power,
The village idiot will come forth
To be acclaimed the leader.
Wow, I thought to myself! The Supreme Court's selection of King George the Second must have been foretold in the stars. You can't mistake that prophetic passage for anything but a 450-year-old fortune of cosmic significance. Right?
Wrong. This, the latest in a series of chain letters, is a fib (I won't name the person who sent me the letter, for fear of embarrassment). My first clue to the phony nature of this prophecy is that it just fit too well. I'm no fan of George W. Bush, and I'd love it if he were referred to by a great and powerful mystic as a "village idiot", but it just didn't happen that way. Confirmation of the hoax came from the Nostradamus Repository, an online record of the sage's actual quatrains. It's just another Urban Legend shooting around the 'Net.
I happen to think that most of these hoaxes circulating around folks' e-mail in-boxes are cute, fun and harmless. But when they are crafted to affect important real-world matters, they become irresponsible. Worse, they are a distraction from the real issues that are much more important. Like the attribution of Dan Quayle quotes to George W. Bush, the fake Nostradamus fortune makes hating Bush all too easy: he's either a blithering idiot or some spiritually-foretold AntiChrist. If these things were actually true, then we wouldn't have to work at justifying our opposition to the President. How easy. How convenient.
To a large degree, the hatred toward Bill Clinton was whipped up like this by Republican operatives. Ask a righteous conservative on the wrong day, and Clinton not only was a liar and a cheat, but also a murderer who would love to eat your children. How did the majority react to such rantings? We dismissed them, and the folks who engaged in them, as kooky.
Let's not give the minority who support Bush any opportunity to similarly dismiss us as nuts. There are too many real reasons out there to oppose Bush's pseudo-Presidency:
...and on and on. Let's focus on these and other valid objections to the Bush regime, not on some silly and demonstrably false mystical revelations. The direction of this country is too important to be based on urban legends.
Irregular Times require talking back.
Give us your Irregular Retorts!
We are also eagerly awaiting original submissions of quality irregularity.