Those baseless conspiracies born in the caverns of Trumpworld

Hystericons have driven themselves to distraction by focusing their view of reality on the most obscure, arcane and disconnected fragments of truth blended with an unhealthy dose of fantasy and a cocktail of woozy fabrication. Do not follow them down the rabbit hole.

A letter by Mathew Alig in the Sept. 9 issue of our heroic keeper of the facts, the Tribune-Star NEWSpaper, excoriates the mainstream media and suggests that virtually all journalistic reporting is simply a “cover-up” and that anyone who attempts to expose the media as a mechanism for cover-ups “risks being labeled a ‘conspiracy theorist.’” “ Mr. Alig then attempts to bash the mainstream media by putting forth several “conspiracy theories,” presumably some of his personal favorites.

For example, according to Mr. Alig, World Trade Tower 7’s 2001 collapse on 9-11 “conveniently destroyed” records related to Enron. “Convenient to whom?” one must dutifully inquire. (So, the terrorists had a secret agenda to aid certain unnamed U. S. officials?) He places blame baselessly on “the American security apparatus” which, one supposes, is code-speak for the FBI,CIA, Secret Service, Homeland Security, and the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. The inticacies of his logic will stretch your pantyhose.

And Mr. Alig adds a kicker or two. He proposes that the mass shooter at the Mandalay Bay parking lot country music festival last year was actually a Muslim terrorist attack directed at Christians, not an indiscriminate act of a deranged murderer with a bump-stock rifle. His “evidence” of this is full of suppositions, what-ifs, perhapses, maybes, and conjecture. The threads of his would-be story are too gossamer to weave.

Don’t look now but Mr. Alig would also have us believe that the only reason the U.S. military has a presence in Afghanistan is so that “we” can control the heroin trade. One wonders if the troops are aware of this. The whole world is one big conspiracy, right?

Mr. Alig apparently resides in Trumpworld, where truth is to be found only in the President’s tweets or Limbaugh’s rants. Alig’s perspective aligns neatly with the twisted, angry outlook Trump has offered by the truckload to his hysterically conservative base, his legion of followers. It fuels their angst-ridden, make-believe existence.

Mr. Alig scarcely mentions Trump by name and does not overtly express the term “fake news” but it is clear he endorses the Trump perspective: that anything not adhering to and promoting the Trump agenda and ultra-conservative dialogue is deliberately false reportage.

As a side note, one of Trump’s principal (and primary) Camp Pain promises was to end the endless stream of government leaks and to curtail the press’s use of anonymous sources. Instead, there are “snakes everywhere” within the hand-picked inner circle at the White House. The information sieve has been opened like a floodgate. And it goes well beyond the recent “anonymous” article in the New York Times.

Mainstream media though imperfect is not the problem. There is a big fat liar in the White House. That’s the problem. President Trump is not a man of good report.

Mr. Alig (and many others) have carved out for themselves a dank cavern of politically conservative obsessions wherein lies a dark and troubling presence. Admittedly, the elevated sense of anxiety experienced by those addicted to conspiracy theory yields a certain radical burst of exhilaration (as opposed to mundane reality) but I do not care to join you in your little spider-hole of self-induced and purposefully misdirected paranoia Mr. Alig, nor will I come to visit you.

— Clay Wilkinson, Terre Haute 

Religion, joyful and meaningful

This is in response to articles by Mark Bennett, “A lasting impression” (2018-07-21) and by Mike McCormick, “The Extraordinary Art of Ada Shulz” (2018-08-12).

I read with interest two recent articles in the Tribune-Star about artist Ada Walter Shulz, a founding member of the Brown County Art Colony. Both articles are lovely tributes to a fine artist.

I’ve spent many happy hours viewing paintings by artists of that group. I love the subjects of Shulz’s paintings — mostly women and children of Brown County. She once explained that while most artists of the time painted landscapes without people in them, “Children and sunlight were always ringing in my ears. Would they not bring joy to the heart if painted right?”

My family has lived near Nashville, Indiana, for many years. While Ada was a couple of generations older than my mother, it’s likely they both attended the same sweet Christian Science Society, which is still holding services in Nashville, Brown County, Indiana.

It’s Shulz’s connection to Christian Science that I’d like to expand on. She was, indeed, a member of the Church of Christ, Scientist, which is most widely known for its practice of healing through prayer. In fact, many local Hoosiers, then and now, have found the emphasis of the church on practical Christianity — a Christianity in which the teachings of Christ Jesus bring comfort and peace, as well as healing to the sick — to be deeply meaningful.

This conviction that God’s healing love is available to us now rests on actual experience and the ethics of the Golden Rule, rather than dogma. It leaves to each church member the rights of conscience in choosing for themselves about every area of their lives, including health matters.

Back in 1906, the Tribune-Star (then The Star) published an editorial at the dedication of The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, referring to the healing practices of this church:

The dedication of The Mother Church of Christian Science at Boston is an event of impressiveness and momentous significance [as is] the denomination’s peculiar department of healing, whose efficacy to some extent is established beyond cavil. ... It is to be said for Christian Science that no person’s spiritual aspirations were ever deadened or his moral standards debased through its agency. Its communicants ... shed sunshine about them — no insignificant element in true Christianity.

Over many decades, Christian Scientists from Terre Haute have felt God’s power to lift suffering, and have testified to it during their weekly Wednesday church meetings and through the pages of a denominational magazine, The Christian Science Journal. They’ve told of healings related to broken bones (confirmed by X-ray), rheumatism, heart problems, flu, a mangled finger, addictions, pain during dentist visits, grief after the death of a loved one, rheumatic fever, and more. 

Of course, no list of conditions met can adequately represent the spiritual uplift that comes with spiritual healing.

As one member explained about her own experiences — perhaps in a way that Ada would have approved — she was grateful to God “for the peace and comfort, joy and strength that pass human understanding,” which had come to her as a Christian Scientist through this spiritual practice and heartfelt worship of God.

— Sharon Andrews, Christian Science Committee on Publication for Indiana

Bloomington

Half-truths in name of politics

I wish Mr. Rosenthal could have read Brian Howey’s words on “Mexico Joe and China Mike” before sending his letter to the paper. The people in politics like to take half-truths and make them seem credible.

The laws and procedures on arresting and detaining illegals were on the books and being followed under the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations. Where were the Democrats and ACLU during those years?

While it is a shame that children are taken from their parents for the parents’ crime of crossing our boarder, in some cases it may be the best thing if the parent committed murder or rape while here. He stated that now only 565 remain separated.

I have read that between 7,000 and 10,000 children in the U.S. are separated from both their parents. Some are in the service overseas and some are in prison. Those children of servicemen are probably with their relatives. Mom and pop may be in jail for drugs or other crimes.

Following your so-called logic of comparing Trump to Hitler and the Nazi crimes, shouldn’t we go after those in power before Trump just like all connected with the Holocaust were? I just hope I didn’t open a can of worms here and see that you and the ACLU now want bigger jails so the kids can serve time with their parents.

— David Marter, Terre Haute 

Remember the farm animals

I just learned that there is a World Day for Farm Animals, coming up on Oct. 2 (Gandhi’s birth date). It’s intended to memorialize the billions of animals abused and killed for food each year.

Like many others, I always thought of farm animals as “food on the hoof.” But, after watching the deeply moving feature film okja on Netflix, I realized that a farm animal is much like our family dog, fully deserving of compassion and respect.

An internet search showed me that farm animals get neither on today’s factory farms. Male baby chicks are suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground up alive. Laying hens are crowded into small wire cages that tear out their feathers. Breeding sows spend their lives pregnant in metal cages. Dairy cow babies are snatched from their mothers upon birth, so we can drink their milk.

The cruelties inherent in factory farming drove me to replace animal products in my diet with a rich variety of plant-based meats and dairy items offered by my supermarket. I have since learned that my cruelty-free diet is also great for my health and for the health of our planet.

— Theo Mattson, Terre Haute