Written by Dominic Dezzutti

Trust No One, was the mantra of the X-Files television series that followed the unbelievable investigations of Agents Scully and Mulder. It applied well to the conspiracy laden series, and it seems equally applicable to our current political climate.

The death of Osama Bin Laden has brought an insatiable need for conspiracy theorists to go into overdrive. Astoundingly, there are actually some who think gruesome photos would somehow satiate this group. Equally unbelievable are the growing groups of people who are casting doubt on the idea that Osama Bin Laden is dead because of changing details from the evening’s events.

It appears that it’s easier to believe that our President, with the help of the Navy Seals, and the Pakistani Military Institute, concocted a scheme to get a jump in the polls in 2011, than it is to believe that we actually found America’s most hated enemy.

I honestly believe that if we had video of Osama Bin Laden, saying he was Osama Bin Laden, showing his passport to the Supreme Court Chief Justice, outside the Lincoln Memorial, live on The Amazing Race, and someone would still be convinced that the government was making it up.

While that is a bit of a stretch, I think you know what I mean.

It just looks like it’s easier to imagine a full-blown conspiracy than it is to apply common logic to the situation. For example, if President Obama concocted Osama Bin Laden’s death for political gain, wouldn’t it be political suicide when the real Bin Laden popped his head up in Afghanistan holding today’s newspaper?

Sadly, creating conspiracies isn’t a talent that belongs to one political party. Tea Party activists and Republicans are dominating the conspiracy spotlight right now, but Democrats and Truthers held the conspiracy stage throughout President George W. Bush’s presidency. Conspiracy knows no party affiliation.

It seems that being in the political minority has incapacitated our ability to believe anyone in power from the other party. Why is disbelief the only form of political disagreement in our current collective discourse?

Has our inability to agree with each other devolved to the point that not only must leaders in an opposing party be liars, but also orchestrators of grandiose lies that rival some X-Files scripts?

There’s always going to be conspiracy theorists out there, and frankly, it would be un-American for them to disappear. But the fact that these theories are getting more and more coverage and are becoming talking points for elected officials is a sign that we’re finding it hard to accept anything good happening under the watch of anyone we disagree with.

That frame of mind cannot be good for our government or our society. Leaders who disagree can still create quality policy. In fact, Coloradans seem to enjoy split legislatures, so it can be reasoned that at least locally, we prefer policy created by leaders who disagree.

But if our leaders adopt the idea that the opposing party must not only be wrong, but also be a pack of liars, the odds of ever getting to that “quality policy” moment are very low.

I’m the last guy that would suggest that we accept everything that comes out of our elected leaders’ mouths as truth and gospel. However, if we want to see the very best policies created, and the highest quality political discussion, we’re going to have to accept the point that sometimes people we disagree with have good ideas and have the capacity to lead.

Or we can always go with the idea that those that we disagree with are in cahoots with the Smoking Man. Either method would work.

About The Blogger

– Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti also produces the Emmy winning Colorado Inside Out, hosted by Raj Chohan, on Colorado Public Television.

  1. bammy wammerson says:

    “…wouldn’t it be political suicide when the real Bin Laden popped his head up in Afghanistan holding today’s newspaper?.” Just the fact that you, Dom Dezzutti, blogger extroardinaire and apparent voice of reason for the front range, had to use some sort of hastily piled together logic to mildly refute these conspiracy claims, shows just how deeply entrenched mistrust, fear, and the need to concoct wild accusations are in our society. I think you missed a couple of points, though. First, unlike the 9/11 truthers, those morons who think the moon landing was faked, or any other conspiracy theorists for that matter, you can’t deny the political boon the Obama administration stands to receive from Bin Laden’s death. It is a very real and tangible one. Conspiracy or not, this looks pretty good for the President. Or, in the language of conspiracy theorists: he had motive. But the more important point is what do conspiracy theories say about the societies that concoct them? They say they are mistrusting. They say they are trying desperately to make sense of the chaotic world around them and often times can only do that with wild speculation. Is this really such a bad thing? That people are mistrusting of their government and the media? That they have become cynical and wary of the powers that be and the status quo? That now, rather than accepting blindly what their leaders (and journalists) tell them, they look defiantly for the ‘man behind the curtain’? Even if he may not be there? Here’s a conspiracy theory for you: who stands to lose the most from a distrustful public? How about the politicians and journalists who for so long have enjoyed an almost infantile gullibility from their audience? It wouldn’t be too much of a leap in logic to theorize as to the real reason someone like yourself in the media would seek to dissuade his readers from wild conjecture. “Remain calm. All is well.” Always the voice of reason, aren’t you? Okay, you get the belabored point. I’m not saying for a minute I put much faith in conspiracy theories. In fact, my feelings about most of them would require me to use language inappropriate for a forum such as this. But I will say that I think questioning, no matter how daft and irrational, is a good thing in our society. It shows that we’re growing to the next level of self awareness as a culture and that we have taken a tentative baby step into the real world, not one sanitized for our consumption by our leaders and the media.

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