The Arizona Republic
Apr. 24, 2008 12:00 AM
Politics on the edges has an odd circularity to it sometimes.
The extreme right and the extreme left have a way of connecting, almost cosmically. They often link arms against foreign entanglements such as Iraq and the intrusions of the national government into our private lives.
For vastly different reasons, they share the (not outlandish) belief that centralized power in Washington, D.C., is a dangerous thing. They just tend to . . . take . . . it . . . a . . . bit . . . far.
Which brings us to the great unifying essence that connects eccentrics at both our political poles: the conspiracy theory. On both the far left and far right, the totem at the tippy top is that they're out to get us. And we all know who they are.
State Sen. Karen Johnson, R-Mesa, recently demonstrated her membership in this club.
The state Senate, at long last, appeared poised to finally - finally! - end the debate over what sort of remembrance phrases Arizona's 9/11 Memorial should include. The legislation would have extracted some locutions that appear to be critical of the U.S.
A vote in the Senate Appropriations Committee had the measure passing narrowly - until it came to Johnson, whose vote against changing the memorial's phrases created a tie, killing the legislation for now.
"There are many of us that believe there's been a cover-up," she told Capitol reporters about the terrorist attacks.
The senator gave details about her theories. The World Trade Center buildings could have been rigged with thermite to melt girders. The aircraft could have been drones rather than the commercial airliners most of us thought we saw crashing into the Twin Towers. As to what became of the missing passengers in the aircraft that (theoretically) did not explode against the towers: "That's what I would like to know," she said.
Now, we take no issue with private citizens believing whatever fever-swamp nonsense, however outlandish, they wish about their government.
We do take serious issue, however, with a public official affecting public policy on such grounds.
If Johnson truly maintains mere "questions" about the events surrounding the 9/11 attacks, she should have declined to vote. The likely truth of it, though, is that she really does believe her government capable of destruction of the highest order and is happy to express her delusions not just as a private citizen but as an elected official.
Johnson reportedly will not seek re-election this fall. After hearing her 9/11 fantasies, we heartily approve.