“In order to understand more it is imperative that we improve our knowledge before choosing which side of the fence we feel compelled to belong.” (J.P. Robinson)
You might have fallen in in love with a beautiful mermaid. Or perhaps you could profess holding a meaningful conversation with a leprechaun, elf, or even a green headed space alien. The list of possibilities for alternative truth thus seemed endless at the annual indoor convention of the “Flights of Imagination Society” held during the second week of November in Memphis, Tennessee. You might wonder then what were these predominately unmasked participants like, that so fervently dedicated their vacation time to redefine their own realities of life during this “electric” vibe spectacle. As I curiously strolled amid the energized crowd during the three day festivities, I can share with you some captivating observations where seemingly no one was “playing possum” with their deep seated beliefs.
You might know then the majority of the attendees I met led seemingly routine lives on the surface as tax paying, middle class Americans. Yet underlying such apparent normality, it became clear to me upon closer inspection that an intense level of distrust in scientific fact and established truth pervaded the crowd atmosphere here. On several occasions on the floor of the indoor auditorium, for instance, I noted how so many of them vocally expressed their discontent with scouring traditional sources of information like printed newspapers and electronic social media. It follows from these conversations that they accordingly foresaw no drawbacks in subscribing to alternative dogma supportive of extremist cults and conspiracy theories prevailing amid the country today.
Let’s examine a few individuals more deeply that I conversed with in perusing the various promotional exhibits during these sessions. I thus vividly recall Mary and John, two backwoods rebels in Maine, who swore blind rejection of science in feverish praise, while boldly stating as well that they believed a species of reptilian lizards was currently running a dysfunctional government in this country. Then there was Glenn and Joe from Alabama, whose extreme right wing advocacy as part of the “Bringum Boys” movement publicized that public school children were being poisoned by morning juice boxes that turned them “gay.” Of final note, I reveal my intimate conversation with old timers Wendell and Allie, two devout Christian ranchers from Texas, whose spiritual compass revealed to me a belief in their “flesh and blood” conversation at a crop- circles field with the physical presence of God.
On the last day of the convention, an unexpected event happened that severely impacted the closing proceedings. For on that fateful Saturday morning of November 9th, a “dead silence” ensued in the auditorium upon hearing media reports that the current President of the States had been defeated in the present election. But what happened after that moment can be best described as pure chaos as vengeful shouts of anger intensified amid the stunned throng throughout the remainder of that morning. I slowly concluded then how deeply revered the dethroned “King of Conspiracy Theory” had been to so many of these mutinous disobeyers of fact at this festival. Great optimism exploded in my mind for I now realized that today’s victory for truth and reason would become the correct path for healing my county’s current woes in the years ahead.