“Crazy” Isn’t Just A Song By Patsy Cline

I wish I had a dollar for every well-meaning liberal who is preaching the importance of listening to “the other side.” I grant you that such advice is reasonable when the “other side” is rational–when the “other guy” wants policy X and you want policy Y.

But I constantly read about the people who vote Republican these days, and I defy anyone to enter into a civil, reasoned conversation with individuals who hold these particular views.

Just two examples:

The first is from a report in The Washington Post about a Tennessee pastor named Greg Locke.  Locke, who is  45, is head of something called the Global Vision Bible Church, and he has–according to the Post– millions of followers, “many of them online.”  He gained national attention during the coronavirus crisis “when he kept his church open and defied the mask mandates of the ‘fake pandemic.'”

Locke is an “ambassador” of a movement where he and other pastors around the country appear at rallies and tent revivals preaching Donald Trump’s fraudulent claims that the election was stolen as a new holy war, according to Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, an organization dedicated to religious freedom.

Locke was on the Capitol steps on January 6th. He’s divided his small town on the outskirts of Nashville, “most recently with a book burning where he and followers threw copies of the “Harry Potter” and “Twilight” series and Disney villain merchandise into a giant bonfire. He has declared he now wants to “deliver” people from demonic influences and witchcraft.”

There’s much more, and it’s all pretty horrifying to those of us who neither burn books with which we disagree nor believe in demons and witchcraft.

If that isn’t enough crazy for you, I highly recommend this column by Dana Milbank, titled “I Tried Trump’s Truth Social So You Don’t Have To.” (“Truth Social,” you will recall, is Trump’s competitor to Twitter, which banned him. It has “truths” rather than “tweets” and has been mired in technical glitches.)

And what did Milbank “learn” from visiting “Truth Social”?

Hunter Biden is involved in building and running biolabs in the country.

The CIA and National Institutes of Health are both “deeply involved” in the Ukrainian biolabs.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was set in motion by a CIA false-flag operation that was funded by George Soros.

The covid-19 pathogen originated not in China but in Shpyl’chyna, a village in Ukraine.

The bioweapons developed in Ukraine specifically target the “Abrahamic Bloodline.”

Neo-Nazis from Ukraine joined with the FBI to infiltrate the Capitol on Jan. 6 and participated in the insurrection.

Ukraine was planning to use drones to attack Russia with pathogens from the U.S.-funded bioweapons labs.

President Biden has been using Ukraine to launder money.

Ukrainian neo-Nazis controlled the Ukrainian city of Mariupol before Russians invaded.

Russia’s alleged war crimes were staged.

I also found many posts calling President Biden a pedophile (or a “groomer” in the new parlance of QAnon). I found badly photoshopped images of Vice President Harris in sexualized situations. I found ceaseless attacks on trans people, an edited video of a cat attacking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attacks on Disney for opposing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” legislation, references to satanic sacrifice by the “deep state,” a few racist epithets and endless accusations about Hunter Biden’s laptop and drug abuse.

When Milbank looked for “hashtag Ukraine,” he found posts produced by Russian state propaganda, and a variety of doctored images–one showed Trump holding a sign saying “Zelensky is the Avenatti of leaders,” another was a doctored video of Putin saying “Let’s go, Brandon.” There were also posts accusing Ukrainian leaders of being corrupt, and a claim that Ukraine is “defending the NWO” — New World Order.

If you have the stomach for it, I encourage you to click through and read both the report on Locke, the Christian Nationalist preacher, and the column by Milbank. Then tell me how a rational person can have a respectful, productive exchange of views with people who firmly believe that LGBTQ+ people are the spawn of Satan (and that Satan is real!) and that Donald Trump really won the 2020 election,  (those inconvenient seven million more Biden votes were all fraudulent)….

I’m perfectly fine with the fact that many reasonable, sane people disagree with me on issues ranging from national health care to minimum wage to First Amendment jurisprudence. I promise that I can listen to those people, and engage in civil discourse with them.

I can’t–and won’t– sit down with the crazies.

What terrifies me is how many of them there are.


  1. Crazy, and a level of ignorance about actual history recent and not so, are the foundation of the modern GOP. I just argued with one who insisted Obama put us into a recession and trump rescued us. We see how the right treated Judge Jackson, someone they had over overwhelmingly approved her for a lower judgeship, using gotcha questions, smears, and outright lies. That side actually believes without thinking the hateful rubbish. SO far I haven’t run into anyone bragging about getting their “information” from “truth” but since it is a trump idea they probably can’t access it. We have been thru tough times before and ignorance and its associated hate has always been something that slowed down, occasionally reversing, our steps towards a “more perfect union”.

  2. Once again, I call hypochristians.

    How these idiots feel they are doing God’s bidding, astounds me daily. Not at all the God I know and worship.

  3. The problem with all those topics Milbank found are fragments of truths. Any one of us that posts here can concoct a good storyline with half-truths and sell it to people who will believe it. It’s done all the time to people who consume news on television.

    Again, give me the target markets and I can write multiple versions of the same story depending on my audience. It’s called Public Relations. Content creation. Digital storytellers.

    How much can your moral compass tolerate for the right salary?

    That is the only question.

    I could sell my craft to many a bidder, but can I go to sleep at night knowing what I am doing?

  4. Professor-this is one of your best columns, ever. Thank you. However, please do not denigrate Patsy Cline, or her classic song Crazy” by associating he piece with those people. Your final sentence above is the essence of the problem. Thank you for todays column. D

  5. I do not think we can educate the unwilling. We just have to defeat them. And, along these lines, I think the new Benjamin Franklin documentary by Ken Burns on PBS is well worth watching. Many parallels to today – families split permanently along political lines. How easily it could go either way. The importance of allies. Really good stuff. Yay for Ken Burns and PBS (again)

  6. We do not need to sit down with these “crazies” but we definitely do need to know what they are saying and about whom. It is all part of the old, tried and true adage, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” We need to know who they are and what we are fighting against at this time more than ever in our history because of the high level, many in our own government, of those “crazies” spreading the lies and accusations. Otherwise we are “tilting at windmills”.

  7. “There’s much more, and it’s all pretty horrifying to those of us who neither burn books with which we disagree nor believe in demons and witchcraft.” How can you NOT believe in demons and witchcraft with the likes of Greg Locke, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and Josh Hawley running around. It must be that they came to their current elevated positions through witchcraft. I can’t think of any rational explanation for their rise at all.

  8. Ms. Dunn’s compound word, ‘Hypocristians’ is wholly appropriate!

    Truth hurts, and, with those who are peddling their own versions of Truth (lies) it’s like poking a nest of self aggrieved Murder Hornets!

    In a letter to the Ephesian congregation in Ephesus, the apostle Paul was actually talking about this very thing, the deceit! “They are in darkness mentally and alienated from the life that belongs to God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the insensitivity of their hearts. Having gone past all moral sense they have given themselves over to brazen conduct to practice every sort of uncleanness with greediness.” (Ephesians 4:17 – 19)

    The version of the Bible called American Standard which is a Protestant translated bible, reads; “these are the things that ye shall do: speak ye every man the truth with his neighbor; execute the judgment of Truth and peace in your Gates; and let none of you devise evil in your hearts against his neighbor; and love no false oath: for all these are things that I hate, saith Jehovah.”(Zachariah 8:16, 17)

    Being ignorant while perpetuating a lie is really not an excuse. But they fall into a trap of not verifying anything they are told, usually because of laziness and fear! Those who are deceiving, willfully lie to mislead, so, they can garner an advantage over others for their own selfish gain!

    Locke, a useful idiot with visions of grandeur.

    Being ‘Willingly Deceitful’ to accomplish an agenda using religion as a tool. Locke and his ilk Rush towards their coveted reward! I just wonder what they think that reward is? It’s amazing what people will allow themselves, if they think they’re going to burn in Hell for an eternity, lol! As they say, like lambs to the slaughter!

    Having a clean conscience, would absolutely lead a person to conscientious trustworthiness, ‘but a corrupted conscience is really a lack of guardrails IE, impulsive, deceitful, and undisciplined!’

    What happened to Ananias at Acts 5: 3 – 5? I’m sure this is nothing that Locke has meditated on, but he really really should!

    The first letter to the Thessalonian congregation in Thessalonica, stated; “make it your aim to live quietly and to mind your own business and to work with your hands just as we instructed you, so that you may walk decently in the eyes of people outside and not need anything.”

    The clowns mentioned in Sheila’s article, don’t even remotely attempt to conduct themselves in a manner which would gain respect. They use fear of the unknown, and those who are fearful will continuously lie and deceive because of that very trait, Fear!

    People are afraid of death, and, me personally, I have died on the operating table a couple of times. And I guarantee you, there was no bright light or no searing flames. Really, you just go to sleep! But religion has manipulated their so-called flock, and not just Christianity, almost every religion has a burning hell or a wonderful heaven to go to. Why do they all have these dogma? Because they’ve all originated from the same source, and, it wasn’t a righteous source.

    I would venture to say that these folks are going to receive their comeuppance and soon, from Secular Authority.

  9. Yes. The marketing of insanity is now a going business venture among the deluded. As stated, it’s frightening that there are so many fellow travelers in these linked cults. Then, we only have to look at Germany’s horror show that began in 1932. Same sort of cultish thuggery. Same -almost exactly – sort of delusional propaganda. And how did that turn out?

    Since fascism is, by its nature, destructive to egalitarian societies, it is doomed to failure. Meanwhile, however, those pathetic wretches who feel aggrieved for one reason or another cling to the lies that allow them to not admit they made a mistake, or are wrong about…ANYTHING.

    Sadly, the real evil-doers wrap themselves in the flag, hold a Bible upside down and go about scaring the daylights out of the willfully ignorant who are so weak, mentally, that they must have some sort of charisma in their miserable lives. THAT IS WHERE THE CRAZY COMES FROM.

  10. Vern,

    Well said 👍

    Could they be looking for Amoral support? Or maybe Immoral?😠

  11. It is hard to draw a distinction between the legitimate fears and grievances of actual Conservatives and the ever growing attention-getters on the fringe of the GOP.
    I watch in horror as the GOP draws the US, and the rest of the free world, into a black hole of destruction and ignorance with disinformation and delusion, like a slow motion train wreck that I cannot look away from but am powerless to stop. Soon America will be at the event horizon and there will be no turning back. And by the time those who will have voted the GOP into power realize that they have been deceived it will be too late.
    Still, we must do what we can to resist, if for no other reason than to leave behind a record that there are some people who persisted against evil.

  12. At the risk of repeating myself…myself…myself….These folks and even the borderline crazies are lining up to run for school board, election official offices, etc. and fired up to vote for their kind. BUT, at best, they may be 20+ % of voters.

    The problem is that the other 80% are too busy arguing among themselves, giving up on government completely or having fun to care….and VOTE (especially in primaries and non-presidential elections).

  13. Lester,

    Yes to all of your comments. The evil of fascism/Republicans is manifested by the political sloth of the opposition – which is the great majority of citizens.

    In this case, we’ll get what we work for.

  14. Fruitcake preachers like the one Sheila has quoted today should be working with the Tennessee legislature that is in his back yard – a legislature that is giving legal status to the marriage of babies to wierdo adults – rather than fanning the flames of fear and ignorance. But he isn’t – since there is more fame and notoriety in defining good and evil and other such delusionary aspects of the lexicon. It makes one wonder whether we need to have a constitutional convention to amend the First and Second Amendments, among others.

    Vern sums it up well today and I here echo his views.

  15. They aren’t crazy. They are ignorant and inherently weak-minded.

    Think of them as cult-vulnerable. They have always been with us.

    Religion is of course ridiculous, but it’s necessary, as people like this need to be given something ridiculous to believe that inspires them to be good.

    Our problem is that bad actors have replaced their civilization-inspiring ridiculous beliefs with civilization- destroying ridiculous beliefs.

    How do we change that? Reason is not an option.

  16. Regarding Pastor Locke, I doubt that it’s very difficult to sell the current craziness to Biblical literalists. If a person is willing to believe in 500 year old Noah building an ark, talking snakes and donkeys, virgin births, and resurrections, it’s not much of a stretch to believe QAnon conspiracies among all the other nonsense being spewed.

  17. James,
    I am not so sure anymore that the GOP and the US are leading the world into destruction and ignorance. I know we play a big part, but it seems that GOP might be having their strings pulled by the foreign actors. While Regan started with ball rolling with the less government idea, what really got things moving was financial de-regulation AND the advent of Facebook in the early 2000’s. Deregulation let dark money flow into politics and Facebook made incredibly effective propaganda tools available to patient foreign players.

    I think what we are seeing here is culmination of 20 years manipulation. It was vastly accelerated by Trump.

    For the first time in my life, I now understand how Hitler rose to power, and it did not take a great depression, or the hyper inflation of post WWI Germany to set people to be ripe for manipulation, only our own ignorance and apathy.

  18. For a long time even we, with no intelligence assets at all, much less our government with intelligence assets we can only imagine, watched Putin gather power by eliminating rivals and cultivating internal and external forces. Here’s what almost escaped our attention: no rational person does that and no rational people tolerate it. We watched Trump do it too. and Kim Jong un and numerous others.

    Sensible people realize that is not normal behavior. Nobody is that intent on gathering power to do good.

    It’s clear that the Republican Party encourages such behavior which our founders warned us in many ways is not tolerable to democracy. Their message to the collective us was when you see behavior like that our responsibility to our freedom is to fire them before they are successful and hire people instead who are content to govern within the limits of the prescribed authority of the office that they seek.

    Politics attracts the crazies intent on satisfying only their ego no matter the cost to others. We have to be so much better than we are in judging those who will go off the rails in satisfying that urge before they give us what Putin is giving Russia and Ukraine.

    Authoritarianism is an unaffordable disease.

  19. I don’t argue with MAGAs about Republican “policies” for the same reason I don’t argue about whether a unicorn will win The Kentucky Derby.

  20. Todd Smekens warns us, and then illustrates:

    “Any one of us that posts here can concoct a good storyline with half-truths and sell it to people who will believe.”

  21. Thank you, John, that’s the ticket!
    I was recently reading a piece about the “crazies,” and their level of Bat-S**t looniness combined with their unthinking religiosity and how this
    is infiltrating politics.
    Out of Tennessee, (I want to say”of course”) some fool is predicting a new end of the world for this coming Good Friday.
    I’m almost ready to welcome it!
    I will not curse. I will not curse. I will not curse. At least not here.

  22. Sign this virus is spreading. A jury of “average citizens” in Michigan just acquitted crazy folks who plotted to kidnap and/or kill the governor. Coverage suggest that they believed the plotters and didn’t trust that the FBI hadn’t planted the evidence.

    Imagine this on a larger scale after the next election…

  23. Cannot reason with the unreasonable. Or as my dad used to say, “I refuse to have a battle of wits with the unarmed.”

  24. Good one Vern: “The marketing of insanity”… I would add, the marketing of insanity is a knowing and brazen grab for power by greedy unethical people who have no trouble sleeping at night or looking at themselves in the mirror.

    Todd Smekens: Your observation about anyone who wants to, can manipulate the gullible and ignorant via false narratives on repeat, is depressingly true. It really is scary that 74+ million Americans are so ready and willing to be manipulated.

    patmcc: Agreed, Ken Burns et al and their documentaries are doing a great job of educating us – at least those who care to learn.

  25. “What terrifies me is how many of them there are.”
    The 2022 mid-term elections should answer whether your fears are justified or not. One thing I have learned as a mayor of a tiny town is that Crazies are outrageous and loud, which tends to make them appear to be plentiful.

  26. Mitch D,

    Absolutely! If you don’t know what they’re supposed to believe, then it’s hard to make sense out of it. If those who claim to have some sort of god-given authority, or some sort of god-given knowledge, then shouldn’t they actually model their conduct behind scripture? If Knowledge is power, you actually need that knowledge, right?

  27. Maybe if you actually spoke to someone other than your current tribe, you might begin to understand how lost you are. There are people who exist outside of politics who don’t give a rat’s ass about any political party.

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