If I may, I would like to go over some figures with you regarding the current situation in America. I know numbers are boring and often perplexing in the main - I was an English Major, so if you put a pistol to my head and demanded I do long division, the pistol would have a better chance of coming up with the right answer before you painted the wall with my literature degree - but these numbers, I think, speak volumes, and have an unfortunately dramatic bearing on the state of modern American politics.
Public Policy Polling did a survey on the preponderance of belief in conspiracy theories among American voters, and the results are telling. For example, a question was posed about whether the respondents believe the Obama administration is coming to take their guns away, and 62% of Republicans answered "Yes." If you know five Republicans, that means three of them believe this, and a fourth has doubts. This, despite the fact that no gun legislation of any impact whatsoever has shadowed the president's desk since he took office.
When asked if they believe that Mr. Obama is secretly plotting to remain in office when his term expires, 44% of Republicans answered "Yes." If you know five Republicans, that means two of them believe this, and a third is halfway convinced. This, despite any supporting evidence whatsoever, and the fact that the man will be arrested and detained if he tries to enter the White House again after the inauguration in January of 2017.
When asked if Muslims are working to implement Sharia Law in America - the harshly medieval seventh-century Islamic code best represented by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the Wahabists in the ranks of al Qaeda and (shhhh) a significant portion of the rebels in Syria - 44% of Republicans said it was true. If you know five Republicans, once again, two of them believe this, and a third is halfway convinced. Um...how? Where? In what way? Because women can now get free contraception and gay people have the same rights as you do? You think the Taliban is down with that?
Is the US government secretly staging "false flag" mass shootings all across the country in order to blame others and distract the country from their gun-grabbing, office-staying, Sharia-implementing ways? A full 26% of Republicans believe this, so if you know five of them, one is convinced of this, and another is well on his way. I'm sure all the left-leaning folks who believe that 9/11 was a Cheney-orchestrated "inside job" are thrilled to know their gospel has been co-opted by people who think 26 children were massacred in Connecticut so Mr. Obama could give everyone's guns to the Syrians, because that makes sense, too, apparently. Or something.
In short, and not to put too fine a point on it: if you know five Republicans, two of them are around-the-bend crazy, and a third needs a stern talking-to. That's not a majority, but it is pretty much half the crowd, and is a definite majority every time the crazy two convince the third to go their way, you know, just in case.
The thing is, those two-and-a-half Republicans you know are energetic voters, and they throw enormous weight in American politics. Thanks to the Republican gerrymandering process of 2010 and the berserk anti-information "news" bubble dominated by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Michael Savage, WorldNetDaily and the ceaseless gibberish machine that is Fox News, Republicans in general who even occasionally look to these outlets for information have been in an enforced state of flat-out derangement for years and years and years. The ones who go to the "liberal" news media for "information" are in a slightly leavened version of the same state, but vote Republican anyway out of habit and allegiance.
Why do these people swing so much weight in American politics? That's easy: maybe 55% of the voters in America turn out for presidential elections, and maybe 30% turn out for the midterm elections, y'know, the incredibly important elections where a third of the Senate and all 435 seats in the House are up for a vote. That means, come November of 2014, less than a third of the country will choose all 435 members of the House, and a sizeable percentage of those voters are flat-out loons in gerrymandered districts where their impact on Congress is amplified by orders of magnitude.
Make no mistake about it: these people will vote in 2014, because they always vote. If it is raining live, ravening, man-eating jaguars outside, they turn out with strong umbrellas and cast their ballots for the pro-gun anti-Sharia Jesus-and-fetuses candidate. Because guns, and Sharia, and they believe everything they've heard and read from their beloved bedlam news sources.
Why is the government shut down? Because a lot of people don't vote, but these people did in 2010, like they always do, and the crazy will elect the crazy every single time and twice on Sunday, amen.
That's why the government is shut down, and a disastrous default looms, in case you were wondering.