Of Corpse Planes, Porno Rings, and the Fourth of July

Wednesday, July 4th, 2018 at 3:57 am

 

The last time I was in St. Petersburg was four years ago, shortly after Malaysian Airlines flight 17, from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur was shot down over Eastern Ukraine, killing all on board

Russian rebels in Ukraine were widely believed in the West to be responsible, but Russian media fed people the most bizarre conspiracy theories. First they said enemies of Putin mistook his plane flying nearby for this one and shot the wrong plane down. In this tale, the  hero narrowly escapes the claws of perfidy, but don’t worry—he’s fine.

But the story  that is crazy beyond crazy  is the claim that no one had died on the flight, because it had gone off full of dead bodies  and the whole thing was a plot to discredit Russia. Here is a link to a story in the Washington post about this. All day as I toured St. Petersburg in 2014, I wondered about every Russian I saw, “do they believe this horse manure?” Sadly, I suspect many did.

The events of the last two years in my own country make perfect sense in light of this corpse hoax.  1) Russian leadership has complete confidence in its ability to sell anything to the public.  2) The Russians found ways to infiltrate the media to influence the American presidential election. 3) Worked just as well in the US. How about Hillary’s child pornography ring being run out of an East Coast pizza parlor? Pretty much on a par with a plane full of corpses shot down over Ukraine.

Back then, I couldn’t imagine such nonsense gaining a toehold back in the states, but what a different four years makes. Now we have Fox News spinning misinformation and utter lies nonstop.  We have  White House spokespeople telling us up is down, day is night—at least today. Tomorrow it may be be something else altogether. They may smile and laugh more than Russian spokespeople, and wear nicer clothes,  but they are the same ilk.   Any lie will do, since apparently most people aren’t listening and even fewer are thinking.

it’s the Fourth of July back home, and little paper flags garnishing drinks are already appearing on the pool deck on the ship.  Luckily, what’s underneath them is alcoholic.  I need several of whatever the concoction is  today.

I still believe in my country, but it is much, much harder. I hope it can survive this spate of bad faith and benighted thinking. Here’s to life (not lies), liberty ( not lawlessness) , and the pursuit of not just happiness, but truthfulness, and to having the  courage and strength to save what is best about America.  Then I will wave the flag again, but this Fourth of July, sadly, there is  little to cheer.

 

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