It's worse than we thought. Not only is Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., possibly a delusional paranoiac, but she has lots of company as well as admirers, not only among America's poor 'n oppressed - her beloved constituents - but among certain anti-American individuals and organizations abroad, also known as terrorists.
The enemy, indeed, is within.
I dislike revisiting a topic so soon - I wrote a column a few
days ago about McKinney's loony charge that George Bush knew about the 9-11 terrorist attacks in advance. By her assertion, Bush effectively is guilty of mass murder and collusion with the enemy, all because he and his pals stood to gain monetarily through defense-related investments.
While I'm still confident that most Americans can readily spot a fool, there are enough "folks," to borrow a Bush euphemism, who think she's right to warrant a worried second glance. As one of her defenders wrote me:
"Some clear-eyed citizens see this woman as an astute observer of the national scene, and as one who has bravely stepped forward to voice the opinion of millions of us who have been denied a voice since President Bush's selection."
Which is to say, the terrorists don't have to win. They've got us working for them. We're the sleep-walking damsel who keeps opening the dadgum basement door even as the audience screams: "No, don't do it. Don't do it!"
We know McKinney is in the basement, working her curious magic on the clueless, but we keep tolerating her anyway. My guess is that McKinney has enjoyed immunity from close scrutiny owing to a sense that she's harmless. She's cute and has a big smile, couldn't hurt a flea. She's black, which means people give her a pass lest they be perceived racist. She's got a bizarrely gerrymandered district that ensures her race-based longevity regardless of qualifications.
And she's got people from Decatur to Ramallah believing that Bush not only knew about 9-11, but also was behind it. Another e-mailer, a Holy Land tour coordinator with 25 years experience in the Middle East, said she had just spoken with a friend in Ramallah, who regurgitated McKinney's conspiracy theory. She wrote:
"If you see 'Cynth,' kindly tell her that Arab TV networks
appreciate her comments for they now have the needed 'proof' that their paranoia is rational."
We've got serious problems, and we need serious people, as fictional President Andrew Shepherd said in "The American President." And we no longer can afford to tolerate people like McKinney who should never be taken seriously. Can we stifle her?
Nope. Can we impeach her, as I half-jokingly suggested in the previous column? Unlikely.
But we can and should investigate her as passionately as she demands we investigate Bush's "involvement" in the 9-11 terrorist attacks. We might begin with her campaign contributions, available for public viewing on the Web site of The Center for Responsive Politics, a non-profit, non-partisan group that follows the money. (http://www.opensecrets.org/indivs/cgi-win/indivsprofile.exe?H2GA11016)
There you'll find names such as Abdurahman Alamoudi, founder and former executive director of the American Muslim Council, who donated to McKinney during the 1999-2000 election cycle.
Alamoudi who? Let's roll the tape, provided by the Southeastern Legal Foundation, an Atlanta-based constitutional law firm and policy center that's calling for a congressional investigation of McKinney.
Here's Alamoudi at an October 2000 protest of U.S. policies in the Middle East:
"I have been labeled by the media in New York as being a supporter of Hamas. Anybody (sic) supporters of Hamas here?" he asked a cheering crowd. "Hear that, Bill Clinton? We are all supporters of Hamas. ... I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah."
Hamas and Hezbollah are both on the State Department's official list of terrorist organizations. None of which is to suggest that Cynthia McKinney is a terrorist, or a terrorist sympathizer, or even a socialist rabble-rouser who despises her own country. On the other hand, using McKinney's own talent for inferential dot-connecting, she just might be.