The current Central American child immigrant crisis sparks some truly insane conspiracy theories from the usual suspects. One of the latest, courtesy of Alex Jones and William Gheen:
Barack Obama is supposedly giving mobile phones to Central American kids in order to later recruit them as his personal army of child soldiers.
The so-called Obamaphone is actually a program that started under George W. Bush to give low-income households mobile phones for emergency calls. The rest of this claim are the paranoid ravings of the far-right conspiracy fringe. And if you think about it for a moment, the racial undertones become quite clear. In this view, Obama is not the democratically elected POTUS, but only some African warlord. As an interested observer of the American political landscape since Obama’s election in 2008, this claim sounds quite familiar. During the emergence of the Tea Party Movement, the following tropes were a frequent sight on protest signs:
- Barack HUSSEIN Obama the Muslim dictator (because Iraqi dictator Saddam HUSSEIN’s last name is the same, there must be a connection)
- Obama as an African witch doctor (because the healthcare reform of a primitive ‘savage’ black president could only result in the death of white America)
- The whole birther conspiracy theory which claimed that Obama was Kenyan and hence illegally usurping his office
You see where this is going: Obama is not one of us Real Americans™ because deep inside, he is but a primitive African thug.
Finally, the idea of Obama’s personal child army has been promoted elsewhere before, but with a slightly different twist. In 2009, when Obama gave a speech about the importance of education and staying in school, something fairly uncontroversial that most presidents have done before, figures such as Glenn Beck claimed that Obama was trying to indoctrinate American kids to build the modern-day equivalent of Nazi Germany’s Hitler Youth.
A mind is a terrible thing to waste.