In northern France, one of that country’s most famous paintings, Delaxroix’s “Liberty Leading the People,” was defaced yesterday by a young woman who wrote across the painting, in black marker, “AE911.” What does that mean, you ask? It stands for Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. The woman is a truther.
Truthers claim that the September 11 attacks were an inside job, carried out by the Bush administration. There is nothing so stupid but what some people will fall for it, apparently. But note the contrast: for the last five years, suggestions that Barack Obama may not have been born in the United States have been met with outrage. “Birthers” have been denounced by everyone in sight. The fact that polls suggest that quite a few Republicans believe that Obama wasn’t born in Hawaii has caused commentators to denounce the GOP.
Yet polls also show that a large percentage of Democrats believe (or tell pollsters, anyway) that President Bush was behind the 9/11 attacks. This belief, far crazier than birtherism (which, lest there be any misunderstanding, is also false, in my view), has been subject to no parallel howls of denunciation. Why? It’s not hard to figure out: Democrats in the press and elsewhere have not wanted to interfere with the smearing, however irrational, of President Bush and his administration.
Happily, Delacroix’s painting was not permanently damaged. To my knowledge the perpetrator has not yet been identified, but she is described as having “psychiatric problems.” That is certainly plausible. But in the world of liberals, the evidence that she is unbalanced is that she defaced a painting, not that she is a truther.