I see that 18% of Americans apparently believe Barrack Obama is a Muslim.
Frankly it just shows that in the hate filled world of the radical American right, if you tell a lie big enough, for long enough, it will end up being believed. These are many of the the same people who insist that Obama was not a native born American, and therefore an unconstitutional President- the "birthers".
The certainty and the spittle flecked hatred with which these people express their views, for which there is not one scintilla of evidence, is truly extraordinary. It is not one step from Fascism.
It is Fascism.
That is extremely worrying for those of us who like and admire so much about the USA.
In the face of the administration mis-steps: calling allies "partners" not "allies"; failing to inform, still less consult those NATO allies on critical decisions; treading quite firmly on British toes over the Falkland Islands, BP and a range of other issues, it is clear that the atmosphere is Washington DC is rather febrile at the moment.
However, for all the mistakes of the incumbent administration, the "birthers" and other extreme manifestations of the "tea party" movement are a far greater concern.
The decline of the European powers in the face of the rise of the United States was handled with about as much grace as it could have been. One wonders whether, in the face of the rise of China, the Americans may follow a different and far more dangerous path. Could it be that a country that considers itself to be the world's greatest democracy might end up so shocked and embittered by their decline that they end up following a demagogue? If this is the reaction of the right in America to the relatively minor changes that have been proposed by Obama, then one wonders whether in fact we are seeing a nascent Fascist movement emerging.
The Roman Republic -upon which the United States is explicitly modelled- fell after 482 years as the result of demagoguery and the Imperial subversion of Caesar. Those in America who are determined to give such passion to their lies are quite capable of subverting the American Republic too.
The price of Freedom remains eternal vigilance- but sometimes the enemy can be in oneself. If the political agenda in the USA continues to be set by the birthers and the likes of Rush Limbaugh, then the future of the US could be grim indeed.