A woman's suggestion that President Barack Obama "should be tried for treason" for supposedly "operating outside the construction of our Constitution" has raised a stir because Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney initially chose not to challenge her. But the news media has ignored the substance -- or lack thereof -- of the woman's accusation.
The woman's "treason" charge at a town-hall meeting in Euclid, Ohio, on Monday fits with a right-wing disinformation campaign about what the Framers of the Constitution intended and what the Constitution actually says.
In recent years, as the vast reservoir of right-wing money-in-politics has overflowed its banks, some of that cash has sloshed down to propagandists who have worked hard at rewriting the nation's founding narrative, to transform the Constitution's Framers into anti-government zealots.
This false narrative -- with the Framers starring as Ayn Rands of the 18th Century -- has contributed to the modern Right's extremism, since many of today's Tea Partiers envision themselves as brave patriots ready to die for the nation's founding principles. But they have only a distorted view of what those principles are.
Run-of-the-mill politicians like Romney then pander to this ignorance with talk about the Constitution as "inspired" or "sacred" as if this decidedly secular governing document with its sometimes unseemly compromises (such as tolerance of slavery) was the work of the Almighty.
But the Right's anti-historical narrative of the Founding has a strong appeal to many ill-informed Americans, like those who dress up in Revolutionary War costumes, channel the anger of the original Tea Partiers and wave "Don't Tread on Me" flags against their own government, apparently not realizing that the real Founders were directing their anger at the British Crown.
The Founders -- and especially the Framers of the Constitution -- were surely not anti-government extremists as the Right today presents them. They were intent upon creating an effective governing structure that could build a young nation and address its many challenges, especially confronting economic and political threats to its independence from European powers.