Kucinich And The UFO

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I have never seen a UFO.

But if I did, I'd think twice about telling anyone.

I'm sure there are millions of Americans who'd think twice too after watching Tuesday's Democratic debate in which moderator Tim Russert launched the equivalent of a space probe into the mind of Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich. He asked Kucinich about his reported experience with a UFO.

It was an out-of-this-world question dripping with levity to the point that if the representative had even a moon shot of a chance at the nomination, it was certainly zapped by the ray gun-like effect of Russert's question. It was said tongue in cheek. Like a joke said to a mentally challenged one.

Who can take Kucinich seriously now that he has acknowledged seeing a UFO?

As I watched Kucinich with that strange smirk on his face - which didn't help his cause - I couldn't help but think about Sen. Thomas Eagleton, who in 1972 had to withdraw his nomination for vice president on George McGovern's ticket. Eagleton stepped down after he acknowledged undergoing psychiatric treatments, which raised questions about his mental stability.

Once your mental stability has been questioned, it's all over in terms of the White House. Considering the power that comes with the presidency, one can certainly understand the need for presidents and vice presidents to be mentally sound.

But does reporting the sighting of a UFO mean one is unstable? Does it mean those millions of people who have said they've seen a UFO should be subjected to ridicule? If so, then there is a danger that awaits us all on many levels.

Danger Level 1: Russertism. This is the effect that occurs when a powerful journalist singles out those who have seen UFOs for questioning. If you thought McCarthyism was tough ...

Danger Level 2: Being Kucinichized. This is the chilling effect upon those who witnessed the representative being handled cavalierly with regard to his experiencing a UFO. The fear of being Kucinichized will not only discourage free speech but the expression of truth from those who may have seen something.

Danger Level 3: Being labeled a UFOist. Worse than communists in the '50s, these are those who have purported to have seen UFOs or associate with those who have seen UFOs.

The last one has me worried because I was in New Mexico last week and, although I didn't go to Roswell (famous for UFOs), I was maybe 200 miles away - in the vicinity. Under Russertism, anyone associated with a person who saw a UFO or traveled within a state with reported ties to a UFO will be labeled a UFOist.

For the record, I was in New Mexico at a teachers conference. But as we know how rumors and innuendos go, it won't be long before there will be a probe into my past that will reveal the shocking story I told my little sister when we were kids.

Me: You know that spot out in the woods where the ground is flat and round and a different color?

Little sister: Yeah.

Me: That's where a flying saucer landed.

Little sister: For real?

I was just kidding. It was just a joke. I told her so then because I didn't want her telling all her little friends and having their parents coming after me. But that was a little danger compared with the big danger over the nature of Russert's question to Kucinich at Tuesday's debate.

Laugh if you want, but the big danger of Russertism is that it opens the universal door for the day when legions of aliens are massing to come rushing in from the galactic borders. The problem is anyone who knows they are there will be afraid to say anything.

Sure. Radar can spot the UFOs coming before they get here. But who now wants to risk their career and reputation by announcing the arrival of UFOs?

And as for those standing guard in the backyards with flashlights in hand who see ET himself waddling over asking for a piece of candy, you're better off just turning off the light and keeping your mouth shut.

Of course, when we are overrun by the ETs and legions of intergalactic aliens who have swept the planet and made it theirs, it will be Kucinich who will have the last laugh.

Yes, Kucinich will not only be America's new president but Earth's new world leader selected by a thankful and powerful new fourth party known as the UFOs.

Thanks, Timmy.

Frank Harris III is chairman of the journalism department at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. His column appears every other Friday. He can be reached at harrisf1@southernct.edu.

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