Canvassing in Allentown, PA today, I met a young white woman coming out of her apartment, lighting up a cigarette. She was listed on the contact sheet as a supporter, and she said she was going to vote, and when I asked for who she said somewhat doubtfully, probably Obama, or I guess Obama, or something like that. I asked whether she had any doubts, and she said several positive things about Obama -- that he came in facing a mess, and had started to turn things around (I wish I could remember the good metaphor she used), that Romney was just for the rich. She seemed neither educated nor politically unaware. Then she pointed to her forearm and said, "what about that chip?"
I had heard this once before. A Hispanic girl of about 13, translating for her mother who remained far from the door, asked us whether Obama was going to put a chip in everyone's arm through which we could be controlled. I asked one of the district coordinators about this, and she said they had heard the tale occasionally, and thought one of the churches was spreading the rumor (she may have said a Seventh Day Adventist church, or that may be my memory embellishing).
I just looked up "obama care chip in arm" and found a 5-minute YouTube clip narrated by a professed Ron Paul acolyte: Obamacare Mandates RFID Chips to be Implanted in All Americans by March 23, 2013? It begins with a mock commercial in which vaguely zombie-ish dupes speak enthusiastically of having their medical conditions effectively monitored by the wonderful device. Then comes an earnest, wonkish sounding young man with the inside story: the ACA mandates that an RFID chip be implanted in each of us. Your bank account will be linked to it; it will have a GPS, so the government knows where you are all the time, as well as your whole medical history. It will enable the government to track all of us illegally; there will be no 4th amendment any more, etc etc. And the ACA mandates that all American citizens have this chip implanted by March 23, 2013. He then reads off ominous-sounding language, allegedly from the ACA pp 1000-1008 (who reads a 2000-page bill, he asks near the end) establishing a medical device registry.
Even on the face of it, the quoted language sounds like exactly what it is: a registry of existing medical devices for the purpose of tracking effectiveness. In any case, the registry is not in the ACA; it was included in a version of the bill that did not pass. Snopes.com has a complete debunk. And as a quick Google search demonstrates, this fever dream is connected with End of Days fantasies; the chip is the mark of the beast.
As Snopes points out, these rumors have been kicking around since the days of Hillarycare; more broadly, rumors of government implants "have been around just about as long as microchips have." Still, it's disturbing that these smears are having a noticeable effect on at least a small subset of Obama's natural constituents.
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