(SALON) — The far right does not like President Obama. He’s been depicted as a Muslim he’s not and a terrorist sympathizer. He’s been called a fascist and compared to Hitler. He’s been pegged as a socialist and even a communist. And, of course, an entire cottage industry has been built around the false accusation that he’s not even an American.

His 2008 election also helped fuel an explosive resurgence of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement, whose sympathizers indulge themselves in all sorts of wild conspiracy theories about the federal government: It’s building concentration camps for dissidents, it’s selling out Americans to the dreaded “New World Order,” it’s planning to institute martial law, confiscate everyone’s guns and send in U.N. troops to keep order.

Of course, none of these fantasies have come true in the last four years. But therein lies the rub. The first term was nothing but an elaborate ruse to get re-elected. The second term, now that’s when everything hits the fan. Freedom itself, maybe even all of civilization, hangs in the balance.

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