Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Be Afraid

Today's must read is the New York Times' lengthy analysis of the Tea Party movement, and if it doesn't scare the pants off you, you should probably check your pulse. What reporter David Barstow makes clear is that the Teabaggers shouldn't be seen as the fringey edge of the Republican Party, but as a bridge between the GOP and the so-called Patriot movement, better known to most of us as crazy, ultra-right militia types. Ruby Ridge, Waco, and even the Unabomber are mentioned. It's also clear that Glenn Beck, not Sarah Palin, leads this trend. Eventual catastrophe seems inevitable. Oh, sure, we've had our fun laughing at the Teabaggers, but I have a feeling none of you will be laughing by the end of this article.


Lazy Media said...

Meh. This is exactly, EXACTLY, the same rhetoric and type of people who got all crazy during the '80s and '90s. Some nutjob will blow up something, and it'll all go away again, or else they'll eventually just get tired and disintegrate into infighting the way the Perotistas did; these idiots couldn't organize a blowjob in a whorehouse.

Now, if Obama hadn't prevented a complete meltdown of the economy, and Sarah Palin had some organizational skills, I'd be worried. This country would go fascist just as fast as anywhere else, and probably faster than some.

Peteykins said...

Well, yes, it is the same rhetoric, but what makes it frightening is that they never had a Glenn Beck before. Mainstream Republicans always disavowed the militia types, but now they're opening flirting with them through the conduit of the Tea Party crowd.

John said...

I just read Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here," a political satire he wrote in the 1930s depicting a Depression-era US turning rapidly into a fascist state under the leadership a folksy "man of the people" president. It's a good read though dated. What's really striking about it is how many of the ingredients at play in the novel (& historically when countries make this sort of wrong turn) are present today:
- Economic woes
- Lots of unemployed young people not getting what they expected
- Fear of "others" at home and abroad
- A public leader with dada-ist policy statements and a folksy appeal
- Politically savvy people with powerful interests happy to use the above useful idiot.

I tend to not get hysterical about these things, but I do think that we're entering a danger zone similar to what happened between the world wars, which i think is the nearest the US has come to losing all semblance of liberal democracy in the last century.

Let me know which Latin American country seems like a good spot for the Sparklepony in Exile colony. If we all pick the same one we can set up a glittery compound away from the madness.

T D Coleman said...

Thank you for referring us to this article Peteykins. It has perfectly expressed what I have been telling my friends for a long time: Palin and Beck are EXTREMELY dangerous. Now that Palin no longer holds public office, she can continue to make inflammatory comments with impunity. It is a catch-22 situation for progressive populists: the more attack her, the more the Teabagger will circle the wagons and rally around her. They often accuse us Black people of suffering from a martyr/victim complex; we have nothing on them!

Why did we allow them to control the conversation? And, is it possible for us to wrest it back from them?

John, as for expatriating to Latin America, Costa Rica is a good choice. After all, it is the Happiest Country on Earth (76.1 HPI)! Beautiful scenery, happy people -- what more can one ask for?! Of course you can also choose Brazil and Argentina, the old standbys - HA! As for me, I will move to Nova Scotia. I need to find a nice, sympathetic Canadian to marry me!

Peteykins said...

Well put, TD!

Escaping to Nova Scotia is hilarious to me because that's where my anscestors escaped to after being on the wrong side of the Revolutionary War.

Jon said...

Few people know that just over 80 years ago the Ku Klux Klan was a mainstream organization. I grew up in New Jersey and I was surprised to learn that, in the '20's, my hometown held an annual Ku Klux Klan day parade. Back then the Klan was not secret and violent. It didn't need to be. The Klan controlled state government in at least three states, including New Jersey.

The Klan's reputation was ruined in 1929 and their followers took up with groups and leaders like Commander Pelly's Silvershirts and Father Coughlin, but their ideas never went away. The Tea Party movement is an attempt to move the Klan's ideas into the mainstream and into power.

Can they do it? They've done it before. The best news is that many of their enemies are not as willing to lay down as they were 80 years ago. The worst news is that there is no such thing as a left in this country.

Sure, we've got Noam Chomsky but where is the Chomskyist movement? Even if there are little movements where is the big movement? Where do you sign up for the big movement of the left?

The labor movement broke Father Coughlin and Commander Pelly. The Civil Rights movement beat back the Klan's '60's resurgence. The feminist movement undercut the power of the right wing Catholic hierarchy. Who is standing up to these tea party assholes? Who is standing up to Glenn Beck? I don't mean individuals. Where's the movement?

John said...

"Where's the movement?"

I think it's been replaced by a Facebook fan page.

Madduane said...

John -- yes, Facebook is sapping my will even as we speak! 8*

rptrcub said...

I'm going to go out on a limb here, but I am in agreement with what the Keef O. has been saying. Racism has a lot to do with the fact that their vitriol is way, way worse than it was with Clinton.

Kristen said...

Wow, somehow this quote doesn't surprise me: "I voted twice and I failed political science twice," said Darin Stevens, leader of the Spokane 9/12 Project.

Matty Boy said...

Not laughing, but a shudder of recognition. I registered Libertarian in 1976 because I was so sick of Nixon's power grabs and I thought the Democrats were being pussies. I wasn't wrong, but Frank Church of Idaho(!) had ten times the manliness of any Senate Dem today. Things are getting worse.

But I was a Libertarian until I attended one, count 'em one, meeting. Those people were scary. It terrifies me how many of the "nice" people they talk about in this article don't see that they are surrounded by nut jobs. Given the state of the American education system and the prevalence of religious people who believe flat out insane stuff, I shouldn't be surprised.

John said...

What I think is most fascinating about this article is how many of the concerns these people raise: a surveillance state, inappropriate use of power, the decline of Constitutional separation of powers, etc. - are the same things liberals worried about during the Bush administration. They're not crazy to be worried about these things.

I used to wonder when more Americans would wake up and be concerned about this stuff; now we find that when they do, many of them decide that the solution is Sarah Palin.

Karen Zipdrive said...

I know...let's stop using tea party and go back to using tea baggers, tea bagging and other winking references that involve the bags rather than the parties.
These flakes remind me of the John Birchers of my youth. Nutcases who eventually got too nutty to be credible.
Back then, guys like Joe Pyne were the Glenn Beck-types.
Like Jello molds, Perry Como and leisure suits, this too shall pass.