Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Can't be 'round this kind of show no more

Frank Rich nails it today in the NYTimes:
That a tsunami of anger is gathering today is illogical, given that what the right calls “Obamacare” is less provocative than either the Civil Rights Act of 1964 or Medicare, an epic entitlement that actually did precipitate a government takeover of a sizable chunk of American health care. But the explanation is plain: the health care bill is not the main source of this anger and never has been. It’s merely a handy excuse. The real source of the over-the-top rage of 2010 is the same kind of national existential reordering that roiled America in 1964.

In fact, the current surge of anger — and the accompanying rise in right-wing extremism — predates the entire health care debate. The first signs were the shrieks of “traitor” and “off with his head” at Palin rallies as Obama’s election became more likely in October 2008. Those passions have spiraled ever since — from Gov. Rick Perry’s kowtowing to secessionists at a Tea Party rally in Texas to the gratuitous brandishing of assault weapons at Obama health care rallies last summer to “You lie!” piercing the president’s address to Congress last fall like an ominous shot.

If Obama’s first legislative priority had been immigration or financial reform or climate change, we would have seen the same trajectory. The conjunction of a black president and a female speaker of the House — topped off by a wise Latina on the Supreme Court and a powerful gay Congressional committee chairman — would sow fears of disenfranchisement among a dwindling and threatened minority in the country no matter what policies were in play. It’s not happenstance that Frank, Lewis and Cleaver — none of them major Democratic players in the health care push — received a major share of last weekend’s abuse. When you hear demonstrators chant the slogan “Take our country back!,” these are the people they want to take the country back from.

Here's what hasn't been talked about much: the utter hypocrisy of the goals, and the conflation with the early American revolutionaries.

The original Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxation from Britain, which the Whig Party of the time felt was against the British Constitution. While some Tea Partiers of today also feel that the Health Care legislation is unconstitutional, there are vast differences between then & now.

In 1773 the colonies were largely under the rule of Britain, and were controlled militarily certainly by Britain. But today that's hardly the case. The US is a sovereign country, with both Federal & State laws, and no foreign control (well, supposedly).

So what are the Teapartiers mad about? What exactly do they want? They yearn for the country that never was, where people can get unemployment benefits yet rail against government handouts, especially if it's someone else's hand out. A country where folks know their place, especially if their place is below yours. A country which gives all an equal chance to excel above those who aren't equal. And a place that patriots can call home, and where they can call those who disagree traitors.

Yes, America in the 1950's was a great place, as long as you were white, and had access to a pension when your working years were over.

But we had no foreign military on our streets, no distant King taxing our products, and internal threats other than from Joe McCarthy's fevered fantasies. And neither do we today, other than from Glenn Beck's & Sarah Palin's and Michelle Bachman's fevered fantasies.

So Teapartiers, please get a grip, study some history, and shut the fuck up.

Bastards.

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