I have been watching the Tea Bag movement this summer with a definite sense of Deja Vu. While some may be wringing their hands together and whimpering about the damage to the democratic process done by these astro-turf groups, we’ve seen this sort of thing before. And no, not in Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, either.
The property rights movement of the 1990s (and which still exists today) was sort of the embryonic form of the current Tea Party free-for-alls. The paranoia, the fear of government take-over, the calling down of God’s wrath on the socialistic forces threatening this country - just look at any newspaper from the 1990s where property rights were a big issue.
Then, as now, the folks on the front line - red-faced, voices raised, eyes wide - were often mouthing the same lines, and being financed by the same sort of industry groups.
There are a thousand and one issues that people can be manipulated into storming the Bastille over. I want my country back? How about, I want my brain back?
You start with a healthy - or unhealthy - depends on what side of the room you are on - distrust of government, educated people and anything that isn’t homegrown Americanism.
You give everyone copies of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence to wave around, as if they were talismans warding off the creatures of the night.
You convince them that their “rights” are being trampled upon -just bring up socialism - and set them loose.
If you were to suggest - or even prove - to these shock troops of the right that their efforts were being funded by huge corporations who did not exactly have their best interests at heart, it would drive them into a rage. I know, because I have seen it happen in the past. Somehow, they have actually come to believe that the corporations are their friends, and that they are all on the same page.
Hi, I’m from a corporation and I’m here to help you.
Cue laughter from studio audience.
And yet, while that line may seem like a translation from the Klingon Bible to most Americans, for the Tea Party fanatics, it is accepted on blind faith. Which is truly ironic, because when push comes to shove, those who follow the Tea Party line will find that they will the first pushed under the bus when it comes to corporate profits.
In the 1990s, Washington County saw Take back Arkansas fighting for the little guy’s right to do whatever he wanted with his property, never quite realizing (or willing to admit) that they were were actually pushing the interests of logging companies and their ilk.
Today, we have screaming men and women defending corporations which have created such havoc in the lives of their friends families. It’s a thing of beauty, in a really, really cruel way.
Quote of the Day
Temper, if ungoverned, governs the whole man. - Anthony Shaftesbury
Leonard Nimoy’s Ballad of Bilbo Baggins: A Crime Against Humanity?
There was once a time in high school when I was fascinated by the musical adventures of Leonard Nimoy. I never actually thought that he was a good singer, but it was obvious that somebody did. He did, after all, bring out at least two albums.
But I was totally unprepared for this bit of sadism that Nimoy thrust upon the world in the 1960s.
Why, Leonard, why?