Monday, April 19, 2010
The Zombie Holiday
Domestic terrorist Tim McVeigh watched the Waco fiasco unfold while sitting outside the compound on the hood of his car and used the date two years later to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City in retaliation. And two zit-faced, Hitler Facebook fans commemorated the date by acting out their sociopathic,"Terminator" fantasies and killing a lot of other people's children while trying to blow up their high school. April 19 has become a touchstone for the disgruntled and delusional, like a psychotic Halloween run amok, and every year since Waco, plots and plans for copycat carnage have been uncovered and the criminals incarcerated. This year, however, presents a clear and present danger. Anti-government hysteria is at its highest levels since the Great Depression and the Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that militia activity has risen 244% since the last presidential election. The arrest of members of the Hutaree militia in Michigan faded from the news before group associates in Ohio and Indiana were likewise arrested for conspiracy to murder a police officer and slaughter the mourners at the funeral.
What makes this year different is that a mainstream media outlet is actively promulgating confrontation with the government. Fox News' ratings soar on false tales of FEMA detention camps, jail cells for health care scofflaws, census takers compiling enemies lists, and a president with a secret agenda to surreptitiously damage the nation. Stories of gun confiscation and clandestine planning for a socialist takeover of government are fomented every day on the airwaves by corporate media interests, and even the fabricated Tea Party movement has been co-opted by Republican operatives and right-wing PACs. Image and semantic consultants on the Tea Party Express magical mystery tour have tried to clean up the overt insanity at their rallies like Brian Epstein cleaned up the Beatles, but didn't we only just have a dust-up over lipstick, pigs, and hockey moms? And now we see that many of the Teabaggers are sensitive and distressed about being called angry bigots and racists. They claim legitimate concerns over fiscal policy and say if reporters would only talk to a cross-section of supporters, they would understand the libertarian concerns through all the hand-made signs with Obama and Hitler references. Well, the jig is up.
POLITICO.com reports memos showing the Tea Party Express is a creation of the California public relations firm Russo, Marsh + Rogers, doing business as the "Our Country Deserves Better" PAC, and tripling their donations since the wingnut tour hit the road. The latest New York Times/CBS poll says that of the 18% of Americans who identify with the Tea Party movement, the majority are older, more educated, and affluent white men who feel that their rights are under siege. Living in the South, I know 100 guys just like that. They used to be hippies until the styles changed, so they went into business and began paying taxes, and that altered everything. A generation that used sharing as a guiding principle, strapped on their neckties, went to work, and got saddled in debt. Now they believe that Obama wants to take something from them that they have worked for, and give it to someone who has not. Nothing is sadder than watching an intelligent, idealistic young person transform themselves into another border-line alcoholic Republican with issues about welfare. My Dad used to say, "This is a great country, but the dues are expensive." Today, spurred on by profit-gobbling, exhibitionistic, media fools, wanton criminals who fly their private planes into IRS headquarters, killing a bunch of mommies and daddies in the process, are defended by elected officials.
I would suggest that if you don't wish to be falsely labelled as racist, then don't be on the same side as the authentic ones. If you lie down with those possessed of incoherent hatred, you rise up with the potential for deadly violence. Which is why Fox News, fringe PACS run by people like Dick Armey, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and new Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, should be aware of their public responsibilities during this volatile time and temper their fatalistic rhetoric, lest they end up with blood on their hands. If overly ambitious politicians and professional media agitators realized that words have real world consequences, today might just be another Spring day. As it is, it's a time for particular vigilance, extremely so for all those "real Americans" who also happen to work for the government, and shame on any official who squeezes lighter fluid on this burning fire on this day. In the current climate of the armed and paranoid, the threat to the country is not so much from terrorists outside of our borders, as from those within. As for me, I've made my plans for the day. I'll be right here if you need me.