Monday, October 18, 2010


Remember those kids in kindergarten who knocked over blocks. Unhappy at their punitive parents' attempt at governance, they displaced their anger in less confrontational ways. Maybe Mom forced Junior to finish his vegetables or Dad scolded him for wetting his bed or big sister closed her door in his face. All good reasons to resent authority. And bad reasons to let out that frustration by striking at the first thing in sight.

Some kids fester, then become bullies. Meet today’s Libertarian / Tea Bagger. Impotent but seething, they seem unable to trace the source of their discontent.The best target is the one they can most easily demonize.

Bush channeled the outrage of America and, in his own personal tantrum, invaded Iraq. In a classic case of shadow-boxing the Bush/Cheney cabal sacrificed over four thousand more American lives and 100,000 Iraqis. With an incapacity to recognize the nature of the grievance, or diffuse location of the terror, they reduced it to Sadam Hussein. The bullies of the world are content when they have found someone to hate. You can’t invade an idea pervasive in a dozen or more countries so you take out your map as if it is the last World War. And what better time to secure another outpost in that region?

Two ill-conceived and unwinnable wars are now Obama’s inheritance along with a dysfunctional financial system, the consequence of unfettered greed. Restoration of sanity calls for a nuanced redirection. His opposition from the Left has swallowed the poison of cynicism while the sound and fury from the Right wing is indistinguishable from a lynch mob.

Listening through the static of Tea-bertarians, one hears the rant against government; again a misdirected bogeyman. Do these simpletons want to abolish mining standards, food and drug oversight, traffic lights, FDIC protection, libraries, public schools, prohibition against child labor? Do they know that our rail system was government subsidized, and our interstate highways; both put into place by Republican presidents? Tea Party candidates have announced their intention to abolish four cabinet offices, several constitutional amendments and one hundred years of progressive legislation. Their decibels shout down civil discourse. They have been incited to riot against two centuries of civilization, reason and social justice.

The anti-government movement is specious to its core. What sounds like populist rhetoric is the reworked platform of the rich and privileged whose creed is, I’ve got mine. Go get yours and don’t bother me.

The Boston tea Party from which they got their name was also a bit of legerdemain. John Hancock was a Boston smuggler who made his fortune bringing in tea, molasses and such from the Caribbean. He engaged a band of dressed-up Mohawks to dump the British tea and extend his market of tax-free tea. The legacy has not been lost. Let the disaffected do the work of the wealthy and fight the wars in their name.

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