"It is a sprawling rebellion, but running through it is a narrative of impending tyranny. This narrative permeates Tea Party Web sites, Facebook page, Twitter feeds and YouTube videos. It is a prominent theme of their favored media outlets and commentators, and it connects the disparate issues that preoccupy many Tea Party supporters — from the concern that the community organization Acorn is stealing elections to the belief that Mr. Obama is trying to control the Internet and restrict gun ownership.
Worldnet.com trumpets “exclusives” reporting that the Army is seeking “Internment/Resettlement” specialists. On ResistNet.com, bloggers warn that Mr. Obama is trying to convert Interpol, the international police organization, into his personal police force. They call on “fellow Patriots” to “grab their guns.”
Mr. Beck frequently echoes Patriot rhetoric, discussing the possible arrival of a “New World Order” and arguing that Mr. Obama is using a strategy of manufactured crisis to destroy the economy and pave the way for dictatorship.
At recent Tea Party events around the country, these concerns surfaced repeatedly."
The hockey war was fun, but, to be honest, most Americans care about hockey about as much as they do about soccer or lacrosse. This "tea party" business brewing in what would usually be considered the "clueless right" is much more serious. Look at that picture above. No. I am not in the picture.
I am what used to be called a "paleoconservative." I always was that. I support just about all the domestic conservative policy positions except capital punishment and I am a Life Member of the NRA. I do not belong to any political party. I guess you could call me a member of the "old libertarian constitutionalist right." That is quite different from what is emerging among all these "just plain folks" across the country in what I have heard referred to as "exurbia."
I spent a lot of time a year or so ago in the center of the United States in Missouri, Kansas, southern Indiana, Kentucky, etc. What I learned there from extensive interaction with "folks" in that region is that they are remarkably innocent of knowledge about the world outside their immediate surroundings. Most have not traveled. They did not read much in their normal lives and the federal government is a distant rumor for them, a rumor that takes their money and their children and that lives in luxury and indifference on the banks of the Potomac.
There is also a certain reverence for dimly understood and long past events and people, a reverence that can be seen in the way Americans from "exurbia" flock in vast number to Washington in the warmer months to revere the relics of our country. Fathers and mothers in athletic shoes, shorts and belly packs lead their children around the town stupefying Washingtonians with their overwhelming presence on sidewalks and in subway cars. The things that they say are surprising since they clearly expect to find something in the capital city that is not here. Don't be smug about that. I have been to many of your capitals and "it" is not there either.
In normal times, the feeling of serious alienation from the federal government is a muted grumble among a relatively small set of groups. These are not normal times. The drum beating of the "War on Terror," the wars themselves, the economic disaster, the federal government's enrichment of Wall Street, the latent racism that Obama's presidency stimulates in some, the massive unemployment, the Obama health care reform program, the stimulus bill, these things are being interpreted as part of a sinister conspiracy of leftists, big business, internationalists, African Americans, etc.
The health care bill is an example. Among the "tea party" crowd and their allies on the right, the bill is seen as a transfer of wealth that moves funds from Medicare growth to a system of federally subsidized health insurance that will benefit the insurance companies and poor (read heavily African-American) people. The "tea-party" people see that as money, their money, taken from their pockets for "change we can believe in." They do not like that change. They see it to be to their disadvantage and largely irreversible if not halted. All the different phenomena that I mentioned are being interpreted this way.
I hope the economy recovers quickly, and that jobs, good jobs for working class and lower middle class Americans are in plentiful supply soon. These good people are going to vote, and they are going to vote behind leaders who are both ignorant and self-serving.
Americans lack the talent for "dressing up" that people in Europe had in the '20s and '30s, but that does not mean that what is happening is not dangerous. pl