Salt in the wound.

by Justin

Last I heard, the formation of an independent army within the United States designed to challenge the authority of the government constituted treason. Armed insurrections and riots make sense in totalitarian countries. How else can the downtrodden find a voice? But in what is by and large a successful democracy, it doesn’t make any sense to bring a gun to the campaign trail. Unless, of course, you’re letting rage and pettiness dictate everything.

A couple days ago the Seattle Times unveiled this little gem, drawing attention to the fact that the existing Tea Party and hyper-conservative rhetoric will likely inspire militant resistance to the Obama administration. They want to form a militia to guard the rights of state and personal sovereignty.  Some GOP leaders opted to dodge endorsing the movement and to diminish its dangers, as Party Chairman Gary Jones described this as a bid for a megaphone. And anyone paying attention to the flagrant, sweeping ignorance among Tea Party activists knows that volume and aggression are the name of the game. But Oklahoma state senator Randy Brogden defends the initiative, saying the Second Amendment allows for militias to “protect themselves from an overreaching federal government.”

Brogden is out of his mind. Protect? As in fight? As in civil war? How could that be good for anyone? And what could the Tea Party possibly hope to gain if things go down that road?

Slick Willy stepped forward on the anniversary of the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma City to explain to radicals that militant rhetoric and treasonous rallies do more than raise money or win votes – they inspire action form the more dangerous people out there. There are certainly other Timothy McVeighs, desperate for a cause. And hey, if their party leaders describe the current administration as gangsters (from the Minnesota demoness Michele Bachmann) and enemies of the state, then attacks become acts of patriotism. You just can’t encourage hate like this and expect things to remain peaceful. You demonize someone or something, and some crusader will take matters into his own hands. I haven’t been around very long and I’ve only been paying attention to politics for a minute, so I wonder about other occasions when this kind of language enjoyed this much popularity and what effects it had.

President Clinton said it best, though: “It is one thing to believe we are over-regulated and to work to lessen the burden of regulation [. . .] It is quite another to slander our dedicated public servants, our brave police officers, even our rescue workers, who have been called a hostile army of occupation.”

Which brings up another point that I don’t see expressed enough. I hope Sarah Palin gets the presidential nomination in 2012. The same backwards racists that rallied behind her when she joined McCain will emerge more forcefully, a sort of hysteria will rise among the extremists, and that will alienate every moderate and independent in this country. For christ’s sake, she puts crosshairs on campaign posters. Her PR engine should be thrown in to support another candidate, who can tastefully distance himself and cater to a more moderate crowd. While Palin’s gang of idiots will follow their crosshairs in whichever direction that hellion selects. She’s got the biggest megaphone on the block these days, but is just too stupid to win anyone over that doesn’t already agree with her. That said, I hope she runs. It would be a disaster.

Tricky, though. On the one hand, I think such a failure would create a greater gulf between the aging, rich white Republicans and everyone else – further weakening the GOP and maybe pushing it toward becoming obsolete. Oh, if only. But if politics become even more polarized, then congress will be cripplingly adversarial and the nation itself will be fractured further. And who knows just how literally the losers will take commands to ‘reload’ when this madness blows up?

When did ideological differences become more important than the health, security, and freedom of the majority? Has it always been that way in American politics?