(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
"I tried to boil down in essence what makes me so angry about (the HCR bill). And it was this idea that he and other people decide what the needs are in society. They get to decide. But in order to fund those things, they have to take from some people in order to give to the other people." - Keli Carender, aka "Liberty Belle" on NPR’s Morning Edition.
"The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States... - Article 1, Section 8, United States Constitution.
Those of us in the reality-based community have long known of the Mighty Republican Wurlitzer and how it's continually hammered upon by one conservative Dr. Phibes or Phantom of the Opera or another. However, that Mighty Wurlitzer has begun to take on the tone and timber of a calliope, one piercing and rending an increasingly progressive nation that has just passed the most historic health care reform legislation in our republic's 234 year-long history.
The backlash from the Tea Baggers and the Republican Party that loves them is just the beginning. Former Vice President Cheney has come out in favor of waterboarding and has been joined by his equally psychotic daughter Liz who's actually organized a pro-torture movement called Keep America Safe.
Pro health reform congressmen have been spat on, called vile slurs such as "nigger" and "faggot", have had their children threatened, bricks thrown through their offices in at least five states, had received faxes of nooses and, in perhaps the most alarming case of all, the address of the brother of Congressman Periello was mistakenly disseminated to the public a la Hal Turner and the man's propane line was cut. Congressman Periello's brother has a wife and four children under the age of eight.
The President of the United States has been a big easy target for other racial slurs and renewed calls for an already released US birth certificate. And the imagery has mutated to far more than depicting the President as Heath Ledger's Joker. A dozen Republican Attorneys General and one Democratic AG have already filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform and joining forces with Orly Taitz, possibly the most delusional and insane woman this side of Ann Coulter.
Late last January, James O'Keefe and three others were arrested for attempting to tamper with the phone lines of Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu.
"Deem and pass" and "reconciliation," despite being previously enjoyed by the Republicans, is now unconstitutional when used by the Good Guys.
And we're not even going back to the beginning of the still-young year.
Yes, since before the days of Reagan, there have always been fringe lunatics on the far right and we've always known about them but there's something different in the air, something far more unhinged, far more sinister than anything that we'd seen even during the most red-toothed hysteria of the Clinton/Monica witch hunts. And racism trying to scratch its way through the surface of the skin is only part of the reason.
It would be disquieting enough to merely know that such people exist. What adds an extra dimension of terror to the darkening political landscape is knowing that even while they're finding their inner demon, they're patiently given one pass after another by not only the mainstream media but the Republican Party that has found some small patch of ideological common ground with the Tea Bagger movement that loathes them almost as much as liberal Democrats.
More than ever, these past three months the Republican Party and the conservative/libertarian movement in general has betrayed itself to be the party of torture, intimidation and domestic terrorism. They're so brazen about it, it's almost as if they dare us to get the signatures of three psychologists to have every one of them committed (at least they'd get better health care thanks to the vilified President Obama.)
And as usual, our dependably clueless mainstream media fail to connect the dots and see that this growing and still-amorphous but coalescing movement and increasingly frenzied screaming and violence could very well form the basis of our next civil war. It's not too far-fetched when one listens to congressmen such as Steve King, Michele Bachmann and Louis Gohmert, to name just a few, who are calling for open insurrection even to the point of advocating suicide and taking away from American citizens the right to vote for their senators.
Whatever the President's for they're against even if President Obama embraces what few good ideas the GOP has advanced during his young administration. President Bill and First Lady Hillary Clinton, while trying to pass their own health reform bill in 1993-1994, never had to contend with Tea Baggers and racist slurs. That reform bill went down in flames the good old fashioned way- Through corporate lobbyists from K Street and traditional Republican obstructionism.
This time around, the American people were more engaged on both sides. President Obama wisely made health care reform his signature domestic issue and, however watered-down the HCR bill is and may remain even after the fix it amendments, it gained enough traction to eventually push itself out of the mud of Republican opposition.
But these days, not only are Congressmen vulnerable, even their families are at risk. The Tea Partyers have become an old Rodney Dangerfield joke, the football team of the tough school that, after they sack the quarterback, then go after his family.
It remains to be seen if the incorrigible childishness of Republicans will result in a bad aftertaste in the mouths of health care reform-minded, civil Americans this November. But the facts are out there and even our largely dysfunctional MSM can't ignore all the facts:
They are stupid enough to work against their interests and further fostering the illusion of populism while benefiting the very same tycoons who are victimizing them. They stand for racism, for torture, for dirty tricks, for vandalism and violence, for seceding from the union and ignoring history and law in the interests of sedition and treason.
And the Democrats seem as loathe to criticize these fellow Americans as they would be loathe to criticize a member of our military.
These people have the right to vote, the right to speak, the right to petition and assemble and the right to a free press as anyone else. And that means we have the right to oppose their lunacy and to have our opposition amplified and supported by those we put in power. And we're just not seeing that.
And even as Republicans are screaming hoarsely about the tyranny of a majority, the squeamishness of Democrats to engage them (other than Alan Grayson) may result in another minoritarianism that we saw in '93-'94, only this one backed up with guns.