Political No Man's Land
The other day, I was trying to explain to a Canadian colleague the current state of American politics, and after a while, he just interrupted me to say, "In other words, you guys are just a hair-trigger away from being f*cked, yeah?"
As sad as I am to say it, I think he's right. Everywhere I look, I see a bunch of political demagogues cranking up their smear machines. I don't see a rational conversation at all, just a bunch of shouting and screaming. This is what it must have felt like right on the eve of 1861.
On the Republican side, you've got people like Palin and Gingrich claiming to love America and all it stands for, but fully supporting full-bore racism (for example, SB 1070 in Arizona and stopping the "Ground Zero Mosque" from being built). This despite the fact that large numbers of Hispanics and Muslims in the US do in fact relate more to the GOP then the Democrats.
The right-wing demagogues don't have a problem slapping around these brown-skinned constituents because they are desperate to keep their base — white, Christian, middle-class voters — happy. We won't delve too deeply into the fact that their core demographic segment is shrinking and will have a very reduced voice in my lifetime, but hey, that's way down the road and the GOP wants to win a few seats in 2010.
Hovering around the edges of the right wing are the Tea Partiers, who from the outside appear to be a group solely concerned about the size of government and taxes. What they really are is a seething cauldron of hatred of anything that doesn't look like them, the President included.
These Tea Party folks aren't very educated, or they'd know better then to use "socialist" the way they do. When they say things like "I want my country back" you get a sneaking suspicion that they want the kind of country where it was okay to lynch black people without repercussions. In short, these people make me wish for the bygone days of Bush/Cheney when Republicans were at least reasonably sane.Continued on the next page