I told friends that I would not get into political comment with this humble site, arguing, logically, that the last thing we need is yet another raucous voice bitching about the state of the nation, the people charged with running things or your view versus mine. See, so often it turns out that you can get it wrong, or in the middle of the night you have an epiphany and you leap out of bed screaming, “I said that? I must have been nuts!” And you spend the next morning hoping no one calls.
To date, that’s been a good choice, and it will remain the way of things as we move along.
Still, I must register — at the very least — my dismay at the tenor of this year’s public discourse as it surrounds the long, hard shout toward the November elections.
To the point, when in our lifetimes have we ever seen such bitterness and flat-out hatred? The only thing missing as the right attacks the left are overt threats of bodily harm; for that matter, the Secret Service reports that threats on the life of this president have already been two to three times those against his predecessors. When have we ever seen public meetings — such as the ones that were offered to explain the national health plan — deliberately saturated with obnoxious people who were coached in methods to disrupt the proceedings so that interested attendees could not even ask civil questions?
The word “nasty” is altogether too weak to apply.
It’s hard to know what to make of it, but here’s a thought that I’ve had. You look down through American history and you find that social change — let’s float the word “improvement” — has typically been a wrenching experience.
Recall the travesty of the Red scare that we lived through in the 1950s. Recall the civil rights movement that unleashed violent resentment in the south that took us all be surprise (I hope). Witness the ongoing gay rights battles, with no real end in sight. It’s always been one step forward, two steps back, with a constant undercurrent of fear. Let’s simply say no and there will be no cost.
Crazy. The status quo. Forever the status quo. And that’s what “they” seem to want. Hence, they say they want to take back America.
“Take back America.” To what? To and for whom? What would it look like? Do we get huge Buicks with fins and roller-skating car hops? I’d pay cold, hard cash if one of those Tea Baggers would simply have the courage to forego the safe political slogans and share the vision that he has in complete and colorful terms. Just imagine seeing women in aprons again.
And the irony is that they’ll never get it, so long as they insist on being allowed to venture out of the den. One step onto a city street and for better or worse, the 21st century, with its plethora of toys and irresistible culture will smack them in the face. There’s an enormous current, a flow that’s unstoppable, no matter one’s longing for 1957, with everyone in their proper place.
My concern is whether or not “they” are a minority or a majority. How likely is it that we could turn the pages backward?