Governor Perry of Texas grandstands for the media by asserting “states rights” in his call for an end to the oppression of the Federal Government. Glenn Beck calls for secession and/or revolution (depending on the day, or even the time of day). Thousands of dimmer bulbs on the internet grid of conservative crazy town call for a violent rejection of the very government which they so assiduously defended when Republicans held the reins of power. It seems that these people would prefer to see our economy collapse and mass chaos in the streets rather than watch our democratically elected officials in power, elected by a clear majority of Americans last Fall, implement the very policies they promised to implement in the campaigns they ran to win those elections.
Did the Democrats in Congress and President Obama win an overwhelming electoral victory last November by cheating? Through “voter fraud?” There is no evidence of it. Did they act other than as they said they would if elected? Yes, but only in the sense that they have been more cautious and conservative than their campaign promises led us to believe they would be. Have they done anything to “oppress” (as that term is commonly employed) the vast majority of Americans other than call for limits on the pay of those individuals in the financial industry whose actions drove our economy off a cliff over the last two years? Yet, suddenly, our government, now that it is controlled by a different party, a party legitimately elected under the Constitution, is the cause of all our troubles?
One could ask where were these people, these tea-baggers and assorted other infusions, when the federal government and the federal deficit expanded dramatically under George W. Bush and a Republican controlled Congress? Where were they when torture became the de facto (if not the de jure) policy of the Federal Government? When their President claimed the authority to arrest and detain anyone, including US citizens indefinitely without trial, merely by unilaterally designating them as enemy combatants at his discretion? When that very same government under President Bush spied on their email communications, their financial transactions and even their sensitive medical information? When the FBI went to our libraries and ordered them to inform that government of books which ordinary, average Americans were reading?
Where were they when the highest officials in our country lied about the imminent threat posed by a tin horn dictator with no ability to harm American interests in order to invade an occupy a oil rich country in the Middle East for the benefit of their buddies in the large multinational oil companies? Where were they when that same President exaggerated the threat posed by Iran and North Korea to expand military spending and send our troops to die on foreign soil for the benefit of his own party’s political prospects? Where were they when he openly mocked the American people, the people to whom his administration lied in order to commit the crime of waging an illegal, aggressive war, with jokes about the weapons of mass destruction he couldn’t find?
Where were they when billions upon billions of dollars were funneled to corporations which contributed to the political campaigns of Republicans in what in other times would be called graft on the grandest scale our nation has ever known? When our troops in Iraq were being supplied dirty water and electrocuted in showers provided by the very company of which our Vice President was once the CEO? When the government paid for propaganda to be disseminated to the American public to mislead them and lie to them about its policies and agenda? When its “enemies” were wrongfully prosecuted for the crime of belonging to the opposition party? When the Department of Justice spent more time determining the ideological purity of supposedly independent US Attorneys than investigating and convicting real criminals, whether Wall Street con artists or Islamic terrorists? When out teachers bemoaned the disastrous effects of their President’s grand educational reform program “The No Child Left Behind Act” even as his own family members were receiving government contracts to profit from it?
The answer is obvious. There was no outrage, there were no cries about an oppressive federal government when it was controlled by the likes of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove and Tom DeLay. No concerns about the oppressive actions of an expanding federal bureaucracy when that bureaucracy was in the hands of incompetents like Michael Brown at FEMA, or ideologues like Donald Rumsfeld, or incompetent ideologues like Doug Feith. There was no outrage when a covert CIA agent tasked with obtaining information on the proliferation or nuclear, biological and chemical weapons was outed by the White House in an act of petty revenge. Not one of them complained about “earmarks” when Republican politicians were the ones doling out the government dollars.
What we are witnessing is the last desperate attempt by a failed political party to remain relevant. And desperate it is, indeed. These are the cynical or delusional (or both — take your pick) actions of politicians, political influence peddlers and propagandists to obstruct, delay and destroy the ability of our duly elected officials to pursue the policies for which we elected them. And no irrational argument and no inflammatory rhetoric is out of bounds. They are literally willing to risk tearing the foundation of this country apart in pursuit of their own narrow, selfish and destructive agenda. They are willing to raise the specter of fascism or communism or Islamism — any ism at all — if it will suit their purposes. They are spreading lies about gun bans and gun confiscations to frighten and scare Americans into opposing our democratically elected government. They are blaming anyone but themselves for the dire straits in which we find ourselves, both domestically and internationally. They are willing to say anything if it gets them media coverage, even if some of the people they are inciting may take it upon themselves to employ violence and commit crimes of hate as a means of protest (see, e.g. James Adkisson).
They are willing to pit family member against family member, rich against poor, white against black against brown, straight against gay, Conservative Christian against Liberal Christian against any other religious believer, all in order to create chaos and distraction, disorder and turmoil. All to insure that our government cannot and will not succeed in rescuing our nation from the edge of the abyss to which their ideology led us, now that they no longer control it, now that they cannot pursue their own peculiar agenda.
They are small children playing with matches in a room filled with gasoline, and either they don’t care, or they want to set our house on fire.