Wednesday, April 15, 2009

On Demonstration and Radicalization

Apparently I'm a dangerous right-wing radical. There's a better-than-even chance, dear reader, that you are, too. Do you favor local or state authority over federal authority? Do you have strong feelings about abortion, or illegal migration? Then you, dear reader, might just be a right-wing radical. But don't worry, so am I. On two counts, no less, on account of being a "disgruntled veteran" ready to "swell the ranks of white-power militias". Oh, and so are the legislative and executive branches of the government of the state of Texas. So you're in tolerable company.

Oh, and if you read all the way through the Washington Times piece, on page three they've got the parts where the authors of the report explain that this is actually a fairly standard report, similar reports referring to threats from left-wing extremists have also gone out recently, and the concern about veterans was only that their combat skills would be valued by extremists, so law enforcement should be aware that veterans might be specially targeted for recruitment. Huh. That's not nearly as fear- and hatemongering as the lede. Good thing I and everybody else who saw the story read the whole thing, right? Right?

The media are pushing the "scary dangerous right wing" meme as hard as they possibly can, because they so desperately want it to be true. The reality is a bit different, as we've seen today with the Tax Day "Tea Party" protests around the country, in which thousands of anti-big-government "extremists" milled around with signs for a few hours, listened to some speeches, and then went home. Practically Nuremburg 1938, I know. Despite dire warnings and whisperings whether we'd need to bring out the Guard, the closest thing to drama was the dispersal of the White House Tea Party after a "suspicious package" went over the fence. It turned out to be, go figure, a carton of tea.

This brings us to the issue that's been bugging me all week, with all the buzz leading up to today's demonstrations. How is it that the American Left, so enamoured of mass demonstration, is so aghast at the idea that conservatives would dare to embrace the technique? I don't know how many variations of "you lost, deal with it!" I've heard in the last few days, as if the opposition is supposed to sit quietly in the corner until the next election. Because, you know, that's what the Left did during the Bush years, so it's only fair, right? Right? For that matter, the message of these demonstrations is directed as much at the Republicans as at the Democrats. RNC Chairman Michael Steele's offer to speak at the Chicago Tea Party was turned down rather sharply, with the suggestion that he'd be welcome to attend and LISTEN: "This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around."

I should add, not all the Left is displaying their irrational hostility toward the Tea Party movement: some are channeling it into pure snark, and pretty low-grade snark at that. I get the joke, Rachel Maddow, teabag = degrading sex act. Ha ha ha. And I got it when you used it again. And again. And every ten seconds or so for the next seven minutes. Thing is, the demonstrations are being called "tea parties", not "teabaggings", as you prefer it, and if the phrase "tea party" has you and your audience thinking of scrota rather than Boston 1773, well, I guess that's a personal problem.

1 comment:

Elephantschild said...

I'm putting you on my watch list. You sound a little tense.