Tuesday, February 09, 2010
It Takes All Kinds - But Not These, Please
Many years ago, I knew a wily old country lawyer who often referred to a certain class of people as the "Maggots of Society". He was referring to people who were possessed of a kind of free-floating anger that they could never pinpoint. I'm sure you know people like this. They are generally dissatisfied with their lives, but can never figure out how to change their circumstances.
They are the people who are against every idea put forth that would lead to the betterment of the community. They are largely uneducated, semi-literate at best. They are naysayers, who don't even understand what they are speaking against. They are largely white, and at least the southerners among them are racists.
Until recent years, if you asked them exactly what they were angry about, they couldn't give you a definitive answer. Their anger was usually aimed at some local officials or businessmen, because they never read newspapers or thought much about the world in general.
All that changed when Fox News came along. Gradually, it dawned on them that the Fox News people were saying things they wanted to hear. A new world of hatred opened up to them, and soon, they were expressing anger at the national government, Democrats, the Congress, the Senate , the President and above all, liberals in general. How satisfying it was to finally have a target for all of their dissatisfaction.
Fox News told them to be mad at the Government for bailing out the banks. It never occurred to them to be angry at the banks, instead. They were incensed to discover, through Fox News, and members of the Republican party that the new Democratic President was a Muslim and had not even been born in this country. The Republicans became their new best friends.
They were warned that healthcare reform would be disastrous, and the government would raise taxes, loot Medicare, take away their rights to see the doctors of their choice, and would decide when it was time for them to die. Hot diggety-dog! Now, they were really mad! So, they started to band together and probably for the first time in their lives, got interested in politics. Sarah Palin was their sweetheart. She spoke their language, by golly!
They started organizing and having meetings to rant and rave about the things and people they hate. But, first they had to have a name. They were encouraged by Republicans, who know how to take advantage of ignorance when they see it. So, it came to pass that those same people, who would have been called the "Maggots of Society" by a savvy old country lawyer, became today's "Teabaggers".
So endeth the lesson.