We're all laughing at the right's nuttiness, especially the teabagging campaign. They say Obama isn't an American, that he is a communist, that in ten weeks he is responsible for the bush deficit, that he is planning to put everyone in concentration camps, that he is going to replace the dollar with a world currency, that he is gutting the military... And he has only been in office ten weeks.
In fact they're back to being as crazy and paranoid as they were when Clinton was President. Remember the accusations that Clinton and Hillary were murderers, that Hillary personally killed Vince Foster, that Clinton ran a drug-smuggling operation out of an airstrip, that he was looking through FBI files, that he fired the travel office to put a cousin in, that he "sold" plots in Arlington cemetery, that he held up runway traffic to get a $500 haircut, that he used cocaine in the White House, that he hung obscene ornaments on the White House Christmas tree and the other fabrications that came daily?
We laughed then, too, and how did that work out? They took over the Presidency, the House and the Senate. Then they started wars. They tortured people. They appointed corporate lobbyists to run every agency. They filled the courts with Federalist Society judges that rule for the corporations and religious right every time. They stole billions -- in one documented case actually having the Fed ship truckloads of pallets of hundred dollar bills directly to Iraq to be distributed to Bush cronies. They destroyed the economy of the world. And they worked hard to destroy the world itself -- the arctic is melting, the fisheries are depleted, the resources are plundered... And they get away with it -- who is being held accountable for any of that?
Go over and read the rest. I think the key is to confront this nuttiness, this selfishness, this cruelty, and - when it gets really advanced - this evil. One way to do that is indeed through ridicule. It can be very effective, and can be necessary for our own mental health. But it's dangerous to treat these people only as objects of ridicule, and it's dangerous to forget. Keith Olbermann recently made the same point many liberal bloggers have made over the years - it's dangerous to "move on" from major scandals, because the same people always come back. Demonstrating is good, but the big problem with the "tea parties" is that many of the participants were dupes buying the same old conservative shell game. Some conservatives in the base really are ignorant of how much their own leaders have been screwing them over. Others higher up are completely aware, and happy to keep the game going. (It often pays well.) I think mocking these people is healthy. But underneath that, we need to take the displaced rage and deliberate lies of these authoritarians, crooks and hustlers seriously.
(Cross-posted at Blue Herald)