11/18/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The S Word

I've been accused of being a cynic. I've been a cynic. It's hard to blame me, though--my cynicism has always been rewarded. Well, at least it's always delivered. I'm just one of the millions of the internet generation--the sharp-fingered bloggers, the haters, the critics.

Then one day, while impotently raging behind the pseudonymity of the screen, a man was elected president of these states under the promise of unity. Hell, he was so great a speaker, so pragmatic, he tricked a racist nation into believing we could all come together.

And I believed him. I wanted so badly to drop my wariness of all positions of power. I needed to think America was a wonderful place with still boundless potential. I thought that staring down the barrel of opportunity, even the rightest of wingers would have to smile for a second.

In case you're reading this while pretending to shuffle spreadsheets from left to right and then back again, allow me to describe this video.

A man is interviewing voting, tax-paying (seems) citizens who decided to attend a rally on 9-12 protesting, primarily, health care reform. They were also protesting abortions, Muslims, Jews, Nazis, fascism, communism, socialism, and the Kennedys, I guess, but I think it was supposed to be about health care.

In the section I deep linked to, you see several people protesting the czar positions in the White House. They explain the word czar came from Caesar (true!) or that it means a Russian king. They explain they don't need no stinkin' czars and that Jesus is their king.

One of them even wore a tie.

There is an argument to be made about paid advisory positions, especially ones picked without the council of, say, the Senate. That is an interesting debate I would listen to.

This woman said she was afraid the czars were going to be given land. Given land. Like we're going to return to feudal fucking England.

And then, when the interviewer points out that czar positions had started with Reagan (actually, they go all the way back to the 40s and were revived largely during Nixon, but the point stands) and explained they were officially powerless, advisory positions, one of the interviewees asks, "How do you know that?"

He looked it up in a fucking book. With pages. In something like a library. You're telling me you had some craft time to cut out letters and glitter for a sign protesting czars and you didn't take 30 goddamn seconds to Google what the hell a czar is?

If you, like me, went to public school, you probably spent the bulk of your English classes writing critical or persuasive essays. When your teacher first explains the format to you--and sitting at the top of a lot of essay prompts--contains a phrase akin to, "Assume the reader is familiar with the work."

That makes sense--essays would be terribly long if you had to detail the whole book before you could make your thesis, let alone arguments.

Now imagine you had to not only detail the book, but you had to explain what a metaphor was. What if the reader didn't know what personification meant? What if he thought hyperbole meant the story went up and down in a hyperbolic shape?

There's no way you could write a paper in any reasonable way. You'd spend all your time trying to even agree on what the literary terms meant.

So far, on this health care debate, the Left has been approaching it the same way it always does. Sure, a little aloof, but trying to have reasonable discourse. But our usual weapons are useless here.

These people are stupid.

Stupid. These people are stupid.

If they're so stupid, why has the mainstream media been covering this? The same reason the VH1 lineup shuffles back and forth from "For the Love of Rayjay" to "Rock of Love" to minstrel show "Flavor of Love." Stupid sells. You're tuning in to watch the teabaggers same as I am.

And I don't know what that means as far as our methods. I'd never suggest we start ranting and raving the way the people in those videos are doing, but we need to at least understand what we are up against. And that is some powerful dumb.

We have to recognize we can't have any debate until we all understand the elements composing the debate. We don't need persuasion--we need education. I don't know how to do it--I refer you to earlier comments about the internet generation--but we need to inform people of the basic facts. Some smarter country needs to drop pamphlets from airplanes when Glenn Beck isn't watching because we need to cure this stupid before we can cure disease.

We're the party of guilt, I realize--we've pussyfooted around the facts for a decade now. We bite our tongues when they say Earth is 6,000 years old and that cavemen rode dinosaurs. But they are calling you everything from fascist to Nazi to terrorist. I don't think it's unreasonable to go ahead and use the S word.