THE BLOG

"Your America"?

05/24/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

You remember the anonymous lady at the town hall meeting last August. In a tremulous voice she declared "I want my America back".

Saturday's Tea Party protester hurled epithets towards Congressmen, and the threats and vandalism since, perfectly captures what it is that lady wanted back. The hurl of the N and F words indicates they want a world of the 1950s back. You remember, segregation, sodomy laws, the Red Scare, asbestos, school prayer, 25 cent gasoline and stay at home moms (there was no other kind).

Hate is always, first and foremost, a final stage of fear. Ms. Anonymous, you can't help it. Things that are different scare you. You are scared of things that those around you fear. It is useless to analyze it further.

You are the mob. An amalgam of all unarticulated fears. Your master is anyone craven enough to exploit you. You are formless political putty, shaped to react but not to think.

And you have guns.

I have a head start on knowing you. I was recruited by the John Birch Society in 1967. At the impressionable age of 17 your forbearers creeped me out. They showed me movies of severed heads along the side of a road in Iraq. They portrayed that this was the work of communists. Through some roll of the intellectual dice that I'll never be able to explain, I turned and walked away. Those severed heads were not the work of a political system. They were the work of lizard brained animals who enjoyed it. I will not call them men.

The Birchers who attempted to exploit those scenes and me through them, were equivalent in every way to the brutes who severed those heads. They did me, and others, the violence of a destructive lie. A lie intended to justify the kind of hate that was exhibited in that row of decapitations itself. To this day I can't be sure that had I bought the pitch, might my brain not have been forever severed from my soul?

I got to know you oh so much better even, in 1995. One of your number, Timothy Mcveigh, just missed killing my aunt that year. One of the 168 dead stood between her and the blast. In my aunt's words, she was shredded. As they removed shrapnel from Flora, they found cancer, too late. Yes, she would have died anyway, but McVeigh made what would have been a hard day into a horror. Were the images in her mind of her life and loves when she died, or were they of the still fresh carnage wrought by an idiot "patriot"? My first thought on hearing was of those ranks of severed heads and the arc of hate connecting those Bircher lies to atrocity in Oklahoma City. My estimation of you is sealed.

Now I hear the same voices that stirred up McVeigh stir up you. The Birchers and kind have crawled out from under the political baseboards to frighten the children and the simple minded as they have for over half a century. I hear the exact same things that were whispered, to my youthful self, being shouted instead. All the lies as disprovable as a flat Earth, yet somehow the poison carries an impenetrable inoculation against the cure of reason.

McCarthy damaged but did not cripple the GOP. He buried the Birchers for a generation. Militias of the '90s were held at distance enough by the GOP to prevent them being branded with McVeigh. Will the denial of party affiliation by the Tea Party crowd be enough to insulate the GOP from what is an obvious, funded exploitation of the dim? Will the GOP be able to deny the buckets of inflammables they have thrown on the bonfire of radical far right wing loons when the next OK City happens? Or worse?

It's too late to easily put this berserk genie back in the bottle. GOP, you unleashed it in the pursuit of regaining political power. Therefore, for now, you ARE it -- the insane genie, the mob. You want "Your America" back in the same sad way as the anonymous lady of the town hall. In your impotent rage you have deliberately opened the gates of the asylum. I can't help but wish you luck in rounding up the inmates.

It might help if you point out that the death of "Our America" has been widely exaggerated.