Tuesday, August 11, 2009


It's truly weird. A few years ago, when the American people were being sold on the idea of sending troops halfway around the world to bomb, shell, invade (et cetera) people who had done nothing to us and presented no real threat, well, many Americans were calmly cool with that. Now that Iraq has proved undeniably to be one of history's biggest frauds, and a trillion-dollar boondoggle besides, these same people are still not at all incensed to see it go on, and on, and on -- and even expand into an even bigger boondoggle in Afgahanistan. So, to review: bullets, shells, bombs raining down on innocent strangers at a cost of $100, 000-a- second and deepening hatred of America around the world -- we're still cool with that. But, the mere idea of providing government health care to the poor and the unemployed, that's fomenting outrage, putting armed resistance in the street. You just gotta love this country.

The passion over this issue makes no logical sense. That's because the outrage here is rooted in pure dumb hatred of Obama, hatred that consists in a tendency to reflexively credit the worst about about a person or people, no matter how projective or ridiculous. If a white man, say George Bush, were proposing subsidized health care for poor folks and unemployed workers, the "fiscal conservatives" might grumble a bit, but they sure wouldn't see it as the Apocalypse. Nor would they go so bat shit crazy as to equate the effort with Nazism. No -- it's basic racism, reflexive hatred of the Other, that's spilling over into this debate, reviving passions not flourished in public since Bull Connor's Massive Resistance. Some brown bounder is presuming upon the medical privilges of the American Master Race, and the pasty-faced Aryans stand stand the very thought. It brings out the Nazi in themselves, though they're too caught up in the neckite party spirit to recognizze this. In another context Bill O'Reilly says:

The zealots, I mean these are zealots, are Nazis. And that's exactly what the Nazis did. They disrupted rallies; they came to shout people down; they intimidated; they smeared; they did all of this.

Sounds like a perfect description of Glen Beck's minions, yet O'Reilly has said nothing about their Nazism.

Once again, as Rene Girard might say, it's texbook mimesis: the sort of radical projection and mutual demonization that occasions total war. Not surprisingly, the call is already going up for Civil War II. Something in me agrees with them. I don't quite see how these assholes can be integrated into a sane society again. It sometimes seems only ruin and death will separate them from their folly. Alas, that would entail ruin and death for many innocents besides.


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