Sometimes just thinking hurts ...
What are we afraid of?
Matt Taibbi (IMHO one of the best political writers of our time) has an excellent piece (Tea and Crackers) coming out in the Oct. 15th issue of Rolling Stone. It is long, but well worth the read. It got me thinking about all this Tea Party hullabaloo.
Taibbi points out the hypocrisy of the party platform and the fact that its leaders are selling out to the Republican establishment (Rand Paul) ... but I will get back to the Taibbi piece and its conclusions later.
As human beings we all have basic needs, physical, psychological and spiritual. Based on Maslow's hierarchy of need our most basic needs for survival are:
Air, water, and food are metabolic requirements for survival in all animals, including humans. Clothing and shelter provide necessary protection from the elements.
What happens when these basic needs are threatened, or if there is the perception that these needs are being threatened? People start to become afraid. When this fear is perpetuated and magnified by politicians and the media, a voting block is created that is not only highly motivated, but malleable as well. Politics made personal.
God and guns
Karl Marx probably says it best in his "Introduction to A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right".:
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions.
I grew up in a very poor, very rural farming community. The kind of place where you went to church on Sunday and prayed for rain. The needs in these communities are few. (See basic needs above.) When the rain doesn't arrive and the crops fail, they truly believe that they are being punished by God.
I knew a lady, my next door neighbor when I was growing up, that sold her house and most of her belongings to raise enough money to take her son to Oral Roberts to be cured. She raised a little over $10,000 dollars and left on the train with her crippled son. Two months later she was back in town and her son was still crippled. My mom asked her why Billy was still crippled and she said that her "gift" to the ministry was not large enough.
I know these people. They are family and friends, people I love. Their "religiosity" is very important to them. Their liturgical community is the "family" they identify with, more so than their biological family. They watch Fox News and listen to Glenn Beck. While their fear is real, I am not so sure it is a threat to the status quo.
The Culture of Fear
ePluribus Media's own GreyHawk said it best:
Enough! No more Kabuki theater in a Potemkin village
The people, the bottom 99% of us are all Americans. This would represent one helluva voting block if we could all just agree on what is best for ourselves. The politicians shudder to think of what would happen to their carefully constructed power-base if the People all voted in their own best interests.
The Tea Party organizer's aren't the only ones trying to generate fear in their base, or capitalize on old boogey-men. The number of "begging emails" from Democrat organizations hitting my inbox has increased 10-fold in the last 4 weeks. All of them urging me to be very afraid of the Tea Party and the amount of money they are throwing at the elections. They contain phrases like "alarm bells", "extremists" and "tearing down America". These are also prominent phrases in the rhetoric of the Tea Party. Both sides can't be right, and both sides aren't, they are both playing the "fear" card.
... Kabuki theater in a Potemkin village
Back to Matt Taibbi .. read the article. Here are a couple of money quotes:
The rest of it — the sweeping cuts to federal spending, the clampdown on bailouts, the rollback of Roe v. Wade — will die on the vine as one Tea Party leader after another gets seduced by the Republican Party and retrained for the revolutionary cause of voting down taxes for Goldman Sachs executives. It's all on display here in Kentucky, the unofficial capital of the Tea Party movement, where, ha, ha, the joke turns out to be on them: Rand Paul, their hero, is a fake.
And Taibbi concludes:
The bad news is that the Tea Party's political outrage is being appropriated, with thanks, by the Goldmans and the BPs of the world. The good news, if you want to look at it that way, is that those interests mostly have us by the balls anyway, no matter who wins on Election Day. That's the reality; the rest of this is just noise. It's just that it's a lot of noise, and there's no telling when it's ever going to end.
While the politicos have us channeling our frustration and anger at each other, it is business as usual in DC. Once in awhile one party or the other will throw their minions a bone (usually picked clean by the upper 1% before they throw it).
Image Credit Al Haug, FaceBook