I’m not real interested in blogging about politics. It’s just not my thing. But the recent increase in absurd and frankly scary rhetoric from the right is giving me the shpilkes. It’s not just the tea-baggers (heh heh…I said “tea bagger”), but I might as well say something about their lame-ass tea parties. These tea parties differ, but many of them involve sending tea bags to a representative or to the IRS to protest taxes. These “parties” don’t actually protest higher taxes, just the idea of taxes. After all, taxes have always sucked, and no one was having tea parties under Reagan, Bush, Clinton, or Bush. The original Boston Tea Party protested a tax levied by a government in which the taxed had no representation. That hasn’t been the case for some time now. No, there is something different about these parties, and it has everything to do with who our president is.
You see, it’s not just tea parties. There is an ammunition shortage. Gun an ammo sales have skyrocketed since the day Obama was elected. Why? Well, part of it I’d imagine would have to do with the general trend of Democrats favoring gun control more than Republicans. But that can only be part of it. NPR did a fascinating interview with a gun shop owner (linked above), in which they let him do the talking. His comments stood alone so well, that commentary was hardly necessary (emphasis mine):
DRURY: Well… the thing what those anti-gun people don’t understand is that people are buying guns to protect themselves. They’re so scared of the socialist type of let’s take over the banks, let’s talk about take over the oil companies, let’s give all this money to people who are without jobs, let’s reward all these people who are not working hard, and they said if the government is going that-a-way, what are they going to take away from us now? And that… you know what the big concern is? They’re worried about being able to get any ammo and not being able to protect themselves. They feel like if the criminals know you can’t get guns, it’s going to make it easier for them to commit crimes.
There is a perception problem (and a dumb-as-fuck-all problem) in America. First of all, there are approximately seven Americans who understand the word “socialism”. Socialism refers to a broad set of beliefs, but the unifying themes are a centrally controlled economy (the means of production, such as factories, are permanently owned by the government) and economic equality (“from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”). The U.S. has always been a capitalist state, although in its modern form has rarely been free from some characteristics collectivism, such as progressive taxation, social security, a central bank, etc. Still the government has never owned a large share of the manufacturing sector and likely never will. No modern president has ever suggested such a thing.
During this economic crisis, there has been a (for the U.S.) large increase in government involvement in some industries, most notably banking. As anyone who has ever lived in a socialist state can tell you, this does not resemble socialism.
Mr. Drury’s comments are listed not because he’s an idiot but because they are representative of the rhetoric out there. There is this odd idea that the president, unlike any of his predecessors, is planning to use the power of government to come to your house, take your hard-earned cash, and give it to someone else. The only defense left against this is, presumably, a firearm.
What fuck-nuttery. Most American’s aren’t noticing any significant tax changes. And if they were, would owning a gun help? Are they gonna open fire on the Revenuer comin’ up the path? What century do these people live in?
If our central government wanted to take away your rights, they wouldn’t knock on your door looking for cash. They would abrogate your right of habeus corpus, or monitor your private communications. They would use the media to gin up excuses to wage wars of choice. They would manufacture enemies, or “axes of evil” so that the State could have a bogeyman to both pump up and deflect your fears. In other words, we would continue the last eight years unchanged.
The disturbing trend on the right does not reflect reality. It reflects very old fears: rural vs. urban, North vs. South, and perhaps most obvious but least stated, brown vs. white.