Apr 1, 2010

cause and occasion

In a previous post, I maintained that right-wing groups were externalizing their impulses and blaming the democrats for the violence and anger that has occurred. That's true, but it doesn't really answer the question of why people are upset.

You almost have to feel sorry for people who, dismayed at the direction that their government was taking, innocently sent out a call to 'Teabag the Whitehouse' without first consulting Urban Dictionary and were treated to thirty seven hours of dick jokes on MSNBC and an indelible moniker that they hate.

Almost. At least until one of them bawled me out about my usage of the term being a sign of my vicious intolerance. I've studied three foreign languages, and in the process said a lot of really stupid things--some of which I still get ripped on about today--but it doesn't make the people who chortled sneering elitists. That was the exact moment that I lost all sympathy for them over the nickname they inadvertently gave themselves.

Now, I'm familiar with the cries of astroturfing! that many like to throw around, but I only buy it to a degree. Did they receive sponsorship from partisan hacks? Yes. Has Fox news been cheerleading them under the thinnest veneer of reporting? Yes. Have them been egged on by demagogues? Yes. But underneath all that, there remains a core of genuine sentiment--they are angry, they do feel disaffected and perhaps even a little afraid and bewildered.

I'm not saying that I agree with what they feel. I'm not saying that I agree with what they say. I'm not even saying that the things they say are the real reason that they feel the way that they do--and I am not, at present, accusing them of being disingenuous. You're all familiar, I'm sure, with the way that tension can build and build and build in a relationship, and then suddenly explode into a knock-down, drag-out fight over whose turn it is to wash the dishes? Well, this fight is about the stimulus. And then health care. But if it weren't the dishes then it would have been the laundry.

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