It's happening, again.
Four months ago in what was billed as an un-partisan "spontaneous outburst," corporate interests rallied their water-carriers and an army of useful idiots to stage ersatz "Tea Parties" across the country. Ostensibly focused on the issue of government spending and the level of indebtedness being carried by the public sector, each rally nevertheless deconstructed similarly: a fringe movement of furious whites, representative of the remaining base of what remained of the Republican party, lashing angrily out because there was a black man in the White House.
For none of their other explanations made any sense. You're concerned about the deficit? Then where were you during the past 30 years, when during 20 years of Republican presidencies, $9 trillion of our nation's $11 trillion dollar debt was accrued?
In other words, where were you when 80 percent of the current national debt was being charged off on the nation's credit card? Where were you when tax rebates for the wealthy were the excuse-du-jour for leaving a crushing legacy to the next generation?
Answer: you weren't anywhere. Because when all that was happening, there wasn't a black man in the White House. So you didn't care.
You're concerned about the level of government expenditures? Then where were you when the last president embarked on not one, but two expeditionary resource wars hiding most of their costs off-book and outsourced? Where have your ideas been regarding cutting discretionary spending which, since the Pentagon consumes over 60 percent of all discretionary spending, would mean deep cuts in national defense?
Answer: you weren't anywhere. Because when all that was happening, there wasn't a black man in the White House.
You're worried that the president isn't a citizen, that he was born in Kenya, or Mombasa, or somewhere that isn't Texas. So you demand that he produce a birth certificate, even though he has. But where were you when the last president was in office, or the one before him, or the one before that, or the one before that? Did you demand that they produce proof of eligibility for the presidency? Did you question whether or not they were actually born in the state in which they claimed to be born?
Answer: Of course not. Because they were white.
It's happening, again
You may have heard of this: "Town hall" meetings are being held across the country to discuss health care reform. And they've become a venue and an opportunity for what, excuse me please, Richard Nixon used to call "rat fucking."
That is the intentional disruption of an open, democratic process for no other reason than to destroy the process. As lawmakers go out on the road to try and bring to the American people a plan for the future, a plan whereby America can emerge from the embarrassment of having both the worst and the most expensive health care system in the advanced world, there are those so craven and so contemptible that they would seek to prevent the process from happening at all.
They're spurred and backed by the same cast of shady interests that were behind the tea parties. Right-wing corporate media (Rush Limbaugh has taken to comparing President Obama to Hitler. No, I'm not making this up.) and large corporate money interests who stand to lose financially if the American people get a system no longer exclusively designed to deliver not health care, but maximum shareholder return.
So they fan out, popping up as "Joe Everyman" at the meetings, screeching at the top of their lungs about "socialism" and the terrible specter of rationing (disregarding, of course, the fact that the United States currently has the most rationed health care system in the world).
Sometimes they don't even bother to remove their shirts bearing the corporate logos of companies like Anthem, as happened at a meeting last week. Or they flatulently feign political independence until even the most cursory investigation reveals that they occupy positions of leadership in the local Republican party (as also happened).
But the common theme throughout is this: a wrecking crew. The GOP became known as The Party That Wrecked America in the aftermath of the worst financial catastrophe since the Great Depression. A catastrophe that very well may exceed that episode in its aggregate destruction.
And they appear to be hell-bent on not losing the title as they fan out anew in an attempt, aided and abetted by Democratic Blue Dogs, to wreck anew. To take a terrible system, and make it worse.
To shut down discourse, to stifle democracy, to ruin everything. Why? Because there's a black man in the White House.
Gregory Travis can be reached at email@example.com.