Finding Logic

I've probably spent my whole life trying to figure out the Tea Party.  Of course they weren't always called that, but these people have always been with us. I'm not talking about simply conservatism, though that's bad enough. That, I can understand to a degree. I don't agree with it, but I can at least see how they arrived at their (often incredibly wrong) conclusions.

No, I'm talking about folks who claim to venerate freedom, but would take it from their neighbor for the smallest of trespasses.  Who claim to want a better world for their children, but have no problem sacrificing them to endless, pointless wars. People who hate and fear the one real constant in this world -- change.

I'm also talking about those they elect to hold public office. It's hard to tell which is worse: Those who seek power by pandering to fear and hatred, or those that give it to them.  But I believe Paul Begala gives a good explanation in a recent article as to how we got to where we are today:
Specifically, they did four things:
  • Cut taxes (with a heavy tilt toward the rich).
  • Caged two wars on the national credit card (one of which was against a country that had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no serious threat to America).
  • Passed a prescription drug benefit with no pay-for (the first entitlement in American history without a revenue source), and deregulated Wall Street (which helped turn the American economy into a casino and touched off the Great Recession).
After reading a news story about changing demographics in America, someone asked me if I was afraid that the white race would disappear.  After quelling the urge to punch him in the nose, I told him that my concern was for the species as a whole, and that there was no such thing as a purebred human being, nor should there be (Change, remember?). They were less than happy with my response.

I can't understand people who's beliefs are so firmly held, that no amount of logic, reason, or quantifiable proof will sway them. They are, in fact, so adverse to this, that they would just as soon see this world end, rather than face any number of inconvenient truths.

To cite Mr. Begala again:
It has become a trope of the right to accuse Obama and the Democrats of trying to remake America in the image of Europe. That, of course, is silly as well as insulting to the people who gave us the Magna Carta and the Enlightenment, not to mention spaghetti. But in whose image would the radical Republicans remake us? Certainly not in the image of the Founding Fathers. The Republicans are already seeking to make Swiss cheese out of Mr. Madison's masterpiece, littering the Constitution with amendments on budgeting, the line-item veto, gay marriage, abortion, school prayer, restricting birthright citizenship, and more.

Seems to me the GOP seeks a banana republic: a toxic blend of right-wing populism, anti-intellectualism, debt defaults, and an end to the ladder of economic opportunity.
These people hate knowledge, complexity; they hate the infernal need to explore. They are the petty, bigoted, greedy people who lack compassion, empathy, imagination, even common courtesy.

But I've realized that out of all the (deservedly negative) adjectives I've used to describe them,they are one thing above all others.

They are dangerous.

On the Tracks

A few days ago, Texas executed a Mexican national for the rape and murder of a 16 year-old girl in 1995.  His guilt was never in question.  But as a Mexican national, he had a right to notify his embassy or consulate at the time of his arrest.  He was not informed of that right.  President Obama, the United Nations and others asked Texas Governor, Rick Perry, to stay the execution, but he refused.  In doing so, he violated a treaty we have not only with Mexico, but with every other civilized country on the planet.  And we just told them all that our word is worth nothing.  Governor Perry's motives had nothing to do with getting justice for a teenage girl, and everything to do with political expediency.  The Supreme Court agreed with him.  Killing someone was just their way of thumbing their collective noses at the feds, and at the President in particular.  According to Justice Antonin Scalia, even innocence isn't enough to stay an execution.  He once wrote,
"Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry our a death sentence properly reached."
This is just one of many symptoms of a much larger, and potentially lethal, disease. I'll leave you with the words of Jon Nichols, who states it with more eloquence than I possess.

Face it, America.  You've been bought and sold.

Only an idiot would believe our political leaders, regardless of their party affiliation, to be altruistic patriots who only want what's best for us.  If you are in political power or if you are the CEO of a corporation, the last thing in the world that you want is to have a general populace that is capable of thinking for themselves or formulating their own opinions.  

You want people to keep their words about the nation sweet, for fear that they might otherwise seem to be the bitter seeds of treason.  You want people to think that "women's suffrage" means keeping them in the kitchen.  

Sheep, brainless sheep who hold no concept of where they have been or where they are going, who need only to have a cloth of red, white, and blue waved in their faces to lead them.  Oh and docile, too.  Don't forget docile.  Provided your bank account is sizable, your carnal needs are sated, and your TV is all reality, then it's all good, right?

We're standing on the railroad tracks.  We can see the train coming, but we're too comfortable to get off.  And yet we'll still probably be surprised when the train mows us down.