So they directed Fox News and other mouthpieces of Corporate America to coordinate efforts with two Big Business lobbies to affect an ersatz “popular” uprising. The Club for Growth and FreedomWorks — funded variously by executives from Wall Street investment banks, brokerage firms, insurance companies, petrochemical giants and the ever-Randian Forbes publishing empire — had for years advocated for financial and industrial deregulation. Now they needed your help, Fox told you (without ever saying who they were), in taking back their country from people who voted differently than you, and in greater numbers, in the last election cycle.
So they ginned up an easy answer: the Obama problem was not one of differing opinions, but a fundamental EVIL. A strangely not-white-man was not just proposing policy, Fox News’s Glenn Beck told you, he was out to shred the Constitution, freight-car you off to work-camps, end money and read out of the Necronomicon to open a gaping fissure to Hell. Why such hyperbole? Because primordial struggle against a Polar Other is what gets angry, white, übernationalists to the gun cabinet.
Gun-fetishists indeed brought weapons to Obama public appearances. Placards at Tea Party protests warned of the country, once again, being ushered into tyranny. They bore pictures of Obama alternatively as a Soviet or a Nazi, the latter curious given the active involvement in Tea Parties by America’s homegrown White Nationalist movement, which used the gatherings as recruitment opportunities.
At a conservative confab in St. Louis in September 2009, a member of the ultra-conservative Eagle Forum, Kitty Werthmann, spoke on “How to recognize living under Nazis & Communists.” Recalling her wartime experience in Austria when Nazis disarmed the population, she told her audience to prepare for a similar conflict: “[K]eep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition . . . Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism.”
It was not a whacky lone voice. Around the same time, right-wing newsblog Newsmax took the 1934 fascist parallel a step further. Longtime contributor John Perry wrote an item suggesting “a remote, although gaining, possibility America’s military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the ‘Obama problem.’ Don’t dismiss it as unrealistic . . . America isn’t the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized . . . Imagine a bloodless coup to restore and defend the Constitution through an interim administration . . . Skilled, military-trained, nation-builders would replace accountability-challenged, radical-left commissars . . . [T]he president would be detailed for ceremonial speech-making.”
You have postured much on the basis of constitutionality, which raises two pointed observations. First, almost exactly none of you uttered as much as a peep when the Bush administration went gaily wiretapping Americans’ phones, reading their emails, torturing prisoners and suspending habeas corpus for eight years — so let’s be clear about how dedicated to, or remotely familiar with, that document you are, which is not. Second, the notion, today as in 1934, that the Constitution might be defended and restored if the results of its machinery are overturned by extra-legal means — this is
You cannot champion a people’s liberty by forcefully negating the means by which they practice self-government — flawed though it may be — because doing so necessarily makes it something other than self-government. It’s like saying, “I am going to castrate and spackle up people’s respective genitalia so that they can procreate without the use of such disgusting fleshy apparati.”
Look, I don’t give three shits in a shot glass if you think the New Deal, or the recent healthcare bill, was bad policy or not. Roughly 20% of the nation identify themselves with Tea Party “ideas,” so most people don’t. But I will challenge you to tell me at what point, after all these all the apocalyptic shrieking through the decades, did the U.S. actually make that turn into a Bolshevik State.
Seriously, we’ve heard this same Cassandra shit for seventy-five fucking years now. If we are to believe you, we should have believed them, too, right? If Social Security put us on the way to a bleak, gray, potato-hoarding totalitarian nightmarescape that long ago, I’m thinking it should starkly evident by now. Show me the tracts of gulags, or where market economics ceased to function because of Medicare. Show me where stealth-Stalinist progressives instituted sweeping Stasi-esque citizen spy networks and locked people up without legal redress — instead of, y’know, your guys doing that.
Moreover, show me where vast swaths of private corporations have been nationalized by the state in those 75 years. Because it seems they still wield disproportionate power to buy politicians and to marshal cells of angry, white, übernationalist dimwits to demand restoration to a Randian jungle state where the strongest, most ferocious beasts dominate and prosper, where we all have the “liberty” to be prey.
This is why human beings formed societies in the first place, then government and law. We did it so we might cooperatively fend off stronger, meaner predators, be they sabretooths, inbred aristocrats or Tiger tanks, J.P. Morgans, Ken Lays or Lloyd Blankfeins. The Constitution, you schmuck, is not something you need to restore to free John Galt to express his triumphal creative will — it is what protects us from him.