- Politics and Social Issues
It’s The End of the World as We Know It (and I Feel Fine)
by Ken Taub
LATE AFTERNOON, SUNDAY, MID-OCTOBER 2012. It’s a gorgeous day, and I’m leaving Whole Foods, that bastion of hardy, healthy, organic food stuffs -- and Liberalism – and I exit right behind a taller, thin guy well into his 50s with a tousled look and a slight, scruffy beard, more former hippie or Vietnam Vet than derelict for sure, and he’s wearing a heavy nylon jacket, dark blue, that has on the back in big white letters: Tyranny Response Team.
So I get parallel, say “Cool jacket,” and he tells me he got it in an unspecified town in upstate New York at The Tea Party House, which could be some patriot’s club, or a roadside bar, and that he tried to get a second one for a friend, but could not. So I smiled, this being three and a half weeks from yet another 50/50 divisive election, and said, “You know, whoever wins, the losing side will want to wear this jacket.”
I expected a smile or something light in return but what I got back slapped me. He stopped, looking deadly serious standing there 8 or 10 feet in front of me and said, “It doesn’t matter who wins. We’re going down brother.”
And he meant it.
There was no obvious craziness, no ironic edge, no simplistic, rightwing paranoia. He was like a weatherman with the world’s best barometer telling you it was about to rain.
I replied we have been through far worse times than this and survived, and he said, “No, this is the worst.” To which I replied, “Well, I’m pretty optimistic that we’ll be okay. America will be fine.” To which he flatly stated, “Good, stay optimistic (you blind fool you).” And then we parted company.
A fascinating five minute encounter.
SO, HERE’S THE THING that we know one year later: Barack Hussein Obama won the election, and handily so, and about a third of country still can't believe he's the President (this might be pretty much the same 33% who supported Bush & Cheney to the bitter end, despite the Iraq debacle, tax cuts for the well-off, and the economic meltdown).
Now, Obama thought that his re-election would quiet the right wing "fever," prove that 2008 was no awful fluke of history, and allow there to be a dialogue of sorts. But then, he's a reasonable man.
A year ago I thought that, one way or another, come the re-election of Barack Obama there would be blood. And so we could only hope it was mostly a lot of bloody noise, and a few shots fired into the air from Idaho militia guys in the woods, in camouflage, and of course pudgy ol’ Limbaugh screaming his fool head off. So, a lot of bluster for a few weeks, and then back to work.
That was, to me, the obvious prediction. But I was wrong too.
There has surely been a lot of noise, but it has not abated one bit, and there has been no back to work -- not for this Congress, and not for too many American workers either.
Has there been blood? Yes, there's always blood in America. No grisly uprising as yet, but plenty of mass shootings and the killing of innocents. So?
THE OTHER PREDICTION, the one from my Whole Foods, take-to-the-woods, radical Libertarian might have been the right one. We’re unraveling, and it would take something like a resurrected Reagan running together with Clinton, Bill, to bring us together again.
However, that will not happen, so what we’re going to get is the self-fulfilling prophecy of the Government-is-Evil and about to take over every square inch of our lives groups pulling off the major highways and out of the mainstream, and creating a No Man’s Land in large portions of the South, the Bible Belt, northern Michigan, Kansas, the Dakotas, Idaho, Wyoming, and other parts of the hinterlands.
Most of them could barely stomach Willard Mitt, let alone a second term Barack Hussein. Their noses picked up the scent that the America they knew was fading, and Glenn Beck, Jim Hightower and a thousand other Points of Darkness told them over and over they were right, and so here we are with millions of frightened far country, rural and exurban white men acting like an odd mix of new Klan recruits and backwoods still operators hiding hooch.
In fact, many thousands of disenfranchised, no-longer-the-majority, pissed-off white guys are just itching for an uprising somehow, somewhere, so they can gleefully join in the mayhem like we all did 40 or 50 years ago, when we played Cowboys and Indians in the woods as kids.
Another guy I and my wife know, he a merry gun and weapons collector, farm-raised, a long-time hunter, and someone you’d like to know should the Red Dawn or Eco-Apocalypse hit, is a fairly bright, apparently sane guy here in the not-shabby suburbs of Suffolk County, Long Island. No rural swampland, we’re home of the fabulous Hamptons, many McMansions and thousands of millionaires. When I spoke to him about the new post-apocalyptic TV show “Revolution,” with all the power off everywhere, and everyone and their grandmother armed, I finished by saying, “You’d probably like the show.”
“Like the show?!” he quickly reacted with a big Huck Finn grin on his face. “Heck, I’d like to live there!” And just like the Whole Foods Libertarian Tyranny Fighting fellow, he was completely, 100% serious.
I don’t know, maybe they’re just tired of the 21st century and have no truck for all the slick technology, and really don’t give a damn about the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, Facebook, Instagram, Go-To-Meetings, or 4G anything. To them, the Twitter-verse is for twits, and on that score and the aforementioned rest, they sure have my ear. I could forgo all our tech toy gear, and happily, for at least several months, or more. Easily. No hi-tech withdrawals from this old boy.
BUT BACK TO THE ANTI-TYRANNY GROUP, the extreme Tea Party fringe, and the armed militiamen who think The End is Near, and we’re either living in end-times, or somehow worse times than the Depression, on the verge of a second Civil War. Where are they getting this quiver up their spines from? Obamacare, the FDA or the local Motor Vehicle Bureau?
Are Nancy Pelosi and her gay pals from the Bay Area and L.A. forcing them to arm and march? I mean, do they think things were so great in the McCarthyite, paranoid, still segregated, Father Knows Best 1950s, and suddenly so tyrannical now? Of who, and what, are they afraid?
Why arm to the teeth and talk take down? And what the hell would they even do if 50 separate groups that averaged a thousand angry white dudes all converged in, say, southern Ohio and made their way east, and crossed the Potomac River toward D.C.?
What in God’s Name would 50,000 armed, inchoate Caucasians do in the nation’s capital, other than snarl traffic, shout a lot of venom and nonsense, and look ridiculous? In would come the police, the Secret Service and National Guard, and 20 or 40 or more people would get shot, and some would die, and then hundreds would be arrested, and the rest would break up and head home bedraggled, still grumbling but more sheepish, with their sorry tails between their middle aged white legs.
I mean, how foolish would these crackers look?
Tyranny Response Team? They should stick to paint ball, the rifle range, bowling, and pissing and moaning about The Government over beers, with baseball on the TV, in the background, like God intended.
© Ken Taub 2012/2013
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