The Apocalypse Cycle: The Tea Party, American Politics, and 2012
But even so, the tragedy wouldn’t change this basic fact: for the past two years, many conservative leaders, activists, and media figures have made a habit of trying to delegitimize their political opponents. Not just arguing against their opponents, but doing everything possible to turn them into enemies of the country and cast them out beyond the pale. Instead of “soft on defense,” one routinely hears the words “treason” and “traitor.” The President isn’t a big-government liberal—he’s a socialist who wants to impose tyranny. He’s also, according to a minority of Republicans, including elected officials, an impostor. Even the reading of the Constitution on the first day of the 112th Congress was conceived as an assault on the legitimacy of the Democratic Administration and Congress.
This relentlessly hostile rhetoric has become standard issue on the right. (On the left it appears in anonymous comment threads, not congressional speeches and national T.V. programs.) And it has gone almost entirely uncriticized by Republican leaders. Partisan media encourages it, while the mainstream media finds it titillating and airs it, often without comment, so that the gradual effect is to desensitize even people to whom the rhetoric is repellent. We’ve all grown so used to it over the past couple of years that it took the shock of an assassination attempt to show us the ugliness to which our politics has sunk.
From: It Doesn’t Matter Why He Did It by George Packer
The multiple shooting alleged to have been carried out by Jared Lee Loughner, a mentally unbalanced 22 year old has been the top story on all of the networks. They have all been falling over themselves trying to cover this tragedy and much of the spin masters have been out there on both sides of the political isle making claims on the “motivations” that Jared had in carrying this out. Once you start to really look at his internet postings, you realize that Jared is and was at the time of the shooting, mentally ill. He seemingly had been escalating for some time and over the summer had begun to ramble on about the loss of literacy in the U.S. as though the “literacy” were some apotheosis of understanding the cosmic truths as well as the ills of our current political system.
In essence, the rhetoric that he was a party to by living in Arizona (the illegal alien situation and the Tea Party’s fringe elements being vocal and armed) as well as his deteriorating mental state, made for a timebomb’s fuse to be lit, finally gong off on Saturday morning in front of a grocery store. Now, before anyone starts to say “but you can’t lay blame on the Tea Party!” let me stop you and say, no, I cannot wholly lay it on the Tea Party, nor would I. I would however, lay it squarely on the fringe elements of ALL of the parties especially those of the right wing persuasion that have used the rhetoric of treason, don’t tread on me, and “The tree of liberty needing to be replenished with blood” as major players in shaping the direction that Jared Loughner took with regard to his shooting rampage.
It seems though to me, that increasingly the world is just losing its collective mind. Between all of the economic troubles globally, the specter of climate change, die off’s of bees, bats, and now seemingly thousands of birds by mysterious means, we are all a little bit on edge. Add to this the ever-present conspiracy theories, leaks of classified documents and the reprisals by embarrassed governments, tightening their grip and expanding their powers to surveill as well as detain, we all are feeling a bit freaked…
Then comes 2012… It’s a trifecta.
Like what happened in the lead up to 2000, I suspect that there will be more and more groups and individuals who are delusional enough to truly believe the end is nigh. These people may take the non violent way of killing themselves like Heaven’s Gate or, they may go the route that Jared did this weekend. The commonality though, is that the outside pressures of every day life and the things going on around them often become their fixation. In the case of Heaven’s Gate, it was the Hale-Bopp comet while for Jared, it was the frothing rhetoric of fringe elements saying that the government was full of traitors that should be killed to re-set the country on the right path to righteous freedoms that the founders had in mind.
So, where I fall on this whole debacle is pretty clear I think from what I have just said. The whacknuts tend to congregate and now they have a banner under which they can rally in the whole end of the world as well as the ruination of A-mur-ica and our freedom fry loving ways. Nuts beget nuts and they feed off of each other, just ask Dylan and Eric. I suppose its just the banner du jour though, there will be plenty of others as time goes on, in some cases they may not be at all anything external but instead the internal voices of the deranged with the gun. So all of this blame game political posturing will do no good for anyone. The Tea Party has its merits as do the Dem’s and Republicans. Where it gets scary is the fringe elements on each side that take their arguments to the plaid setting. I mean, it is bad enough that the two parties have been so entrenched so as to get absolutely nothing reasonable done for “The People”, who they always seem to be claiming to represent, but are, in my opinion, failing to do.
In the end, Jared Loughner was exactly that, a loner, a misfit, and a boy who needed psychological attention. Just how many knew about his faltering senses is the question as well as is what, if anything, they tried to do about it before he unloaded a 9mm with a 30 round clip into a crowd on a Saturday morning. So all of you out there yammering about the horror and pointing fingers, let me just interject one more little thing;
How about focusing a little more on detecting the mentally ill and disallowing them from obtaining weapons of mass destruction such as a 30 round magazine and a 9mm handgun?
Why not tackle something other than political asshattery and do some good for the next innocent 9 year old that happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time only to die at the hands of a mentally unstable and well armed individual.
We are all to be blamed.