As unpleasant as it is to inject political history into a discussion surrounding the tragedy that is becoming known as the Tea Party Massacre (the term itself is, of course, a political injection,) I think that is is something that we should do. Something we MUST do.
As you might have guessed by the graphic, I lay a great deal of the blame at the feet of none other than Saint Ronnie. Saint Ronnie, by beginning his campaign in Philadalphia, Mississippi, blew a silent dog whistle that many people on the fringes of our society listened, and responded, to. The “militia” movement of today began in earnest in the Saint Ronnie era, and almost all of those people were either loosely, or tightly, bound around the notion of “White Pride.” The Aryan Nations, The Order, and hundreds of little imitators suddenly felt a whole lot better about themselves, and what they stood for, because of the guy in the White House, who famously used to talk about the “strapping young buck” buying his steak with food stamps. The “Welfare Queen,” which is a racist figment of the right wing imagination, was born in the era of Saint Ronnie. While there is no evidence that Jared Loughner was ever a member of one or another of these groups, they are as numerous as cacti in Arizona, and Loughner definitely knew, and repeated, a lot of their jargon.
Anyways…. let’s continue…
The juxtaposition of events that occurred in the Saint Ronnie era, in my opinion, led us right to where we are today.
-Saint Ronnie convinced people that they should have it all-roads, schools, police, fire departments-but that they should PAY for NONE of it. Two lingering results have come from the Gipper’s dishonesty regarding taxes and services; (1.) is that no politician who wishes to prevail can dare to even BEGIN to talk about raising revenues, and (2.) our borrowing has finally constrained us to the point where we cannot even begin to address the deterioration in our educational system, or our highways, or our schools. If EVER we needed to have an honest discussion about what we want, and what we are willing to pay for, the time has come. It is time to put this right wing demonization of GUBMINT and taxes to bed once and for all, and I’ll give you just one example of why.
Arizona, loaded down with “Tea Party” type Republicans, is starved to death for revenue. As a direct result of being starved to death for revenue, spending for mental health services has dropped dramatically (a trend that also began in the Saint Ronnie era, when state mental health systems broke down from lack of funding and thousands of mentally ill people were dumped on the streets.) As a result of that drop in spending, these days you have to do something pretty dramatic to get the attention of mental health authorities in Arizona.
You know what I mean-something like Jared Loughner did.
-The second thing that Saint Ronnie popularized was this notion that any American ought to be able to buy whatever gun he or she fancied. As a result, for 30 years now fringe, lunatic elements in our society have been able to get their hands on ever-stronger and more effective firepower. Any politician who dares to talk about controlling the lethality of weapons in this country can expect to be drowned in a sea of NRA money, in spite of the fact that gun violence-towards individuals, and Police Officers, and Government officials-is disturbingly high, and in the case of Police and other officials, definitely on the rise. The idiots who insist that the Second Amendment to the Constitution gives us all the right to pack heat that can turn a guy into hamburger always ignore the words “A WELL REGULATED MILITIA.” The Founders, who put that Amendment in, were dealing with a country that faced hostile frontiers on all sides of it-and had smooth-bore hog rifles that were cumbersome to reload, and dangerous for a distance of about 50 feet. As far as the malarkey about “they wanted us armed ‘cuz they wanted to keep the GUBMINT scared,” history has shown us that from the days of the Whiskey Rebellion on, the Federal Government has not hesitated to use lethal force to enforce its mandates any time it judged the situation to warrant it. Far too many American lives have been either lost or horribly altered from what is obviously a perverted reading of the intent of the Second Amendment, and it is high time that we got together and decided on a reasonable system of regulation of firepower.
I don’t know about you, but I am sick to death of a bunch of deaf-eared right-wing fossils preventing me from even having a DEBATE on what is to be done. If they don’t want to talk about it, then they need to get out of the way. Their twisted paranoia has caused this country enough misery, death, and decline. It’s time for the reasonable and the rational to be heard.