16 September 2009

Is there a literary equivalent for having your jaw drop?  Do my fingers fall to the ground mid-typing?  Is it a screen-freeze on my monitor?

I haven’t posted for days on end, and certainly not because there hasn’t been anything to write about.  No, it’s some kind of jaw-drop reaction to the right wing craziness on their hot-button issues:  health care… or taxes… or big government… or government at all… or something?  As the protests over the last few weeks have ramped up, it’s been more and more difficult to get a fix on exactly what the “tea party” folks are aiming to achieve.

It been pretty bizarre.  My last post on the town hall/health reform/evil government contingent was when Barney Frank used his “dining room table” comparison.  I think he was having a jaw-dropping moment, but manage to pick his up off the floor and respond, sort of in-kind.  Since that post, things have moved along alarmingly.  Just off the top of my head

* A finger was bitten off in another heated Town Hall exchange

* Light was shed on The Family and the C-street house

* Glenn Beck, Glenn Beck, Glenn Beck

* Orly Taitz-isms continue to provide background noise

* The latest Texas secession rally actually gets attention

* A big ol’ flurry over Obama’s speech to school kids: indoctrination? or….

* Joe Wilson yells “You Lie!” during Obama’s speech to Congress

* The Nine-Twelvers held a healthy but over-rated rally in DC

And all though this mess, of course, like an annoying squeaky wheel (say a small one, on a child’s red wagon) the hysterical extreme right continues to blather on about their fears: socialist/ communist/Muslim/ foreigner/ fascist/ death panels/ internment camps and coffins for tea partiers/ etc etc etc, on and on, a never-ending whine of crap based on nothing but paranoid fantasies about the communists, and/or heathens, and/or darkies taking over, pardon my french. 

Gawd.  It makes me tired just re-living it.

As if this endless stream of dangerous fantasy wasn’t paralyzing in and of itself, a few days back, Frank Schaeffer posted a great piece on the extreme religious right, how the decades of growth of the politicized religious right led to the Nine-Twelvers.  He shares what he believes these folks really want in American politics, how it shapes the bizarre thinking that sparks cries of “socialism” and considers the bulk of American society as agents of Satan.  Literally.  I value Schaeffer’s perspective, as an religious right insider from childhood, who late in life left the flock after realizing how crazy his isolated world view had become.

But it scares me – knowing what’s going on down deep in the thinking of the Christian extremists – and Schaeffer’s piece on the Nine-Twelvers ramped up my immobilization, my writers block, if you will. 

I guess the Joe Wilson thing broke the gridlock for me.  I moved from jaw-drop to thinking again, in actual words and sentences  instead of the white noise of my cacophony of outrage.  Because it is outrage – outrage that people are so far gone in how they think about our society, casting the events around them in a light which has nothing to do with facts, and everything to do with fear.  Fear, I think, of change, and of the Other.  Add the adrenaline rush of Being Part of a Movement!!! … I guess some people just can’t resist the cocktail of fear and adrenaline and a sense of Doing Something, anything, to gain an illusion of control.

One thing I know:  I have to resist the immobilizing jaw-drop experience, or I’ll cave to despair.  Venting – here or elsewhere – is just the medicine I need.

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