Tea Party America

A negative consequence of society’s well-intentioned discouragement of comparing your opponent to the Nazis (see: Godwin’s Law) can sometimes be a total reluctance to do it even when appropriate. Such reticence betrays the original mindset that bore out our aversion to the comparison to begin with – that to throw around the word Nazi so cavalierly diminishes its power for the rare occasions when it is appropriate.

Here, it’s appropriate. Here, it’s necessary.

Watch this clip. It brings to mind two things: a certain volatile European country in the mid 1930s, and this infamous scene from American History X. (That this well known scene of a curb-stomp happens to be from a film that tells a fictional account of American Nazis seems almost divinely providential right now.)

This isn’t hyperbole. This isn’t overreaction. This is an accurate assessment of the American Tea Party as a sociopolitical movement: a self-proclaimed “populist uprising” with well-off leaders that, amidst economic turmoil, give “the regular folks” a boogeyman (or two or three or ten) to blame their troubles on.

Look at the Tea Party’s rhetoric – that the Communists are taking over (this doesn’t just parallel Nazi Germany, it directly quotes it), the blacks are rigging elections and intimidating voters, the Mexicans are coming to steal your jobs and live off your tax dollars, the gays want to ruin marriage and the military by getting married and joining the military, and the Muslims want to erect a monument of triumph at Ground Zero as their first steps toward turning this country into an Islamic theocracy. All this in an attempt to rally its angsty, white, Christian adherents under the banner of a minority under siege by casting the real minorities as victimizers; not just barbarians at the gates, but worse: a creeping, insidious effort, in all walks of life and all areas of interest, to de-empower they, America’s traditional stewards.

It’s naive to think that because we aren’t seeing the corpses piled high that the Tea Party can’t be compared to the Nazis. Things never start that way. But in their heart of hearts if all these people aren’t directly for a return to the days of Jim Crow, an all-out war against Islam and spics rounded up and kicked back across the boarder, they certainly aren’t directly against them, either. (And actually, that last one they pretty much are directly for.)

Likewise, it’s the irresponsible complacency of “that could never happen here” groupthink which allows the ball to get rolling to begin with. No, the hillbilly in the slutty flight attendant outfit doesn’t exactly cut the image of the next Hitler, but no one ever does – and that’s how they get in the door in the first place.

Paul, Palin, Angle. Goebbels, Goering, Eichman. Different century; same message. And the most important thing of all is that-

Fuck it, gotta go – Jersey Shore’s on.

(EDIT: I encourage everyone, when they have the time, to watch this episode of The Twilight Zone, entitled He’s Alive. It’s almost an hour long, but I promise it’s worth the time. Besides being great television, it’s prescience and clarity on what’s going on today are pretty damn eerie.

If you don’t want to watch the whole thing, at least check out this part, from 5:30 onward, and see that the only difference between those fictional bits of rhetoric written almost 50 years ago and the invective spewed at Tea Party rallies today is that Rod Serling’s words were more eloquent than any of these half-literate Palinite fuckwits could ever dream of.)