Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Taking the Country Back?

As I’ve watched movements in public opinion, I’ve been struck by how many angry Caucasians are railing about “taking their country back.” What do they mean? Is it a Republican President they want? A Republican Congress? Do we need to remind them of how great it was having that dream team dominating our government? Just how far back do people want to take us?

Conservatives by definition are opposed to change, and perhaps a President with too much melanin is more than they can handle. In listening to so many people who’ve had their hemorrhoids patriotically inflamed by Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, a lot of them focus on a concern about “socialism” as if they know what that is. How many of them if pressed might think of socialism as any government program that they don’t think will benefit them? Services that do benefit them must surely be exempt from the socialist paradigm.

Mostly what I’ve seen in this country, is that the monster that Republicans have created coming back to devour not only Democrats but their own. The conservatives of the past didn’t fail because conservatism doesn’t work, it failed because conservatives weren't conservative enough. If only a more pure brand of conservatism would be employed, surely our country will return to some mythical past that is more a creation of conservative minds than of careful and reasoned scrutiny.

Restorationism certainly is appealing in the hornet’s nest, as the predominant religion teaches itself as a restoration of “true Christianity” in contrast to the fallen away versions that dot the landscape. Restoring a non-historical myth is as Mormon as funeral potatoes and jello salad. It doesn’t surprise me the appeal this has to the faithful here. The question I haven’t figured out, is what kind of landscape do these people really see as their ideal future. How much of the twentieth century do they want to abandon? Civil rights? Deposit insurance? Social Security? Regulations on clean air and water? Until I hear specifics from those who garb themselves in a drink they don’t drink, I don’t know what to think of these people.

If you want to take America back, let me know where you want America to go back to. Or as Sen. Bennett hinted, there is much more heat than light in this movement, and though the water is boiling, the teabags have yet to be immersed.

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