Monday, March 29, 2010

Rationalizing Irrationality

You can look at someone who throws a brick through the windows of a Congrewsswoman's office as deranged, imbecilic, and infantile. The same goes for anyone who makes death threats against their Representatives. Or publishes a website that lists the home address of a lawmaker's brother.

John Boehner (R-Ohio) declared "violence and threats are unacceptable. That's not the American way." Tell that to Sam Adams as he and his cohorts are brewing a cauldron of tar and gathering feathers to forcibly adhere to a tax collector.

I'm not trying to equate (and thereby lionize) today's Tea Party cadres to the Sons of Liberty, but there's an interesting dynamic of rage that's similarly at work in both the 2010s and 1770s.

While most of America - Left, Center, and Right - condemns the irrational acts and threats of violence that have been launched toward certain Democrats, their very existence should alarm everyone that wields power in Washington. America is generally a passive country when it comes to politics. We don't have attacks on polling stations, never have riots or violent protests after elections, and half the nation doesn't vote.

People don't regularly throw bricks into buildings that house offices of those they disagree with. Someone has to have a psychological snap of sorts, allowing them to cross lines and boundaries they'd never normally approach. There's a rage there, and that should not be dismissed, it should be carefully analyzed.

It's difficult, because when one observes some jerk heaving masonry through windows, it's hard to take their cause seriously. Quite the opposite, the "protester" is obviously a fool, and anything they have to say is either ignored, or prejudicially labelled incorrect.

The Democrats are dismissing this rising torrent of political temper tantrums. "Go for it," Barack arrogantly provoked when discussing the possibilities of Republicans running for office under an anti-Healthcare Reform banner.

The Democrats seem to think that having so many loudmouthed, incoherent, silly SOBs against them signifies that they are right, and their opponents are wrong. Even if that were true, it's a dismissive way of ignoring the underlying rage that allows a person to act barbarous.

Why are these people upset? Because they feel unrepresented by their representatives. Disenfranchised. They feel as though Government is attempting to run their lives, that some distant politician is trying to intervene in the fundamental elements of their daily activities.

It's the same kind of rage felt by Bostonians in 1773. And guess what, Barack's Government is dismissing that rage the same way George III's did.

Now, unlike the Lobsterbacks, you're not going to have soldiers quartering in private houses, or blockades of harbors, or any of the other provocations that turned drunken civil unrest in Boston into the Revolutionary War.

It's easy to mock irrationality, and illogic. It's easy to make fun of Carl Everett for dismissing the existence of dinosaurs because they're not mentioned in the Bible. But if you never try to understand how someone could possess such ludicrous beliefs, you'll never be able to defeat them, only outnumber them.

So laugh it up, Jon...

Because while Sarah Palin provides hilarious material, and Glenn Beck's chalkboard should wind up in the Smithsonian as part the TV Comedy wing, next to Archie's chair (for several reasons), there is something not so funny fueling this rage, justified or unjustified. The rage exists. It's very real. It's growing stronger.

Bating the rage will not defeat it. Firefighters don't fight real fires with fire. They use foam and water. Why? Because they understand that foam suffocates fire, depriving it of the oxygen that it needs to survive. The protagonists in zombie movies last 90 minutes because they're able to infer that decapitation kills the zombies (and immortals).

George III's Government didn't understand the angst in colonial Boston. They dismissed it as rabble, irrational and irrelevant. And in a way, it was somewhat irrational. The American colonies were taxed considerably less than every other citizen in the British Empire.

But throughout the history of our planet, political outrage has always been expressed in irrational and unconventional ways. And this can be dangerous. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. For every piece of Leftist legislation that scurries through Congress while 48% of the country dissents, there will quite a backlash.

The Liberals best be careful, for all our sakes. Because irrational people, fueled by rage, can coalesce into powerful mobs. They're capable of unspeakably crazy things, like toss toss leaves in harbors, hurl bricks, and vote Sarah Palin into the White House.

Such an irrational and self-destructive act might be impossible to understand. But you must strive to at least understand the rage that incites such behavior. And maybe look at your rational self in the mirror and say "We need to slow down."

So belittle, bemoan, make your little jokes. But don't someday claim that nobody warned you.

1 comment:

Rogan said...

To liberals: Keep bringing on the "bring it on". They're only adding to the fuel stockpiles that the NRC will use to propel their party to victories in 2010, 2012, and beyond. Democrats fail to realize that Tea Party members aren't radical in their views; they're just the bullhorn for a much larger underlying feeling of anger against this administration felt by an immensely large swathe of the population.