Friday, May 21, 2010

The brown shirt of authority

Sometimes, here in the 21st Century, you tend to freak out. I mean, back in the 20th Century there were all these demagogues - Huey Long, Father Charles Edward Coughlin, George "segregation forever" Wallace, Barry (extremism in defense of liberty is no vice" Goldwater, Newt (my wife has cancer so I guess I'll move on) Gingrich, etc., etc, who defied reason in order to scare people. (Notice I've left out the real nutcases.) You can imagine them all goose-stepping in a sort of scary unison.

But in the past few years, things have gone really nuts. I'm not just talking about dumb-head radio or Fox-TV commentators like Limbaugh and Beck and O'Reilly and the rest, or on-line idiots like Andrew Breitbart, and not just noodle-brained politicians like Alabama governor candidate Bradley Byrne who, attacked for believing in evolution, denied it with all his might, but NRA fools who think we need to carry guns in national parks because those octogenarians in Winnebagos might be dangerous. (I'm talking to you, Sen Testor.)

Idiocy is rampant. I keep getting emails about - oh my God, Mexicans are coming! - until I have to shake my head and erase them like Viagra spam. When I first heard about about Arizona's new law, my first thought was about Nazi Germany and SS troops demanding one's papers. It all probably seemed sensible to German fascists. But think: Cops stopping people to check their papers: This in America? My last thought on the subject is the same as my first: what's next? An arm thrust into the sky, a stomp of the foot, a brown shirt of authority?

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