Friday, May 15, 2009

The Desperation of the Powerless

Carpetbagger has a post about how panicky James Dobson sounds about losing the culture war. As Dobson says:
"I want to tell you up front that we're not going to ask you to do anything, to make a phone call or to write a letter or anything. There is nothing you can do at this time about what is taking place because there is simply no limit to what the left can do at this time. Anything they want, they get and so we can't stop them."

But for as much as Carpetbagger sounds like he's gloating, I've got to say that this scares me much more than all their hubris when they thought they controlled the world. This not only has a wounded animal quality to it, but worse, it will panic the flock and make them feel desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.

People turn to terrorism when they feel they no longer have any legitimate outlet to express themselves in; which is exactly why the Federal Building in Oklahoma was blown up. McVeigh was convinced that our "socialist" government was going to take our guns and enslave us, and that by attacking a government building, he was fighting back and teaching them that we won't be bullied. He insisted that his attack was self-defense and that he was in imminent danger from the government, and died believing that his terrorism had properly taught the government a lesson.

Back then, I knew a few people who believed the same kind of stuff, including a co-worker who insisted that the government was going to make us "chattel," which he explained meant "human cattle." (I shit you not.) I tried explaining to him that we're worth much more to these anonymous Powers That Be in our current occupations than out in the fields picking cotton (and yes, he thought we'd be picking cotton for our overlords); but he just wouldn't listen. Needless to say, I tried to avoid talking politics with him as much as possible.

Thus far, it doesn't look like it's taking nearly as long for conservatives to go crazy over our "socialist" government taking our guns and liberties.

Re-Enfranchising the Right

As much as possible, we need for these people to feel like the system can still work for them and they're not voiceless. Dobson, Limbaugh, and many others on the right don't want that, which is why they're so eager to make their flock feel powerless.

At least with Limbaugh, he's such a manipulator that he's trying to make his listeners feel like he's the only voice they have; which empowers him. Dobson sounds like he really means all this and is refusing to be their voice. This is the sort of thing we need to be afraid of. That's not to say that conservative leaders are trying to encourage domestic terrorism, but rather, this is an unintended consequence for a situation they don't fully understand.

And btw, this is why I always supported Obama's bipartisan approach. Yes, Republicans weren't going to play nice, but the more we looked like we were steamrolling them, the more voiceless these people would be. Even as it is, conservatives feel like they need to work outside the system to be heard (hence the "tea parties"). As much as possible, we need for them to feel like they're being heard, even if they're not being obeyed. Not because we're nice guys who need to be bipartisan, but because we don't want these people blowing shit up. Desperate people do desperate things.

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