Wednesday, October 16, 2013

At War with Modernity

Michael Ashmore of Hooks, Tex. (Joshua Roberts/Reuters)
It occurred to me a while ago that the reality of the Tea Party movement is that they are at war with modernity. A war, by the way, that is impossible to win. I've thought about how to express this view in some sort of coherent and succinct way, to no avail.


I think Andrew Sullivan captures this perfectly,
I believe that you cannot understand the current GOP without also grasping how bewildered so many people are by the dizzying onset of modernity. The 21st Century has brought Islamist war to America, the worst recession since the 1930s, a debt-ridden federal government, a majority-minority future, gay marriage, universal healthcare and legal weed. If you were still seething from the eruption of the 1960s, and thought that Reagan had ended all that, then the resilience of a pluralistic, multi-racial, fast-miscegenating, post-gay America, whose president looks like the future, not the past, you would indeed, at this point, be in a world-class meshugganah, cultural panic.

When you add in the fact that the American dream stopped working for most working-class folks at some point in the mid 1970s, and when you see the national debt soaring from the Reagan years onward, made much worse by the Bush-Cheney years, and then exploded by the recession Bush bequeathed, you have a combustible mixture. It’s very easy to lump all this together into a paranoid fantasy of an American apocalypse that must somehow be stopped at all cost. In trying to understand the far-right mindset – which accounts for around a quarter of the country – I think you have to zoom out and see all of this in context.
Andrew has many more insights and I commend you to read the entire post.

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