What scares me about Tea Partiers isn't that they're pissed about what's become of their country -- hell, I'm pissed too (though for somewhat different reasons).
What scares me about Tea Partiers is that they're akin to unguided nuclear missiles -- God only knows who, what or where will be consumed by the fireball. This is not a "smart bomb."
WHAT ALSO scares me is that the last time the country was in this kind of turmoil, all we had to worry about were the Hippies, the Yippies, the Weathermen and the Black Panthers. This go around, I fear there are a lot more nuts like those described in this New York Times article than we had Hippies, Yippies, Weathermen and Black Panthers combined the last go 'round:
The ebbs and flows of the Tea Party ferment are hardly uniform. It is an amorphous, factionalized uprising with no clear leadership and no centralized structure. Not everyone flocking to the Tea Party movement is worried about dictatorship. Some have a basic aversion to big government, or Mr. Obama, or progressives in general. What’s more, some Tea Party groups are essentially appendages of the local Republican Party.TWO THINGS: First off, you know Glenn Beck's 9/12 Project? I'm betting what it really refers to is the size of the padded cell waiting for Beck.
But most are not. They are frequently led by political neophytes who prize independence and tell strikingly similar stories of having been awakened by the recession. Their families upended by lost jobs, foreclosed homes and depleted retirement funds, they said they wanted to know why it happened and whom to blame.
That is often the point when Tea Party supporters say they began listening to Glenn Beck. With his guidance, they explored the Federalist Papers, exposés on the Federal Reserve, the work of Ayn Rand and George Orwell. Some went to constitutional seminars. Online, they discovered radical critiques of Washington on Web sites like ResistNet.com (“Home of the Patriotic Resistance”) and Infowars.com (“Because there is a war on for your mind.”).
Many describe emerging from their research as if reborn to a new reality. Some have gone so far as to stock up on ammunition, gold and survival food in anticipation of the worst. For others, though, transformation seems to amount to trying on a new ideological outfit — embracing the rhetoric and buying the books.
Tea Party leaders say they know their complaints about shredded constitutional principles and excessive spending ring hollow to some, given their relative passivity through the Bush years. In some ways, though, their main answer — strict adherence to the Constitution — would comfort every card-carrying A.C.L.U. member.
But their vision of the federal government is frequently at odds with the one that both parties have constructed. Tea Party gatherings are full of people who say they would do away with the Federal Reserve, the federal income tax and countless agencies, not to mention bailouts and stimulus packages. Nor is it unusual to hear calls to eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. A remarkable number say this despite having recently lost jobs or health coverage. Some of the prescriptions they are debating — secession, tax boycotts, states “nullifying” federal laws, forming citizen militias — are outside the mainstream, too.
At a recent meeting of the Sandpoint Tea Party, Mrs. Stout presided with brisk efficiency until a member interrupted with urgent news. Because of the stimulus bill, he insisted, private medical records were being shipped to federal bureaucrats. A woman said her doctor had told her the same thing. There were gasps of rage. Everyone already viewed health reform as a ruse to control their medical choices and drive them into the grip of insurance conglomerates. Debate erupted. Could state medical authorities intervene? Should they call Congress?
As the meeting ended, Carolyn L. Whaley, 76, held up her copy of the Constitution. She carries it everywhere, she explained, and she was prepared to lay down her life to protect it from the likes of Mr. Obama.
“I would not hesitate,” she said, perfectly calm.
This is the de facto leader of these folks.
Secondly, the trouble with basing one's "revolution" in part on the collected works of Ayn Rand is that every Randian fancies himself the real-life Howard Roark or John Galt. Unfortunately, all those übermen in waiting from sea to shining sea really are a lot more like Peter Keating.
Only dumber and less presentable.
And these delusional souls would be among the first to be eaten alive by the Darwinist social order they so desperately seek to build amid the hoped-for ruins of President Obama's "socialist order."
These self-styled "patriots" would have us think what they're up to is a new American Revolution against the forces of "tyranny." Evidence, however, would suggest something more akin to the French one.
And a lunatic Robespierre shall be their guiding light -- weekdays at 4 on the Fox News Channel.