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The Terrorism of Temper Tantrums: Where's the Tough Love?

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Munch, The Scream by out of copywright

Remember when shrieking kids invaded your restaurant oasis, yowling for more desserts? Just Tea Partiers in training? Perhaps good parents interceded, dragging ear-splitters from center stage and cut the sugar addiction. Though families still moderate small-time irrationality, this is not the case in North Carolina: there, a frustrated restaurateur posted: "Screaming children will not be tolerated."

Not at all so easy nationally, with spitfires of tantrum throwers called "kamikaze Republicans," willing to destroy America to save it. Or the rogue Florida pastor who needs to read more holy books, not burn any. Or the shamelessly bigoted, one-note opportunists dictating to diverse New Yorkers about religious tolerance.

Don't expect tough love or compelling reprimands from this politest of presidents, even-tempered to a fault. Though soaring passionately when his election was on the line, Mr. Obama remains weirdly sluggish as fellow Democrats face doom. Nor will borderline, Blue Dog Democrats provide any stirring parental intercession, so scared spitless they barely peep.

Protesters hot, president cold

Oddly, while white-hot GOP roustabouts invent countless job-stealing, bomb-throwing threats under every Koran, NY corner, or headless desert cactus, this detached president proceeds as if without enemies. Right, those nasty tire slashers polishing off up two successful years of character obliteration on Obama's birthplace, religion, and legislative achievements just curiously disagree with his philosophy or remain immune to his charms.

Is this the choice, on the one hand delusions by hateful, racist reactionaries, and on the other stark denial by a president whose obliviousness to the dark side of America makes him come across as naive newcomer as if unaware he's been ambushed? All the while, these united states disintegrate into ungovernability, with the scary prospect of Congress seized by unrepentant ideologues ordering up double Bush-Cheney suckerburgers?

Progressives reside in
no man's land, halfway between ignorant, paranoid hysterics and a tranquilized president blind to character assassination when it slaps his dark-skinned face. America, in short, is producing full-scale, ill-tempered acting out without a critical mass of adults with megaphones capable not only of checking outbursts, but exiling the worst disrupters from media domination. Imagine a parent-less, raucous restaurant about to have a free-for-all food fight led by juvenile delinquents.

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What happens when uninformed, willful spoiled brats, convinced the world "owes them a living," embrace outrage and turn electoral politics into ideological litmus tests? What happens when politics shifts from any consensus attempts to solve problem to accumulating grievances for grievance sake? That's poor, victimized Sarah Palin's sole claim to fame. What happens when disordered opportunists sniff out obscure cracks or vulnerabilities (like book-burning) before pumping them full of nitroglycerin?

Conniption against the 20th Century

In fact, an insurgency of tantrums, thundering "No" to 20th Century America, smacks of calculated, domestic terrorism. Look at the Senate GOP nominees who want to finish the Reagan-Bush assault against the New Deal plus negate major social and rights advances since the "60s. Book-burning is only the most visible caterwauling, obscenely yoked to what by all rights should have been an uneventful expansion of a functional, community Muslim center in NY.

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Loaded with media, agents of disorder are like flu contagions, capable of pandemic impacts if widely spread. A rightwing joke about Obama's birthplace starts, then blossoms into idiotic currency because so many extremists yammer on. Thus, Small Lies explode into Big Lies and we're saddled not only with the first African-American president but the first African president. This latest intellectual hissy fit by the Newt Gingrich puppet talks up Obama's "Kenyan anti-colonial" mindset (say, what about Afghan invasions?)

As Gene Robinson summarizes, "the American people are acting like a bunch of spoiled brats." Or worse: sustained rightwing tantrums attempt to undermine our two core beliefs: "all men are created equal" and the majority rules. Obviously not all Muslims are created equal to Yanks, and no potential terrorist deserves our freedoms. Not all Mexicans are equal, for just "looking foreign" invites profiling. Not all gay people are equal, thus the military can drum them out on a rumor. Who doubts the vaunted majority will fall to the Rapture, or some other divine intervention? When your politics is based on "faith alone," you don't need 51% of anything to barge ahead.

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For a decade, Robert S. Becker's rebel-rousing essays on politics and culture analyze overall trends, messaging and frameworks, now featured author at OpEdNews, Nation of Change and RSN. He appears regularly at Dissident Voice, with credits (more...)

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