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American Detox

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Message Tom Aiken

American Detox

Hi. My name's Tom and I'm a republican. It's been thirty days since I last watched FOX News or read the Weekly Standard.

Hi, Tom.

Republicanism is beginning to feel like a certifiable mental condition. The symptoms -- FOX sub-addiction, glassy eyes, excessive tea consumption -- are starting to seem classic, like something out of Freud or Timken. Worse, as with any addictive disease, the addict almost always refuses to listen to reason per his or her malady. Regardless of what you might say to them, your average republican will vehemently refute your accusations before the name-calling starts. Then it can get really ugly.

Our 2010 elections are a good example of the addictive republican nihilism alive in our country today. One DUI after another after another after another, the entire process resembled a frat party gone ballistic -- power drunk goons wrecking havoc all over campus, their wealthy parental enablers showering them with enough loot to do pretty much as they pleased. And the inevitable hangover feels like botulism -- for the rest of us at any rate.

More disturbing is the fact that the condition is communicable. Unlike your panoply of standard intoxicants one doesn't require a fifth or a six-pack or a needle or a straw or a glass pipe or even a clean set of nostrils to imbibe. All the potential victim needs is a pair of ears and a void where the brain ought to be.

The dealers who profit from this addiction, even encourage it, are perhaps even more repulsive than the disease itself. Like tobacco mavens back in the day with their "healthy" cigarettes, these criminals "push" the so-called "benefits" of their wares -- reduced taxes, reduced taxes, reduced taxes -- all the while conning innocents into a taste. It usually isn't long before this new meat starts visiting daily, shaking, sweat erupting from their foreheads like water beading on a glass. As for whacking the stuff with additives, like denial of help for 9/11 heroes, as a lure for potential junkies, well, just goes to show you some people will eat anything.

Getting help is convenient enough. The problem is the motivation to seek it. It's a lot easier sitting home on the couch doing bong hits and watching Glenn Beck metaphorically snorting lines off his blackboard as he raves like a drunk at an office Christmas party than it is showing up at the next anti-nuke rally or volunteering door-to-door for a progressive cause. But many insist on non-recovery, skin-popping Bill O'Reilly like they're in a ghetto shooting gallery. Yo, mah man, gotta a cotton swab?

In light of this unchecked republicanism one can't help but notice its detrimental effects on society as a whole. Dismantling of the national security net, castration of public education, edification of the privileged; it's all a bad trip, like searching the carpet for the rock you've been promised but never seem to receive. But addicts fearful of losing a source tread lightly, happily hitting that evil glass pipe as they wait around for a connection that's never going to show.

Thus, in the spirit of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and its many affiliated programs, I propose the organization of a like-minded group -- Republicans Anonymous (RA). I mean Bill W. did it, right?

Okay, so I'm no Bill W. but the idea does fit after a fashion. Being a conscienceless prick has its allure and cutting away the arrogance, stupidity and greed endemic to the disease is, like AA, a hit or miss proposition... but a necessary one.

Even AA's Twelve Steps are applicable to the republican sufferer. A quick recounting of these steps would be all an addict needs to at least question his or her condition for a moment or so before the next drink. And that's at least a step. There rest are as follows --

1. Admitted we were powerless over republicanism -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe a power greater than ourselves (John Stewart?) could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to good governance as normal people understand it.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our sociopolitical opinions.

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Tom Aiken is a writer based in Austin, Texas. He has written for numerous publications including The Village Voice, Heavy Metal amd M'Zine (RIP). Mr. Aiken also has a spanking new blog -- AikenLand -- for publication of his more unpublishable work. (more...)
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