These days the art of political spin includes the technique of creating and disseminating carefully chosen words and phrases. By themselves they appear harmless but their subliminal message is dangerous and sinister. Trouble is ordinary Americans and the unsophisticated are consistently duped and brainwashed by these clever catch phrases, slogans and buzzwords. This skill is not the domain of ordinary mortals and is sometimes like linguistic sorcery.
Normally reserved for the wizards of Madison Avenue where advertising mavens and their acolytes churn out the most snazzy catching words and phrases these doctors of spin are the true modern masters of this art. In the end they string together words and phrases that reflect America's ultra-conservative bent. Their work finds eager customers in the functional delusional and those who believe that politics in 2010 is a poison in America that they are chosen to eradicate.
When the nascent Tea Party Movement shouted that "I Want My Country Back" like some snotty-nosed pre-teen brat crying for a swiped lollypop, the immediate suggestion was that somehow a group of people had taken America away from this tiny group of mostly white, male and Republican "movement" that feel that America belong s only to them. It never dawned on these rutting pseudo-patriots that America is fast becoming a multi-racial, multi-cultural nation that will take this great country into another direction.
Maybe it never dawned on these "Tea Wind-Baggers" that uttering mankind's most atavistic proclamation of rabid selfishness "I Want" would so aptly describe the group and its patrons. From the earliest age of mankind what "I Want" superseded "What I Need." The "I" is individualistic, self-serving, selfish and wholly without sensitivity for the "Us" the "We" as in "We The People" the eloquent phrasing of America's Founding Fathers who saw the unselfishness of "We as a nation." That of course, is lost on both the Tea Partiers and their supporters.
Also, the "I Want My Country Back" is also laced with racism. When elements of the Republican Party utter this statement that is simultaneously echoed by its bastard child the underlying inference is that Barack Obama (a Black man) has to give the country back to this uber-delusional clique of (white males) who believe fervently that America is their choice piece of real estate.
But far more sinister is the fact that this "I Want" also morphs into the "greed is good" credo and the do-what-I- want-to-hell-with-everybody syndrome. The age of individuality and "what's in it for me" has come full circle with dangerous manifestations of Wall Street excesses, corporate greed, financial shenanigans, ultra-rich debauchery, individual selfishness and greed that craves for anything and everything no mater how detached from reality and necessity. Nothing else is important only the selfish gratification of "I" an entitlement to anything at the expense of the vast majority of "we."
This is a perfect segway into the last part of the catch phrase. By implying that America is "my country" those who push this flawed idiom are suggesting that only they have a right to "own America." Such dangerous narrow thinking raises the scepter of xenophobia and intolerance to others who were born here but are not white and male. So when Republicans talk about what is happening to "my country" and the mad hatter raging right wing talk show hosts start screeching about "my country" we have to conclude that even though "we the people" voted in free and fair elections to put in government "our people" America is still not our country if we are not preferably white and male.
Finally, the nostalgic "back" is an old catchword used all through American history to mean very different things at different periods in history. It is therefore not a quantum leap to deduce that the old fogeys in the Republican Party and its spawn the Tea Party Movement going "back" is about putting the political genie back in the bottle and pushing the reset button. Back means putting Black, Brown and Yellow people back in their place. It means putting the white male back at the top of the social ladder and taking back the political system that they think has been high jacked with the election of America's first Black president.
It is a call to return to the old separate and unequal status of the United States. And its connotations are dire if the Tea Party mad men ever get their way. Its members, zealots and agitators would take great affront if Blacks, Latinos or Chinese started marching up and down America shouting about "taking my country back." For this so-called minority that is set in less than a decade to become the majority such utterances are seditious in the main.
So the mostly white Tea Party Movement and its Republican sponsors - the incestuous end result of an unholy marriage - send out these low-frequency signals to the throngs of the imbecilic faithful that are susceptible to the inane caveman grunting of a Caucasian-dominated cabal. Shamelessly utilizing the patois of noble American patriotism they stoke angry protests by a gullible mass genuinely believing that it is under siege and that President Barack Obama is a raving socialist bent on controlling all facets of American life. Critical thinking is not a strong suit of this populace.
Change is a scary thing for a dominant race used to the perks and privileges that accompany white skin. And when that change includes a demographic shift that would forever re-order and re-calibrate America's social, economic and political landscape then the still dominant group will fight tooth and nail to preserve the status quo. Welcome to 21st century America.