She was 18, tall, blond, long-legged, and bubbling with laughter. I’ll call her “Bubbles.” We were chorus dancers in a Broadway-bound musical. After it closed she married, raised kids, and gained too much weight. Now she tries to tune out the world. After a few of my posts she asked me to remove her name, saying “political stuff” raised her blood pressure. I removed it.
My blood pressure goes up too when I listen to, say, Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannity, not to mention Glenn Beck, the hot air equivalent of Timothy McVeigh, who blew up a federal building killing 168, and was executed for murder.
Sixty years ago, raving radicals both left and right helped define the center. Nevertheless, my ire, if not blood pressure was raised by anarchists, Marxists, and the likes of Senator Joe McCarthy.
Now the radical left is less than a whisper while the raving radical right masquerades as conservative, defiling Conservatism and mocking honest conservatives whose views are much needed. Conservative columnist/pundit, David Brooks, clear-headed and fair-minded, looks pained when forced to discuss radical right ravings.
I have a friend, ex-military, another honest conservative. When attending War College, he was assigned to write an essay on the origins and history of war, a rich subject. If I had a crack at it I’d begin by defining war as an endeavor by a definable group to dominate, enslave, or eliminate another group. Two species of ants brought into contact will fight to the death. If ants are not close enough to human, early Humano Sapiens wiped out its rival, Humano Neanderthalensis, so war existed long before civilization. It’s a survival mechanism; to the victor belongs survival.
Consider how Killer Bees do it; they’re a hybrid species now spreading and replacing ordinary honey bees all over the world. Angrier and more aggressive than friendly American bees, they are dangerous to bee keepers, passers by, and other beehives. They invade, sting the queen to death and replace her with their own queen, who thereupon produces tens of thousands of killer progeny. How’s that for a survival mechanism? (Invasion of the Body Snatchers!)
Tea Party radicals are the human equivalent of Killer Bees. They feed on resentment, anger, and fear, and they gobbled up poor Bubbles. When I compare the laughing lithe 18-year old, with the tense, obese, eyes-wide-shut, recluse she became, I feel pity and sadness. It also raises a grim specter; if the only solution to radicalism is replacing misery with joy, there’s a long long road ahead.