From somewhere a memory stirred, inspired by the topic, and after reviewing it, I remembered exactly what it was. 1968. Vietnam. Civil rights. Economic disparity. And a great deal of unfocused outrage that would lead to the Weathermen. The Left seemed to be on the move, and the Rolling Stones captured the mood in their "Street Fighting Man":
Ev'rywhere I hear the sound of marching, charging feet, boy
'Cause summer's here and the time is right for fighting in the street, boy
. . .
Hey! Think the time is right for a palace revolution
'Cause where I live the game they play is compromise solution
. . .
Hey! Said my name is called disturbance
I'll shout and scream, I'll kill the king, I'll rail at all his servants
This mood was -in 1968- more propaganda than actuality despite the rise of the Weathermen, whose entire output of "revolution" is far exceeded by just one day's IED activity in Baghdad. But the threat was enough to motivate certain blocs of the Democratic Party base to shift allegiances and put Richard Nixon in power. These fearful actions seemed justified with the outrages committed by the Manson tribe, which itself helped to still the waters when upper-middle-class college students were gunned down by Nixon's "tin soldiers" at Kent State and Jackson State colleges. No one wanted to be the next one to die over a war lie. Everyone wanted to get back to where we once belonged, only that time had passed, never to return.
But the streets were again quiet, and society had allowed the violent suppression of protest to achieve this Potemkin Peace to become the norm. A state of calm seemed to return to the land, and we could again feel secure enough to dream big - even if the dream itself was a falsehood intended to cover a multitude of sins committed in the name of The Dream.
But like all pipe dreams, reality will intrude into the fantasy once the effects wear off. It always takes more substance to reach that same plateau in nirvana, and the cost of the trip soon becomes excessive. Those ensnared in the fantasy have trouble adapting to that revitalized reality, even fighting against their best interest to return to that relatively numb condition which is self-interpreted as idyllic.
It is thus with the Tea Baggers and their ilk. They want to return to a time when "people knew their place", when they knew that theirs was at the top of the heap. They see all the gains made by minorities as having been taken away from them and want to reverse those changes. The elections of 2006 and 2008 took away their governmental majority, leaving them impatient and worried that something might happen to change their perceptions of power and status before it could be regained. Not willing to wait to use the political process in that effort, they have adopted the tactics of the 1960's and are issuing calls for "a palace revolution". The call is answered with "the sound of marching, charging feet" as those who want the world BACK the way they thought it was (and they want it that way NOW) "shout and scream 'I'll kill the king'" and "rail at all his servants" who attempt to explain why those demands cannot or should not be met.
But to achieve power, the "game is called disturbance". Stage a raucous protest to stop the proper counting of ballots so that a partisan judiciary can decide who "really" won for the voters. Be obstructive in the passage of legislation and then scream that you weren't allowed to participate. Then attempt to make sure that no implementation of any change can happen. That attempt uses the implied threat of violence to turn the electorate once again as it did in 1968. Only like in 1968, the turn realized was not the turn intended.
The focus on the street violence of 1968 was intended to remove Lyndon Johnson's clique from power, not to facilitate the installation of Richard Nixon. It was a calamitous miscalculation. The threatened violence from the Tea Baggers (aided and abetted by the forces of social control in ways that the '60s radicals could only dream about) is intended only to remove Barack Obama and his clique from power, not to facilitate the rise of a fascist corporate state. It will prove to be a calamitous miscalculation if these people succeed.
Those out in the streets shouting about how Obama is a fascist/communist/socialist/Muslim extremist wouldn't know a real extremist if they met one in the mirror. They don't know for whom their efforts will directly benefit, choosing to believe the lies that they are the patriots saving their country from radicalism by being radicals. Should those who will benefit from the theocratic destruction of the expressions of popular democracy achieve their desired corporatist goals, these Tea Bagger fools don't think for one minute that the snake they ride will turn on them. They don't know about how Hitler turned on the Brown Shirts who made it possible for him to rise to power. The don't know how Lenin and Mao both purged the ranks of those deemed untrustworthy to the revolution once their usefulness had expired. It can't happen here! We're Americans!
It was so then, and so will be again if the Tea Bagger path is followed to its logical conclusion. No corporatist power elite is going to reward those who fought their fight by allowing them to realize any benefit from the effort. The Tea Baggers will be disarmed and put into the same place where everyone else landed. They won't have any of the rights they now think they are defending, as everyone of these is anathema to proper business management. Only then will they see the light, and their power will have been dissipated in creating their own prisons. They will be out of options.
Many current commentators express the opinion that the excesses of the Tea Baggers will work against them in the long run. I wish I could agree. While the historical norm is for radicalism to quickly die out, or to get so extreme that it loses popular support, sometimes that doesn't happen before the entire social norm is overthrown. The ensuing anarchy always produces totalitarianism. As there is evidence that big money is behind these "populist" protests and actions, one can only assume that anarchy is the strategy and totalitarianism the goal. And the more the Tea Baggers are whipped up to bring on socio-political Armageddon in America, the more likely that elitist totalitarianism is the outcome of the effort - no matter the alleged renunciation of the means of achieving that goal.
It CAN happen here, especially because we're Americans.