It seems to be the over sixty crowd that’s really pissed off. They are the demographic that make up the majority of Rush’s audience (The average age of his listeners is 67).
Their clarion cry is, “I want my country back.”
Cenk Uygur tells us that the riotous demonstrations at town hall meetings aren’t about health care reform. “This is about the sinking feeling in their stomach that they are losing power in this country—losing control. That the reins of power are slipping out of their hands and they don’t know what to do about it, except really yell.”
People in their sixties (myself included) were born at an unfortunate period in our history—the euphoria following our victory in World War II. We were born into an age that saw the dawning of an unprecedented period of prosperity as the ranks of the middle class swelled and suburbs sprang up like running sores on a syphilitic whore.
It was an age of illusion when an all-powerful United States appeared to be a bastion of white male Anglo-Saxon protestant unity. (We must remember that from the 1820s on, a male dominated Protestant faith was the de facto state religion of America.)
Then the Sixties broke, the illusion vanished in a puff of smoke and Protestantism fell from its throne.
This is what they want back, the secure cocoon in which they all came to age. This is what they are pissed off about.
Some commentators have argued that the rancor over health reform in, in part, racial, a backlash against having an Afromerican in the White House. They are mistaken. Race is a fiction, a pseudoscientific theory that came into vogue in the eighteenth century as a rationale to justify the exploitation and extermination of non-European peoples.
Rather, it’s about culture, Euromerican culture. The screamers want to return to a time when Time-Life defined America, and three television networks told you all you needed to know about the world. They want to return to a simpler time, forgetting that the simplicity was little more than the blinders they all wore.
Uygur captures the irony of their protests when he points out that:
Some of them are holding up constitution. They finally get them out of the drawer where they were collecting mothballs as the Bush administration ran roughshod over that sacred text. They didn’t seem to demand loyalty to that document as the Bush team eviscerated the Fourth Amendment.
Actually, the Bush crew merely delivered the coup de grace to the document. Sixty years of the increased corporatization of life, coupled with state-inspired paranoia, had put the Constitution on life support. Bush simply pulled the plug, and Obama isn’t even looking for the outlet.
So they scream and cry, unaware in their anger that the America of their dreams died in the slaughter at Wounded Knee, in the firestorm that consumed Dresden, in the mushroom cloud over Hiroshima, in the jungles of Vietnam and in the mountains of Afghanistan.
Dementia is always a problem for us old farts.