Saturday, September 12, 2009
Op-Ed Columnist - Parsing Mr. Wilson’s Apology - NYTimes.com
Joe Wilson, who will be forever known as the “You lie!” congressman, unless he does something even weirder in the future, has a lot of fans this weekend at the Taxpayer March on Washington. This is an anti-Obama demonstration organized by FreedomWorks, the group that helped bring us the summer town hall meeting protests. Those were, of course, the events where we learned that we did not actually have a national consensus on the inadvisability of bringing loaded weapons to places where the president is speaking...Among the co-sponsors of the march are the Tea Party Patriots, who helped bring us those anti-tax rallies last spring...The one thing that unites them seems to be a sense of inchoate rage. Although mentioning it makes them really, really mad.
It's all familiar--Revolution For The Hell Of It. That's what we were up to in 1968, marching in Chicago to disrupt the Democratic National Convention. Some people had serious political agendas but most of us were there to have fun, and to vent that inchoate rage.
I didn't see the pig, but I just read about it in Nixonland, a sentimental journey back to the days of Revolution. I was just a foot soldier lost in the crowd and didn't see much, but apparently our leaders, after yelling insults at the Chicago cops hoping to provoke a reaction released a greased pig in Lincoln park which the cops had to capture.
I'm not even sure why I was there. Partly I think I was there to participate in a world historic event--to have been there--and partly to protest against a variety of social inequities and features of the culture I didn't like. We all had our particular betes noir. For me it was dress codes and grooming requirements. I was always irritated when people assumed that I dressed like a slob because I had some radical political agenda or flaky philosophy of life. I wasn't a slob because I was a hippie: I was a hippy because I was a slob.
For others it was educational and occupational expectations. We were the first generation of kids for whom college was mandatory so colleges were full of students who had no academic interests or career goals, couldn't or wouldn't do the work, and had no reason to be there. They were mad at the system that was forcing them through the meat grinder, through college and to respectable middle class jobs in which they had no interest. For all of us of course there was the war in Vietnam--the great symbol of everything we didn't like.
Now it's payback time. Those working stiffs who drudged away while we had fun doing revolution, the Chicago cops we insulted and provoked, those working class Joes who watched us rich brats enjoying opportunities they never got, frolicking in the streets, graduating, getting the good jobs, getting rich and hijacking the whole culture are getting theirs back. Now they're doing tea parties, town hall meetings and revolution for the hell of it.