I wasn't at the Tea Party.
I (unlike many of my neighbors) have a job, and had to go to work. Thus I missed the "Obama is a Fascist" signs and even the stranger-than-fiction image of the former next Governor of South Carolina being booed off the stage by a crowd of Greenville "conservatives." Evidently, the Left and Right have now completely switched places and it is the Left which must go to work, pay taxes and keep some semblance of law and order while the unemployed Right waves its pitchforks and threatens the health and well-being of the elected class.
It's enough to make a conservative nervous. Demagogy--the use (or rather, mis-use) of people's fear and paranoia to further one's political power, is a very dangerous method of leadership. Healthy democracies depend upon an educated electorate, not a fearful or hateful one, chiefly due to the fact that fear and hate are rather difficult to control. The GOP, and its media outlets (Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, pretty much all the South Carolina MSM), created last week's Tea Parties, filmed them with great delight, and now wait to see if the flames thus created will catch fire. The GOP should be shopping for asbestos gloves.
Because the Tea Parties, while filled with more than their share of Obama haters, white supremacists, and other assorted wing-nuts, are just the American version of the anarchist protests that dogged the G20 Summit in London, earlier this month. Those protests, fed by seething anger over the British bank bailouts, seemed to have much more in common with the Tea Parties than the GOP and its supporters would like to admit. The G20 protests really didn't accomplish much (the G20 pledged trillions more to try to breathe life into the corpse of free market capitalism). Neither did the Tea Parties. The bailouts go on, undaunted.
But here's the rub: the GOP cannot control this anger. After all, people know that the past 3 decades of conservative rule (including that of pseudo-liberal Bill Clinton) have led us to the meltdown in the world economic system. Perhaps the best example of failure to control the mob was the demise of Robespierre and his fellow demagogues of the French Revolution, who finally were separated from their heads when the Reign of Terror gave way to the White Terror in 1794.
The fires of hell are hot. Stoking them is foolish. More foolish still is doing it without asbestos gloves.