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Last Liberal Standing

I don't deny that my pals on the left know how to stick their fingers in their ears. I don't deny that we would prefer to block out what the Tea Party is saying. Although there are elements of the T.P. message that we could agree with, we're suspicious of motives, suspicious of the people spurring on the entire movement, suspicious about what the message really means.

Confession: I haven't kept up. But in the earlier stages of the T.P. evolution, I tried to discuss things with my sister, who admired Glenn Beck enormously, wanted everyone to read Glenn Beck's Common Sense, and told me she wanted to "get back to a time when people were nicer to each other--more polite and respectful, had manners and morals," etc. etc.

Hoping to be more polite and respectful to my sister, I read Beck's book and watched several installments of his program. I insisted on being as fair and open-minded as I could be. But I did not see a man who was polite and respectful and nice. I thought his manners were deplorable. He seemed a hypocrite. He seemed to use a variety of tricks to manipulate people into a seething disrespect for . . . well, for the government, when that target suited him, but also, flagrantly, for Barack Obama, whom he portrayed as a racist and socialist, hell-bent on destroying everything good about American life.

It seemed to me then that Tea Party members were being led down the path of blind rage against whomever the gurus like Glenn decided were the enemies of the country. People were being encouraged to shout, "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore!" As the economic condition in the country failed to improve, the mood got worse and worse, and it was more and more tempting to join the mad-as-hell Tea Partiers at Glenn's Beck and Call.

Again, I admit that I haven't tuned in to the Beck and Call Club in a long time, and maybe it's got more substance now than it had in the beginning. But that's one reason my lefty pals have their fingers in their ears: In the beginning there was heat, not light.

(Another big reason for fingers-in-ears: cognitive dissonance, which afflicts liberals as well as every other member of the human race. I took a tentative stab at THAT condition this morning, in a reply to you, Peg. It’s on my blog at: http://lastliberalstand.wordpress.com/2010/09/09/say-something-outrageous/#comments )

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