In the 21st century, small parts of the American public have worked very hard to put together a strategy to smear the current president. They compare him to Hitler, display him as a monkey, say he’s trying to kill grandma, chant that he is a fascist and organize marches against him. They do this with efforts to prevent that leader from producing sweeping change across the nation. As time goes on, that leader falls from high approval ratings to low approval ratings, and it seems like his political capital is dwindling to nothing. I am not talking solely about President Obama, by the way, I am also talking about President Bush.
For someone who wants health care reform, cap and trade and a foreign policy that relies at least a little on diplomacy, the Tea Party movement has become an annoyance. Some, like former President Jimmy Carter, have resorted to calling these protesters racist. Indeed, some of them are. The ones certain Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya are racist. But to my friends on the left, do not forget it was not that long ago when many of those in our own ranks compared Bush to Hitler, a monkey and a fascist. When these liberals found out about Abu Ghraib and warrantless wiretapping, they called Bush a fascist. When Bush introduced Medicare reform that would increase cost of drugs for the elderly, liberals called him “grandma killer.” When Bush choked on a pretzel, failed to open a door and watched intently as a lamp swung over his head, liberals compared him to a monkey. If anything, as Politico newspaper aptly put it, these recent protests from the Tea Party come straight out of the liberal playbook.
The fact is these people are not all racist; they are simply unable to form a logical argument. As a result, they stick to simple soundbites comparing presidents to unpopular people in history, animals and extreme political ideologies. Just because some in the Tea Party’s midst are racist does not mean all the protesters are all racist. Both the right and the left, including myself, are guilty of fallacy.
Now, I hear the people on the left already shouting at me: “But Bush tortured people! Of course he is Hitler! Obama just wants to give health insurance to everyone!” Reality check: Hitler set up train lines to send people to slaughter houses. He killed 12 million people and started a war that resulted in the death of 56 million. Until someone does that, they are unworthy of being compared to Hitler.
Martha Coakley and the Democratic Party lost in Massachusetts because they saw the anger of constituents as limited to fringe groups. They thought these protestors were shouting just for the sake of shouting. Obama thought this anger was directed toward the failures of the Bush Administration. During the 2008 campaign Obama tapped this anger to his advantage. What he failed to realize was this anger was directed at the government as a whole, not just Bush. That is why we see the same attacks on President Obama that we saw on President Bush.
We love a shouting match. We love to watch people yell and scream at the top of their lungs, and we love to join them. We are a society that believes “he who speaks loudest gets heard.” It’s more than a belief though — it’s true. That’s why a congressman like Rep. Joe Wilson, whose name was previously unknown to most Americans, can gain wide recognition and millions in campaign dollars for shouting “You Lie!” to the President. That is why a man who posed nude for Cosmo can win a Senate seat from the back of his Ford. We are a society that feeds on sensationalism and anger. As long as that continues, the left and right will resort to name-calling and will buck the establishment. The election in Massachusetts is not a warning to the Democrats, but to any incumbent in this race who fails to tap the anger.