At the outset of the Tea Party demonstrations, comparisons were made to The Civil War by myself and other people. In retrospect, this was far too generous a comparison to make. I hardly wish to grant such people so high a compliment, even one rendered ignobly. In much more eloquent terms than I, people have recently dissected the motives and behavior of the mob, and fortunately its crackpot ideology is not as widespread as was the secessionist sentiment in the South in 1860. Those times were the apex of more than two decade’s worth of upheaval and violence, the likes of which we have yet to see since, and which I hope to never see again. It takes more than just one unpopular bill to give people cause to most citizens to arm themselves en masse in open rebellion. Many may not support health care reform, but they feel no compulsion to vandalize offices, spit on legislators, and hurl epithets. These are merely the actions of a few reactionary imbeciles.
The behavior of the Republican Party towards the Teabaggers, by contrast, is what I find most reprehensible. Never was a mutually parasitic relationship more shockingly transparent. The GOP sees the Tea Party as its meal ticket back to power and will never condemn its tactics outright since doing so risks losing its endorsement. However, it is a slippery slope that Republicans are scaling here, and making a Faustian bargain has proven to be the eventual undoing of many. Fear of change and fear of the unknown is the energy source of this movement, but it goes much deeper than this, too.