Let the “Patriots” Rave

bill o'reillyOne of my fellow lefties just forwarded me another of those spammed emails she regularly gets from “patriots” of the Tea Party persuasion.

I get the same sort of screeds via cyberspace and snail mail. Most of them are unsigned or come with pseudonyms. (Otherwise, one of President Obama’s black helicopters, flown by socialist UN pilots, might swoop down and haul them off to one of his secret FEMA concentration camps.)

Against my counsel, my friend feels compelled to answer her detractors. I never do.

Paranoia and a persecution complex, not reason and logic, fire these uber-conservatives, even those who sign what they write.

Hence, responding to these don’t-confuse-me-with-the-facts-my-mind’s-made-up “patriots” is a waste of time, and it provides them the validation they crave. Ignoring them drives them even battier.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to reading How Bill O’Reilly Saved Christmas: A Fair and Balanced Account of Right-Wing Persecution by Michael Wolraich. The book is supposed to be out in November, so I’ve added it to my Christmas wish list.

The Washington Post’s Steven E. Levingston featured the book in one of his online “Political Bookworm” columns in March. The topic is even timelier as election day draws nigh.

“The far right has been spinning paranoid fantasies about the persecution of white Christian conservatives since the 1970s, but Fox News and Republican leaders began pushing these fringe views into the mainstream a few years ago,” Levingston quoted Wolraich. “After Obama’s election, they whipped the trend into an epidemic of paranoia that we haven’t seen since the Red Scare. The result is a destruction of mutual trust that has paralyzed the government.”

The author added: “I started the book after watching Pat Buchanan shout at Rachel Maddow about the ‘affirmative action appointment’ of Judge Sotomayor and the terrible discrimination suffered by white males. I began to see how integral the myth of persecution has been to the growing power of the right wing. Seemingly innocuous stories, like Bill O’Reilly’s alleged ‘war on Christmas,’ are much darker than they appear at a glance. O’Reilly warned his viewers of a secret conspiracy between billionaire George Soros, liberal newspapers, and the ACLU to ban Christmas in order to pave the way for gay marriage, euthanasia, legalized drugs, and socialism. (He accused the New York Times and the L.A. Times but not the Washington Post, so I guess that you guys weren’t in on the plot.)

“After I started writing, Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh went nuts and began trumpeting wacky conspiracy theories about villainous ‘czars’ in the White House who were deliberately wrecking the economy in order to justify a military crackdown on conservatives and some kind of fascist-communist revolution with eugenics and bestiality sprinkled on top. But O’Reilly’s war on Christmas was the launching pad that took persecution politics from fringe to mainstream, so I named the book in his honor.”

For the record, paranoia and a persecution complex also infect some people on the loopy left. Occasionally, I get emails and letters from these folks claiming I’m not sufficiently leftist. I don’t acknowledge them either.

“The left wing buzzed with conspiracy theories related to the Iraq War and 9/11, and the JFK assassination is a perennial favorite on the left,” Wolraich told Levingston. “Author Thomas Frank, in his book, ‘What’s the Matter with Kansas ,’ observed that right-wing demagogues lifted their anti-elitist vocabulary almost verbatim from left-wing populists who raged at the end of the 19th century.

Wolraich explained, “The difference today between left and right is that Democratic leaders and popular liberal journalists reject left-wing paranoia, whereas many prominent Republicans and conservative media stars actively promote right-wing paranoia.”

Levingston asked Wolraich what’s “the single most resilient myth” the book crushes. “Legalizing gay marriage would not mean that people could also marry ducks, goats, and dolphins,” he replied.

But here’s my favorite part of what Wolraich said: “Seriously, I don’t see my book as a myth-crusher. The right-wing persecution mythology is so obviously absurd that it’s self-crushing — except to those who are under its spell, but they won’t be convinced by logical remonstrations from a professed liberal [Italics mine].”

So, my leftist fellow traveler, the next time you get one of those Obama-is-a-Kenyan-born-Islamo-Socialist emails, hit the delete button on your computer. Go outside and enjoy these lazy, late summer days that are fast waning. Let the “patriots” rave.

Berry Craig


  1. Annette says

    Yes, they’re raging, but the problem is that there’s often a grain of truth in what they say. Take the illegal immigration and our economic problems. The left wing completely denies that illegal immigration is a problem, and attacks anyone who wants to solve the problem by calling them racist. That’s just not true, and it makes sensible Democrats leave our Party because we see we’re getting duped into paying for people who shouldn’t get our resources.

    On the economy, it’s just as schizophrenic. The right wing screams that Obama is a socialist, and the left wing accepts everything he says and does, from fast tracking offshore oil drilling (thank god we had the BP blowup right after Obama tried to sneak that one by us) to ObamaCare that screws the middle class by making us pay for the rich and the poor once again (the poor and the deliberately poor will get yet another freebie, while the rich reap the rewards of Universal Health INSURANCE instead of universal health CARE).

    How are we going to fix the immense problems we face if our own Party members are calling us racists for trying to stop illegal immigration. How are we ever going to get true universal health care when the left can’t admit that Obama and our Dems screwed us in order to make sure the rich insurance industry that owns our government gets even richer off the backs of the middle class?

    So, yes, the patriots are raging and some of them are silly. But the truly dangerous people are not the right wing nutcases, it’s the left wing naïve liberals who don’t seem to understand that the Democratic Party is just as invested as the Republican Party in making the rich richer.


  1. […] Let the "Patriots" Rave | The LA Progressive Anyway, I'm looking forward to reading How Bill O'Reilly Saved Christmas: A Fair and Balanced Account of Right-Wing Persecution by Michael Wolraich. The book is supposed to be out in November, so I've added it to my Christmas wish list. […]

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