One sunny afternoon, in the lobby of the very first casino hotel located on what was to become the fabulous Las Vegas Strip, I watched and listened as a United States senator terrorize a lobby full of grown men. After delivering a hate-filled diatribe against, “foreigner communists,” he demanded each of the men give their names and political preferences to his aide. Moreover, I clearly recall that he actually threatened prison sentences to those rash enough to withhold such information.
The tea party would have loved him.
I was a child, thus neither noticed nor included in the senator’s tirade, but his vitriol scared the hell out of me anyway. I’ll never forget those moments; they're indelibly seared into my memory.
Almost all of those men were either born in another country or first-generation Americans, and I'm dead certain that every one of them lied to the senatorial toady who obediently scribbled down their clearly creative responses.
Today a major thoroughfare surrounding one of northern Nevada’s most important cities bears the name of that senator, who is clearly the spiritual and ideological father of hate merchants like Sharron Angle and Mitch McConnell, and I always feel a sort of revulsion when speaking his name every time I'm asked for directions.
Those men in that hotel lobby, regardless of their lineage, were, by definition, Americans. Such an incident could not and would not be tolerated today…except, maybe, in the southeastern quadrant of this country.
(Note: If, by the above qualification, I have insulted any shitkicker bigots, good. On the other hand, having spent twelve years in Nashville, I’ve learned that there are a great many highly intelligent open-minded citizens living amongst the ignorami. Also, good.)
My point is this. Because of the unlimited money that poured into devious ads and outright lies that strangled the truth prior to the 2010 elections, millions of Americans got blind-sided, but not blinded.
That’s why the criminal mentality of most who have so recently risen to power is the same instrument that will inevitably defeat them. We can and will tolerate their masquerades as patriots, their insatiable greed for money and power, for the next two years. After all, we just recently did it for eight.