Alex and I know a lot of the same people in Fort Wayne, and every so often we talk about them. “Why is X so angry?” a typical exchange might go, where X is a well-known right-wing – no, far right-wing – conservative. “They have everything they ever wanted — GOP supermajorities in the state legislature, control in both houses of Congress, a replacement for Scalia who’s even more hard-line and young enough he might sit on the Supreme Court for another generation. They have a president who’s only held back by his increasingly desperate staff, and Mike Pence warming up in the bullpen. And yet, they’re furious pretty much all the time.”
We rarely have an answer. This is just how we email and text back and forth.
I was thinking about this over the weekend, doing the drudgery of reassembling the kitchen and cleaning up the construction dust. And I thought about a woman I once knew a little, an online acquaintance, who said there were two primary emotions that drive us, love and fear, and she tried to choose love whenever possible. I made a case for anger, and she countered that anger was just a different form of fear. I thought she was full of shit, but now I think she was on to something. The debate over guns is shaping up to be a big fear festival.
Speaking of Indiana, here’s a typical story from the northernmost southern state, about an older gentleman, self-identified as a veteran and a member of something called the Oath Keepers, who has parked his heavily armed self outside one Fort Wayne high school, handgun and AR-15 at the ready, to keep the students safe. The school district knows he’s there, but he’s not on school grounds and there’s nothing they can do about him.
I don’t think it’s a wild stretch to speculate that this gentleman thinks of himself as a “sheepdog,” and in fact, when you google “oath keepers” + sheepdog, look what turns up? Yes, the O.K.s think of themselves as protectors of we dumb ol’ sheep, who think that going around unarmed is a sensible way to live your life.
So who lives in fear? Who spreads fear? I know lots of people like to refer to firearms as penis proxies, and maybe they are, but when the NRA talks about “hardening” American schools, they’re using fear to sell guns (which is maybe the only reason to buy a gun, when you think about it), and if its corollary, anger, works, then why not?
I don’t fear a mass shooting, except abstractly, the way I fear being flattened by a wrong-way driver on the freeway. I ride my bike through neighborhoods in Detroit that some of these Oath Keeper pussies wouldn’t enter in an armored car, and I’ve never felt threatened.
No wonder they’re angry all the time. Of course, they’re getting old, too. Nothing like the damp breath of the grave to send a chill down one’s spine. Especially when so many young people are showing no sign of giving a shit about you and your sheepdog posturing, so that you’re reduced to shaking your cane at them:
Parents, what would you do if your child lectured and ridiculed a U.S. Senator on national television?
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) February 22, 2018
HOW TEENS SPEAK TO AND ABT ADULTS: “We shd change the names of AR-15s to ‘Marco Rubio’ bc they are so easy to buy,” Stoneman Douglas sophomore Sarah Chadwick tweeted.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) February 23, 2018
Very amusing, both of those. These kids will have their hearts broken by the pace of political change sooner or later, but they’ll still be trying.
So, what’s the bloggage?
Mona Charen, as rigid a right-winger as you could ask for, is booed at CPAC and leaves the hall with security. Why? Because she criticized the president.
CPAC was crazy top to bottom, but you guys have already been over that.
Alan is calling me downstairs for a consult on shelf placement in one of the three closets he rehabbed this weekend. The work just keeps on coming.
Good Monday, all.