I am a great believer in used-bookstore serendipity. Sometimes when you’re thinking about how to express something, you find a perfect exemplification of it just by chance in the musty stacks of such an emporium. Here’s a remarkable example. I’d been trying to find a way to write about Tea Party ideology, and in particular about the fraudulent history and distorted language it indulges in. Listen to Tea Partiers on cable news—or read the signs they hoist or their Internet comments—and you frequently encounter the flagrant abuse, the historically ignorant misuse, of words such as tyranny, communist, Marxist, fascist, and socialist.
You hear them say, for instance, that we live under “tyranny” because one side lost a health care vote in an elected legislative body. And that, in all seriousness, the president is a communist. For many Tea Party members, the word is not just a vile epithet; it’s a realistic political description. Check out this clip in which Tea Party “celebrity” spokeswoman Victoria Jackson flatly tells a flummoxed Fox News host, “The president’s a communist.” When the host (the Fox host!) starts to object, she responds that Glenn Beck has taught her that progressive is a code word for communist. (Time to put that ugly hammer and sickle logo inside the “O” on your I-hate-Obama T.P. protest sign!)
Unless of course Obama is really a “fascist,” as some T.P.ers have it, because he’s a liberal, and liberals are fascists (as we all know from that magisterial work of history, Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg). So instead of the hammer and sickle, draw a little Hitler mustache on Obama’s face on your T.P. hate signs. Or better yet, parade around with a swastika! (The Tea Partiers seem to get a special kick out of this, for some reason.)
[Read more at Slate]