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Late Night: They Must Love Us Now

A teabagger discovers another amendment

As I watched the first tiny peep of congressional rebellion against the odious, authoritarian policies that have swamped America since The Day That Changed Everything narrowly defeated in the House yesterday, I was reminded of the endlessly repeated, tinny refrain of those dark days, “They hate us for our freedom.”   According to such preschool logic, the “Patriot Act,” passed nearly unanimously a few weeks later, should have fixed that once and for all.

But for a disturbingly large number of Americans and nearly all of their elected representatives, both then and now, every little freedom, even those hidden under the sofa cushions, had to be rooted out, and because this is America, a rapacious passel of corporate welfare queens sprouted, like mushrooms after a rain, to cash in on getting rid of those hated freedoms.  That way, we could move on to spending a lot of money winning back their hatred by more conventional means.

You see, “they” did hate us for our freedoms: it just wasn’t the “they” we were told it was.  As we are belatedly discovering, “they” aren’t holed up in caves and wearing funny headdresses, but rather in green rooms wearing pancake makeup.  “They” sport cufflinks and medals, wield Top Secret rubber stamps, and reassuringly remind us that “if we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear,” as they literally build warehouses in which they pile up, well, everything about us they can get their well-manicured paws on.

For more than a decade, through administrations of both parties, the Police State operated like a ratchet, cloaked in flattering darkness even as the rest of us are left shoeless and stripped, blinking in the glare of the interrogator’s spotlight as the bolts continue to tighten.

Ironically, it took a 30-something teabagger, evidently not yet schooled in the notion that “small government” might have some meaning beyond coddling looters and polluters, to rouse the House to finally have the debate about warrantless surveillance the “Democratic” President falsely claimed to welcome.  I’m sure that ol’ John Conyers and that gangly Cassandra from my home state, Sen. Ron Wyden (Go Ducks!) were at least as surprised as I was to find that a baby-faced member of the Koch-funded Class of 2010 would take up the chains once rattled by the ghost of Russ Feingold.  But Justin Amash (R-Michigan) did, and the bedwetting that ensued soaked sheets from the White House to Langley, and deservedly so.

With a brazenness that was as insulting as it was (barely) effective, proven perjurers like James (least untruthful) Clapper and Keith (52-ish terror plots) Alexander joined the White House and Nancy (off the table) Pelosi in a nakedly desperate reprisal of that old SNL skit, “That’s the ticket.”  In the process, we found out that when it comes to cynical fear-mongering, Debbie Wasserman Schultz is, basically, Michele Bachmann with worse hair, and Steny Hoyer is John Boehner minus the sexy tan.

It seems that a fragile and unlikely coalition is building, not just among terror-weary and long-suffering actual Americans, but in the overdressed gasbags who pretend to represent us, that want to give us back some freedom for the terrorists to hate, in addition to all the other, more obvious things.

I’ll take it.

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