Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Monsters Have Come To Maple Street … Or Creekside Park”

"Look at that street. It's nothing but candles. It's like going back into the Dark Ages or something." — the character Charlie from 'The Monsters Have Come To Maple Street' by Rod Serling

Well, since my original blog post yesterday got hijacked (read wiped out) by the 21-hour power outage due to yesterday's run-of-the-mill thunderstorm, I'm doing a different one instead.

Yesterday and especially last night was right out of Rod Serling for me, save for the meteor vs. space ship controversy, resulting paranoia and eventual, chaotic turning against ourselves. We had nothing but a typical thunderstorm with heavy rain and not even a notable amount of lightning strikes, but we couldn't explain nor determine why it required us a full day in the dark. The Monsters had come to Creekside Park Drive.

As night fell, it became obvious that our block was the only one left without power! Literally I could walk down to the main road, or over to the next street and see light, but then turn the corner onto our street and it was pitch dark! Literally there was one house with light and another with no power right next door!

It was kinda creepy being the only ones left in the dark for the night. Even though we were civil amongst ourselves, there was edgy frustration. No one was happy, and we were either sitting on porches or truck tailgates in driveways or restlessly wandering the streets.

It was as if the rest of the world was going on with their regular lives and we were left out and forgotten. Our street was singled out for the Dark Ages. Oddly it's how I felt: I had so much I needed to get done along with the blog and I was simply stuck in neutral with a fully wasted day!

So I began today inherently agitated. It also occurred to me the date: today is April 19th. This is the wack jobs nut-out and commit mass mayhem day. It's also a red-letter day for liberal-hating right-wing types as it's the anniversary of the siege at the Branch Davidian compound outside of Waco. While his sect was deemed extremely controversial and referred to as a cult, the FBI raid and resulting violent immolation by David Koresh and his followers struck a nerve in neo-conservatives of the religiopolitical variety.

Extremist conservatives saw it as a catalytic date to strike back at the government. At the two-year anniversary, it was Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols who used the day to bomb the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.

Hopefully the day ends up with no incident, however the significance shouldn't be put out of mind with the current anti-government fervor by even more mainstream conservatives. To wit: the recent Teabaggers revolt. While the Teabag parties went on without incident on April 15, there was one incident in front of the White House where protesters tossed over a box of tea. In the post 9/11 world with America at war, it's no surprise that the Secret Service immediately seized upon the item and broke up the protest post-haste.

"Let me tell you: you're starting something here that ... that's what you should be frightened of! And as God is my witness, you're letting something begin here that's a nightmare!" — character Les Goodman from 'The Monsters Have Come To Maple Street' by Rod Serling

A number of articles looked at the tax day, teabag protests and seemed to note a lack of real message. It seems these are just protests of folks being angry just for the sake of being angry. And of course conservative politicians are taking every opportunity to be front and center, riding the wave of anger.

Brian Smith, a marketer from Greenville, S.C., in Washington on business who came by the rally stated his reasons for attending: "I love my country and I don't like what's going on. Government – to be honest with you, and this will probably be misquoted, but on 9/11, I think they hit the wrong building. They should have gone into the Capitol building, hit out, knocked out both sides of the aisle, we'd start from scratch, we'd be better off today." When the reporter from Salon pointed out that "they" did try to hit the Capitol, Smith replied "Yeah, I know, they missed. The wrong sequence. If someone had to go, it should have been the Capitol building. On that day I felt differently, but today that's the way I feel."

Neo-patriotism: Love your country, but cheer on any terrorist that takes out the U.S. Government! And this is post 9/11, coming openly at a rally that nationally featured a who's who of conservative Republican America! I recall Pres. George W. Bush stating before his initial joint-session speech after the attacks that "either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." So now in 2009 you can be with both?

The Washington protest crowd cheered loudly when neo-con radio pundit Laura Ingraham said they were all "right-wing extremists," referring to a Homeland Security report warning of danger from disgruntled conservatives. Actually I don't think that's so far-fetched to be scoffed. These types of protests, full of older, 'rock-ribbed Republicans,' would be perfect cover for agents provocateur. Toss in a Posse Comitatus or a WTO anarchist type with an incendiary device and this could get ugly very quickly.

And the jammed messaging in heavy rotation is that "this is the tip of the iceberg!"

"I know who it is! I know who the monster is! I know who it is that doesn't belong among us!" — the character Charlie from 'The Monsters Have Come To Maple Street' by Rod Serling

Even Texas' own Gov. Perry's comments are being both picked apart and strongly defended by many of his conservative colleagues! Fox's Geraldo Rivera called him "grossly irresponsible" and ripe for impeachment, but good conservatives like the unimpeachable Tom DeLay called Perry a "righteous governor" who was "standing up for the sovereignty of his state." To that end, Texas House is pushing through HCR 50, a resolution establishing Texas' sovereignty from Federal Government mandates. The Guv is also still pushing forth that he will reject at least unemployment funding (though his rhetoric indicates he's rejecting stimulus money en toto).

To that end, with little debate, the House on a voice vote approved erasing 96 percent of the nearly $24 million that budget writers had recommended for Perry's office operation over the next two years. "That's the headline: 'Two days after governor says we ought to secede, House zeroes out the governor's budget,'" said Appropriations Committee vice chairman Richard Raymond, (D-Laredo)

Impact the state's budget and the state will impact yours!

"Here's something you can do, Charlie. You can keep your mouth shut! You can quit sitting there like a self-appointed hanging judge and climb into bed and forget it!" — character Steve Brand from 'The Monsters Have Come To Maple Street' by Rod Serling

Now some are trying to pull back a bit and explain Gov. Perry's secession commentary on Teabag day. Rep. John Culberson (R-Houston) explained that Gov. Perry just got "excited. Texans are the most patriotic of Americans. Gov. Perry's a patriot, he just got revved up."

After all of the created controversy during last year's presidential campaign about whether or not Barack Obama had refused to pledge allegiance to the flag, it's ironic that Gov. Perry, presumably a "patriotic" pledger would make such statements even in excitement, considering the pledge declares: "one nation, under God, *indivisible* ...." side note to Gov. Rick Perry: Pledging "indivisible" means not dividing states away from the union ... just in case the term wasn't understood. One wonders how "excited" one must get to allow and excuse unpatriotic commentary, Rep. Culberson?

All of this revolutionary hubbub is over, what exactly? They've called them, and people are showing up with blood in their eyes. But what exactly is their point? There's not a tax-hike as yet and taxes are as low as they've been since the 20's, so the paying "too much taxes" doesn't pan out as a sudden problem. Some note the government spending, but this has been going willy-nilly for eight years under a heavy GOP-laden government and no one uttered a peep. Bank bailouts? Those began under George W. Bush, and would've been worse if the House had just buckled under to Bush & Paulson's initial request of $700 billion with no strings attached, nor any accountability!

All we've got is the anger, and as so many of the gleeful anti-Obama pundits have continued the mantra: this is just the tip of the iceberg. With everyone scared and in the dark, and the frenzy the media pundits have inspired now, the monsters have come to America now. The only question is truly who are the monsters?

"Throw them into darkness for a few hours, then sit back and watch the pattern.... They pick the most dangerous enemy they can find; and it's themselves. All we need do is sit back and watch.... Their world is full of "Maple Streets." And we'll go from one to the other and let them destroy themselves." — the lead observer Alien from 'The Monsters Have Come To Maple Street' by Rod Serling

"We have met the enemy, and he is us." — Walt Kelly from the comic strip 'Pogo'

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