In movies like “Revenge of the Nerds,” the restive malcontents just want to be able to party and make out with attractive partners, like the alpha males and females. But Tennessee’s currently playing “Revenge of the Rubes” is much darker and far less likely to result in anyone having a good time for very long, even the social elites. (Need I mention the obvious, such as global warming, nation-bankrupting wars in the Middle East or first-graders being killed by hails of bullets fired from super-lethal military-style weapons?)
The rubes are angry — very angry — and like the Incredible Hulk, they are not at all likeable when they’re angry.
These are some of the things that frighten the rubes and make them so very angry: facts, science, logic, reason, people with darker skin, presidents with funny-sounding names, gays, feminists, liberals, union workers, atheists, agnostics and Muslims.
Now, like sharks when blood is present, the rubes are turning on their own kind. Take, for example, Lamar Alexander, who outshines Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black the way the sun eclipses the moon (by which I mean the dark side). The rubes dearly love Blackburn and Black because they vote in line with Republican positions an astounding 99 percent of the time. But Alexander, being a thinking man rather than an ideologue, has voted in concert with President Obama’s positions 62 percent of the time. To the rubes, that’s like Luke Skywalker going over to the Dark Side of the Force. So now they’re scheming to get rid of Alexander in the next election, in order to replace him with another political zombie.
Never mind that President Obama is correct in his political positions far more often than the increasingly intolerant and fascist GOP. The rubes have no interest in who is actually doing the right things according to human wisdom, because they are guided by faith, not reason. So they “know” that evolution is a lie; that global warming is a hoax; that stricter gun control is the path to totalitarianism; that every human pregnancy is ordained by an all-wise God; and that homosexuality incurs the wrath of God, and thus explains hurricanes and other natural disasters.
People who are overwhelmed by irrational fears seldom make the best possible choices. Now here in Tennessee we have hordes of hyperkinetic Chicken Littles running around fearfully clucking that the sky is falling, when in reality it is their childish fears of nonexistent monsters in the closet that present the greatest danger to our rights and liberty. If, for example, one citizen has the right to carry assault weapons wherever he pleases, with enough ammo to take out an entire school or theater, that more than obviously infringes on the rights of concerned mothers and fathers to know that their children are not being turned into targets in a shooting gallery.
If we see sane, reasonable leaders like Lamar Alexander being replaced by more irrational people like Black and Blackburn, we should not be surprised when the inevitable happens, and Tennessee continues its slide back toward the Dark Ages. If we want progress, it’s time to send the political rubes back to their farms, or better yet to the Funny Farm for some serious counseling.
[Note: After I submitted the article above to The City Paper, Marsha Blackburn almost immediately made me seem like a prophet by challenging President Obama to a skeet-shooting contest. At a time when the nation is still mourning the loss of 20 precious first-graders and the six courageous educators who died trying to defend them from yet another mad gunslinger, Tennessee’s “Ms. Inappropriate” wants to prove to the world that she can wreak more destruction on clay pigeons. Rather than trying to put an end to the carnage, she intends to wow the rubes and the NRA by demonstrating that she can out-shoot the opposition. Unbelievable.]
Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.