Tuesday, February 23, 2010

State Funeral

Am I the first person to say that I would like to see some serious Federal and State recognition for the attack on the IRS building in Texas, and a state funeral for the two tour Vietnam Veteran who was killed in the attack? I see no real time TV and listen to no talk radio other than NPR but it seems to me that the White House is missing an important opportunity here to confront the freak show on the far right head on. Mr. Hunter and his family deserve to mourn and celebrate their husband, father, and grandfather in private, of course, and I'm not suggesting that anything should be done that will turn their private grief into a public scene. But the fact of the matter is that the attack on the building that led to his death was a direct attack on the US government and all its public servants and every person who ever enters a public building--in other words: all of us.

The emergence of right wing violence is as perennial and as predictable as the appearance of cicadas: there are always disaffected, angry, violent, white guys in American society. When their own party/race/community is in power and they see the power to tax and police in "their own hands" they are content to expand the powers of government and to submit to its authority, secure in the belief that minorities, women, and poor people will be kept in their place. When the "opposite party" is in power, or seen to be in the ascendance, they become hysterical and withdraw their consent to the entire project of the nation: accepting neither the federal government, the police function, nor the power to tax. I don't think there are a lot of potential mass murderers out there, even on the fringe. I'm not worried about a hundred more Tim McVeigh's or IRS plane bombers. But I am concerned that we not give the modern GOP cover by pretending that these are not their voters or that they aren't in the business of supporting this kind of violence. There's a symbiotic relationship between the GOP, as currently constituted, and anti-tax/anti liberalism/anti government ideology--my own new boy toy ("Naked Came the Senator" as Tbogg calls him) said as much before someone reminded him that that might be a tad impolitic.

I think this is the time to force a public split between the Republican ruling class--which adopts and apes the language of the anti-taxers, and their angry base by drawing a public line between lower tax/limited government policies and speeches and violent anti-government actions. Make the Republicans own their violent fringe, and disown it too. I'd like to see a State Funeral for Mr. Hunter at Arlington, if his family would like that, and at the very least I want to see the Obama administration appropriate money for a new IRS building in the name of Mr. Hunter and force the entire Texas Republican hierarchy to attend the ground breaking ceremony and listen to speeches--and give speeches--about the importance of taxation to representation and to good governance.


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