There’s a thread at Digby’s joint about last night’s brouhaha in Tampa, and this comment by willrob really gets to the heart of the matter:
There’s a woman on tape at a town hall health care meeting asking a question of her congressman. She ends up crying, saying she wants her country back.
That isn’t about health care. It’s about racism. But it’s not the racism of Bull Connor in the South forty years ago, with fire hoses and dogs. This is racism today, a kind of rube country club racism for the lower middle class. For millions of white Americans, they never had to dig deep about how they feel about race. Until we elected a black president.
I think that commenter is onto something. It’s the same force that animates the YouTube loonies we marveled at yesterday, and the language is always the same no matter what the issue is: “I want my country back.” It’s what prompted the crowd at last night’s meeting to break into this chant: “40 million illegals! 40 million illegals!”
These people don’t care fuck-all about health care, just as that ignorant ass at a McCain rally who rose to tremulously accuse Obama of being “an Arab” didn’t give one steaming turd about national policy. It’s about being usurped by The Other, and I’ll bet half of the screechers don’t even realize it themselves because it’s coming from a primordial corner of an unexamined psyche.
There are legitimate grounds on which to oppose every policy Obama supports, but that’s not what these people are doing. They are being whipped into a frenzy by nutbags like Beck and Limbaugh playing on their racial fears, and it’s hard to see where it will end. After last night, I’m starting to think derailing health care reform is the very least of their goals.