#76 Spineless Times and Spineless Politicians (2003)

All Rights Reserved © 2003 Thomas W. Day

Who'd have thought that liberals would turn out to be such gutless creatures?  Minnesota's Senators are the ultimate case in point.  We've replaced the last maverick in Washington, Paul Wellstone, with another yuppie conservative corporate spokesperson, Normal Coleman.  Normal is an ex-bathroom hippie, ex-liberal, ex-Democrat, ex-human being with the moral fiber of a sheet of toilet paper.  Our other billboard congressman is Mark Dayton, a rich kid who bought his way into congress claiming that he'd represent working Minnesotans.  Go figure.  Like the rest of the country, Minnesota has lost its courage and become conservative.

A lot of conservative writers have made a lot out of the apparent transformation of the baby boomers from raging hippy liberal do-gooders into gutless, mama's boy/girl conservatives.  Many conservative propaganda ministers like to pretend that this is due to Rush Limbaugh's favorite imaginary Winston Churchill quote ("If a man is not a liberal at the age of twenty, he has no heart; if a man is not conservative by the age of forty, he has no brain.").  This is simply bullshit.  First, Winston Churchill didn't say that, Rush did.  Second, most of the Boomer neo-conservatives were born conservative, they just had long hair when they were young.  Now they're bald, doped up on Viagra and Paxil, and scared shitless that they might lose their trust funds and have to work for a living.

We called them "bathroom hippies."  In Dallas, where my freak days were spent, most of the young and hip hung out at Lee Park.  A small percentage of these kids were actual hippies.  A much larger percentage were the idle offspring of the city's ruling class.  They earned the name "restroom hippies" from their leaving home tactics.  These kids would leave home, Sunday morning, driving mom's BMW or dad's Porsche, in their "straight clothes."  When they got downtown, they'd stop at a filling station and change into their "hippy clothes" in the restroom.  A few blocks later, they'd park mom's Beemer and walk to the park so they could pretend to be hip and poor while avoiding the intellectual activity of "hip" or the discomforts of "poor."  Converting these spoiled rich kids to conservatives was an effortless activity. 

The bathroom hippies were did not march for civil rights in the south or anywhere else.  These were not the kids who protested the Vietnam War in the face of angry police or armed and irrational National Guardsmen.  These conservative kids didn't even vote, let alone work for poor voters' rights. They were no more radical or involved when they were kids than they are aware and responsible as geezers. They've been on the wrong side of every current issue in their lives and they're not going to change today.

Their claim to hip-ness was sex and dope.  They always had the cash to buy grass, smack, uppers and downers (assuming they didn't just steal those from their parents' medicine cabinet), speed, coke, and the hallucinogenic flavor of the month.  Like our current Commander-in-Thief, the bathroom hippies provided a good bit of the cash that supported real freaks, the dope peddling underground, and the Angels and the Mob.  GeeWiz and his counterparts wouldn't have known Mao from malt liquor, but they knew their dope and fried their brains faster than any generation since the same crowd in the Roaring Twenties.  The 1920/1970's economic depression that followed, convinced these fools that free speech, public civil rights, and environmental responsibility were the cause of all evil and minor inconvenience and they "turned" conservative.  Sex was always available to the young, born-rich, and amoral.  It still is.  But having sex doesn't make you hip, it just puts you among the rest of the earth's animals in the eternal quest to get laid.

In the interests of wasting time (pretending to be doing something, while being less mobile than Grant in Grant's tomb) and covering themselves in nationalism disguised as patriotism, Minnesota's two bathroom hippies have co-sponsored the 108th Congress' S.J. Res. 4 "flag protection" amendment to the Constitution.  This is, of course, an attack on free speech and a cowardly way to do it.  They aren't interested in protecting the flag, they want to prosecute people who believe this country should stand for something more important than corporate profits and cheap oil. If they wanted to defend freedom and act patriotically, they'd be raging against the Bush march to war and reminding the nation that Vietnam began with exactly these justifications. Vietnam began with a mythical threat and ended with all of the guilty parties (except Nixon and Johnson) being rewarded for their incompetence and corruption. Even those two vicious bastards have had their reputations revived, a little, recently.

If conservatives want to return to the "good old days" of the British Empire, they should at least be honest about it; admit that they want to bring back imperialism and colonialism, religious persecution, torture, debtors' prison, indentured servitude, and the other trappings of pre-Constitutional America.  Hell, while we're at it, why don't we blow off elections and appoint royalty for life?  Imagine the greatness of this country headed by generations after degenerating, in-bred generations of the Bush family.  By the middle of this century, our King would be as brilliant as Mr. Potato Head.  But, it's safe to assume, the country would be conservative.

July 2003

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