When something bad goes down, there is one thing we can all be sure of – someone, somewhere is to blame. A dark cloud of blame gathers and the people with big sticks do their best to bat it away towards someone else, anyone else who is just not them. The thunder and hail eventually has to fall on those who don’t have the big sticks, the people who can do little else but run for cover. In particularly bad periods of history, however, people who start to like swinging their clubs develop a taste for it. That’s when things get nasty.
I’ve been very slow to write about the movement called “Tea Party” for a lot of reasons. It’s been very hard for me to tell just how much of the anger and frustration they feel will be directed at the politicians that have been duping the right wing for a solid generation. As we enter the election season I’ve come to believe that most of the anger will be directed roughly that direction. But in a calamity like Depression #5, which we are in now, there is far too much blame to go around. Once the big sticks start swinging we know whose head is going to get cracked.
Some early thwacks have been felt in Arizona, where the politicians did their best to re-direct blame directly where history always allows it to land – the most vulnerable people in society. This is not, as you might think, a direct result of a bunch of people getting together to storm the streets in angry protest. We’ve seen this show before, and if there’s one thing we can be sure of it’s that the crowds rarely target the powerless on their own – that takes power and leadership batting away the blame.
Power comes in many forms. The ability to direct and shape a crowd into a new power requires a particular kind of skill that we have come to know very well. If you want to see where Glenn Beck got his direction, take this page from “Triumph of the Will,” fast-forwarded to 1:33 (towards the very end). The gestures, the pauses, and the longing expressions of wistfulness all add up to a very moving presentation.
But we know where the old black and white footage went, right? It can’t go down the same way here, can it? Yes, but we have our own movie in stark black and white to learn from. Our footage is written on our skin.
That’s why I love the blog “Field Negro” so much. Field, as he’s known to his fans, has the sense of reality that it takes to call out the (CowPuckey) of blame beating by those who are in positions of power and their lackeys. Because of his handle and his unabashed way of writing about racial issues, Field is often cited as a “black blogger.” What he is, however, is a first-class detector of blame deflection and an excellent student of history. If you want to write about the past and future of repression there’s really no other perspective to take – which is why everyone should read Field.
The reason I can’t be sure just how things will go down right now is that we have people like Field to call the people in power for what they are. If there’s any hope that the clouds of blame will, for once, settle on those who have some real responsibility for what’s gone down it will come to those of us who get this. History doesn’t have to repeat itself.
We’ve already seen plenty of backlash against the powerless and we’ve already seen plenty of manipulation of people in a very old-fashioned way. Yeah, a lot of this is going down just as we might expect. If that scares the Hell out of you as much as it should, remember that we still haven’t totally gone down the road. Yet.
There’s a lot of blame to go around. Keep an eye on who is swinging the hardest if you want to know who has it coming. While they are busy swinging those of us who know better might even work on getting over this for once. I know Field is down for it.