Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Michele Bachmann, Inquisitor

This past week the congresswoman from Minnesota's Sixth District said on national television that members of Congress should be investigated for "anti-American" beliefs. She suggested that the inquisition ought to start on the left hand side of the aisle and singled out Barack Obama. I mean, my goodness, can't you tell just by his name? It's sadly reminiscent of Nixon's enemies list and Joe McCarthy's list of known Communists––which is another charge the McCain camp is lobbing this week.

The most chilling thing about Michele Bachmann may be how nice she seems. Her blissful earnestness, her attractive smile, her friendly eyes and good manners, her excellent grooming. All of those pleasant traits were on display in her MSNBC appearance as she called for a broad investigation of the other party. It's jarring to discover how happy some people are to announce their prejudices. Michele Bachmann seems proud of her narrow-mindedness. She's very sure of herself.

Just think of it: people who disagree with Michele Bachmann might be "Anti-American". I guess if you or I disagree with her, she'd be happy to investigate us too. If my names sounds foreign all the more reason.

Of course if we agree with her we have nothing to worry about. That is the test the Bush administration and its Republican-dominated Congress put into place. With us or against us. Friend or foe. If you are on the big red team there's no need for scrutiny. You'd just better make sure you're on the big red team. If you're not you might find your conversations listened to, your mail read, your friends questioned, your air travel curtailed, your books banned, your patriotism questioned, your rights suspended. With a nice smile of course.

How did we get here? Witch-hunting has been around forever, but the recent phenomenon may have its starting point in 1996 when the new Republican leader Newt Gingrich issued a list of words to use to describe Democrats. Paint the opponent as an enemy, as an "other", and it's easy to justify other measures.



Post a Comment

<< Home