America: Welcome to Bedlam

America has gone barking mad.
What on earth has happened to this country?
How is it that an ugly, ranting lunatic like Glenn Beck, who laughs uproariously at a woman using Planned Parenthood to get breast cancer screening or treatment for an STD and calls her a “hooker,” has his own television show (at least for now) and a radio show and makes $32 MILLION a year…? Who calls the president a racist who hates white people??  How does this happen?
I have been wandering in a fog lately, wondering where I am. This certainly looks like the same America I woke up in this morning, but goddamn, suddenly, I am completely disoriented in time and space, clinging to the floor – or is it the ceiling?
This place isn’t America, where we’re the land of the free and the home of the brave. Apple pie. Backyard barbeques with your neighbors. Respect for others’ beliefs.  We used to look out for each other, and we cared that there were children who went to bed hungry here and all over the world.  We built each other up – we didn’t tear each other down.
This place isn’t America; this place is the province of cannibals and savages; preying on the weak, the old, the sick and the poor. And there’s so much hate for Muslims, blacks, liberals, union members, teachers – god, who don’t they hate?? – gushing out of our radios, our televisions and even our government lately; I don’t understand it.
Our elected representatives sound like goddamned Nazis. They literally sound like …Nazis. Demanding that we investigate Muslims – because we know they are all terrorists. Kick them out of the country. And toss those damned illegal immigrants out too. Seal up the borders and man the machine gun nests and the razor wire. Liberals and the gays are out to kill you, to convert your children to the homosexual agenda, to destroy America. Teachers are “union thugs” and “slobs.” Teachers used to be the subject of sentimental Norman Rockwell paintings and the recipients of hero worship and shiny apples from legions of schoolchildren. Now? They are called thugs and accused of stealing from the taxpayers, along with all the other folks who work hard to make sure we have our driver’s licenses, the potholes in our streets are fixed and even the brave men and women who run into burning buildings and the ones put themselves in between a criminal’s bullet and one of our neighbors – or perhaps even you or one of your family. How did this happen??
At first it didn’t seem so bad; it was just a few nuts, nothing to worry about. Those people were just fringe kooks. Nobody listens to fringe kooks.
But now? People are not only listening to these extremist kooks, they’re electing them to public office. Members of Congress are demanding investigations of Muslims as if they were channeling the ugly ghost of Joseph McCarthy. And there are so many of them…
They tell their constituents breathlessly that I am dangerous and evil and I’m trying to destroy America. Yes, me. I’m just an ordinary 50-something woman; I go to work every day, I barely get by – but somehow, because I am a liberal, a Democrat and a union member, I am destroying America. There are legions of right-wingers out there who are not only willing, but absolutely delighted to harass me, to stalk me, to injure me, perhaps even kill me. My car was vandalized because someone didn’t like my “Impeach Bush” bumper sticker. They scratched “TRAITOR” on my trunk lid. They even tried to run me off the road – twice. What did I do to deserve that kind of hatred?
Now there are hate groups everywhere, neo-nazis, white power Christian militias, arming themselves to the teeth – so they can kill the black man they think is sullying their White House. The “N-word” is everywhere. They proclaim that our president, a Harvard graduate, the half-white, half-black son of a single mother who is the very embodiment of the “American Dream” is a Muslim, a socialist, a communist – an illegal alien from Kenya who is part of a secret plot to subjugate the white race and hand America over to Al Qaeda. And people believe them.
A senator, Jon Kyl from Arizona, thinks nothing of standing before the American people on the floor of the Senate and telling the lie that “well over ninety percent of the funding for Planned Parenthood is used for abortion.”  The real percentage? THREE. The rest is used for breast/cervical/uterine/penile cancer screening, contraceptives, treatment/screening for SDT’s, sex education, condoms…all geared toward preventing those unwanted and unplanned pregnancies that end in abortion. And when Senator Kyl was confronted with his lie, did he apologize for telling it? No. He merely stated that he “never meant for it to be a factual statement.” What…?
I feel like I may be getting a glimpse of what the ordinary everyday people of Germany felt as their country slowly went from one madness to another and finally, inevitably, to the ultimate madness:  making an industry out of feeding human beings to the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Dachau and Bergen-Belsen. I’m sure they too got up every day, got dressed and went to work, did their shopping, cooking and cleaning. And I’m sure they sat in their kitchens over their cups of coffee and shook their heads over the state of their nation…while the madness grew and grew and took root in their neighbors and their friends and their leaders, until it rolled over their country like a tsunami of blood and death.
I want to wake up now. I don’t like this bad dream.

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