"I'm here to tell you, 1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms! Doesn't matter how many lemmings you get out there on the street, begging for 'em to have their guns taken. We will not relinquish them. Do you understand?! That's why you're going to fail, and the establishment knows, no matter how much propaganda, the republic will rise again!"Thus spake right-wing radio talk show host and "Second Amendment advocate" Alex Jones on Monday night, while debating CNN's Piers Morgan. (You can view the segment here.)
Unhinged? Perhaps. But Jones' rant is also revealing.
It's not just the "guns" issue. There's a whole list of things that send Tea Party people into a frothing rage: the GOP defeat on the "fiscal cliff" issue, the reality of Obamacare as the law of the land, the inevitable movement toward federal recognition of same-sex marriage, the national realization for the need to legitimize undocumented immigrants.
So, what's behind all this rage? Deeply-held convictions?
Take Jones' rant above and substitute "1860" for "1776" and "South" for "republic" and I think we're getting to the gist of the matter.
Right-wingers are driven into paroxysms of rage and hysteria out of frustration. They see that demographic changes and the diminution of the white, Christian majority that futurologists have long foretold are real. They despair that the conservative "Golden Age" (which was always a myth anyway) is gone forever. So now that it is dawning on them that they are destined to become less and less relevant in national debates, their frustration manifests itself in threats of violence and armed revolution.
Meanwhile, the Republican party (as distinct from "conservatives") continues its national meltdown. Until the GOP can regroup and find a leader who is acceptable on a national scale, we're going to hear more of this kind of talk.
But nothing will come of it. Aside from the absurdity of the idea that gun-toting yokels could overthrow the federal government, I don't think people like Jones have the courage of their convictions. In the end, they'll sit back, punch the remote button, and settle in with their pork rinds and NASCAR races.
Last year's election is a gift that keeps on giving. Enjoy the show, progressives.