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A Dolt's Revolt

Friday, October 01 2010 @ 04:25 AM CDT

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by Mark Drolette

Walking near my downtown apartment, I spotted my ultra-right-wing brother-in-law, Dolton, emerging from a government building. Damn! This called for quick action. Unfortunately, no trucks approached under which I could hurl myself and I’d left my hari-kari sword at home. (That’d teach me.) There was only one tack left.

“Hey, Mark!” I heard seconds later. “Whatcha doin’ crouched behind that car? Pourin’ your hippie-commie values back down the sewer where they belong?” he sneered.

Arggh. “Uh, no,” I said, rising slowly from my haunches, looking as dignified as I could, which wasn’t very. “I was dragging the gutter for the next GOP wedge issue.”

Game on!

“Very funny,” Dolt said, though I don’t think he meant it. “You and your fellow comrades won’t be laughin’ come November, though, when our Tea Party express rolls right over your beloved Democraps.”

“Look, Dolt, I have zero love for Democrats. They and the Republicans gorge from the same corporate trough. The latter are meaner, that’s all. As for this Tea Party business, just what is it you all supposedly want, anyway? Your message is inchoate.”

“Our message isn’t in Choate,” he snorted, “it’s in English, the language of real Americans. You liberals! Always wantin’ to make sure everybody understands everybody.”

Certainly, there was no danger of that here.

“All right, then,” I said, “let’s try this: Tell me even one thing the Tea Party stands for.”

“No government handouts!” he exclaimed instantly. I swear, he sounded like a parrot.

I looked at the sign on the building he’d just exited: “Employment Development Department.”

“Um, so,” I asked all innocent-like, “what might you have been doing in there?”

“Huh? Oh. Filing for unemployment benefits. Harry’s House of Hubcaps laid me off,” he lamented. “The hubcap business isn’t what it used to be.”

And hubcaps had been thought so recession-proof, too.

“So I assume you’ll turn them down?”

“Turn what down?” he asked.

“The unemployment benefits.”

“Why would I do something stupid like that?”

“Because you and your fellow Tea Partiers so hate government ‘entitlements.’”

“But these aren’t entitlements, they’re benefits!”

“And the difference is…?”

Stumped for a second, he brightened suddenly.

“Well, the difference, Mr. Smarty Pinko Pants, is that the name is different. Anybody with half a brain can see that!”

I had to give Dolt credit for one thing: accurately estimating his gray matter’s percentage.

“Just curious, Dolt: these unemployment benefits. Aren’t they the very same ones your Tea Party-adoring GOP has so tirelessly tried to quash?”

“There you go again, Mark,” he scoffed, “always playing dirty with your details.”

“Yeah, I’m shameless that way. How ‘bout giving me another Tea Party belief?”

Rolling now, he spat: “No government regulation!”

Just then a bus whizzed by.

“Damn,” he muttered. “I missed my transfer. Hey, Mark, can I get a lift home?”

I blanched. I could see the headline now: “Deadly car crash ruled murder-suicide: Progressive had had enough.”

“What happened to that big fancy truck of yours?” I queried.

“Repossessed,” groaned Dolton. “I couldn’t make the payments, even with that special bank loan I got for low-income households.”

“Might you happen to remember this ‘special’ loan’s interest rate?”

“Mmm, twenty-four percent?”

“That’s usury,” I said.

“Hel-lo!” Dolt exclaimed. “Of course it is. Plus, it’s really high.”

Which I must have been to even think of continuing the conversation. But I pressed on nonetheless. I’d check the family tree later for lemmings.

“So, Dolt, given your painful experience with a predatory loan, how could you possibly still be anti-regulation? Or, more universally, how does the Tea Party reconcile its slavering reverence for the magic of hands-off capitalism with the trillions of public dollars bankers continue receiving as ‘punishment’ for their breathtaking avarice?”

“Listen, Mark, the bailouts were needed to save the economy. It was either that, or socialize the banks. Do that, and the next thing you know you have some foreigner in the White House. Whoops,” he cackled, “too late!”

“Sorry, Dolt, but you’re too late on the socialism angle, for what are bailouts other than wholly socializing risk while 100% of profits are privatized? Secondly, don’t even tell me you buy that bizarre birther blather.”

“It’s no blather,” he protested. “It’s totally true — hell, it’s all over the Internet! Obama’s not one of us. He’s from Calcutta.”

“Um, I think you mean Kenya.”

“What’s the diff? They’re both in Africa, and you know what that means,” he winked.

I sure did. It meant I needed to disown my sister at the first opportunity.

“OK. First of all,” I sighed, “Obama was born in Hawaii, not Calcutta, which, by the way, is in India, not Africa.”

“It is? When did they move it?”

Actually, I was the one who’d be moving, ASAP — to the hottest part of the sun. Proving even further my obsession to self-immolate, I pushed on.

“Are you implying Obama’s ethnicity is disturbing? If so, you’re giving credence to the charge of the Tea Party’s inherent racism.”

My brother-in-law rolled his eyes. “Honestly, where does this B.S. come from? Besides, I can’t help it if President Yo’ Mama can’t help it that he hates white people.”

“Thanks, Dolt. I appreciate you clarifying the issue.”

“Sure!” he said in all sincerity. “Besides, who cares that he’s a darkie from India? What really upsets us in the Tea Party is that he’s rung up record debt to build his commie nanny welfare state.”

“Hmm,” I mused. “It’s funny how the astronomical deficits piled sky-high by Bush and Cheney, fueled by two senseless wars and tax cuts for the über-wealthy, only matter to Tea Party ilk now.”

“The wars ‘senseless’? Hardly!” he fumed. “Our great nation fights only to free other people from oppression.”

“Even if we have to kill them and destroy their countries in the process?”

“Sometimes,” Dolt said solemnly, “that’s the price we Americans have to pay.”

Who could debate logic like that?

“As for tax cuts for the rich,” he went on, “there’s no better way to stimulate an economy.”

“I’ll admit it’s done wonders for yacht sales. No doubt hubcaps are next to rebound.”

“Really?” he asked eagerly.

“Once Wall Street starts unloading them as bundled derivatives, they’re a lock.”

Dolt’s blank look (well, blanker than usual) indicated the point may have eluded him. He recovered quickly, however, and launched a new offensive offensive.

“Mark,” he growled, “you know what really bugs you about the Tea Party?”

“You mean, other than its myopic, history-revising, hypocritical, racist, brainwashed, pie-in-the-sky, xenophobic, self-defeating, self-centered, intolerant, mean-spirited, jingoistic, brain-dead, self-parodying nature?”

Utterly ignoring my splendid mini-rant (perhaps if I’d thrown in another adjective or two), Dolt continued: “What kills you and your fellow Marxists is how a grass roots movement like the Tea Party could grab so much attention.”

“No, what kills me is how Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, as well as billionaires like the Koch brothers, can foment the Tea Party, yet somehow it remains ‘grass roots.’”

“It is amazing, isn’t it?”

I sensed Dolt might have missed the sarcasm. I also sensed it was (way past) time to hit the road.

Dolt’s cell phone rang. It was my sister, Apolitica, wanting him home. He said he was coming, but wanted to speak to their one-year-old first. Her name? Dimina. (Hey, I only report. You deride.)

Dolt cooed into the phone. “And how’s my little Dim baby?”

I was so glad I hadn’t eaten.

Dolt and Apolitica conversed further. He hung up, worried. “Let’s go,” he said, simply (like he says everything).

Silence hung thick like thick hanging silence as I drove Dolt home. Finally, he spoke.

“Man, Dimina’s sick again. And we haven’t had health insurance since — well, forever.”

I couldn’t help myself.

“Did you ever think, Dolt, that had you Tea Party types put as much effort into supporting universal healthcare as you did screaming that it’s all a Stalinist plot, you might not be worrying about medical issues right now? Or ever, for that matter?”

Suddenly the car got very quiet. It stayed that way the rest of the drive, save for Dolt’s directions. He and Apolitica had been evicted a while back and I hadn’t yet been to their new residence. (I’d been trying to retain what little sanity I had left.)

“This is it,” he said at last.

I pulled to the curb, in front of a dilapidated building. Its sign said “County Shelter.”

“Isn’t this place run by the government?”

“Sure is,” Dolt said between gritted teeth. “It’s for all the losers who don’t know the meaning of American self-sufficiency.”

“But…but…you’re there,” I stammered.

Suddenly, his entire essence deflated.

“There was no other place to go,” he said, almost apologetically. He tried rallying by digging for another right-wing trope, but nothing emerged. He appeared defeated.

I know the feeling.


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