Deepak Chopra Sums Up The Palin Appeal And The Tea Party Movement
Calling the keynote tea party speech by Sarah Palin “seductive untruth,” Deepak Chopra succinctly defines the difference between what is being offered in the name of “populism” and what is truly needed to heal our nation. Palin injects fear into an already angry and frightened populace with jingoistic calls for war, and questions the commander-in-chief’s ability to deal with terrorists because of applying Constitutional rights to the underwear bomber. Never mind that the shoe bomber received those same rights under George W. Bush.
Thankfully, as Chopra shows, there is another way besides appealing to fears and prejudice.
I take a different, more positive view. America turned a dark corner when Nixon and Reagan inflamed the worst aspects of populism with manipulative demagoguery. After a generation of social reform and altruism, they brought back selfishness, prejudice, and xenophobia — with add ons against feminism and gay rights. Using code words like “law and order” and “silent majority,” the right brought about a populism that was really the revival of the Know-Nothings of a bygone era.
Palin plays into that Know-Nothing strain the way Spiro Agnew did with his “pointy-headed intellectuals.” Because of it, the very smart people who saved us from a potential depression and who want to solve other looming crises can be vilified in favor of very crafty people who play upon rough prejudice.
My positive take is that Obama and the other smart people (always remembering that they are more than smart but also good-hearted, far-seeing, honest, and credible) are playing the role of adults trying to call forth the adult in all of us. Americans have had the luxury of a long period of post-adolescent irresponsibility. The crown prince of that trend was George W. Bush, for whom both luxury and irresponsibility were a given. It will take a long time to bring a turn around, and Obama may drag the Democrats into some tight places. No one has the right to demand that this society grow up. But eventually that’s where we are headed, and since Obama gives adulthood the best face I can imagine from a president, I am encouraged, no matter who thinks they want another glass of poison tea.Click here for reuse options!
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