If you frequent the downtown of just about any major metropolitan area regularly, then you know the difference between the homeless and the hardcore crackheads. The temporarily homeless have a look in their eyes that says "I am lost. I not sure how I got here. Can you help me change this picture?"
A hardcore crackhead doesn't have that look. The look they have in their eyes signal that they are oblivious to what is going on around them. All they want to do is get that feeling that they had when they were high, and they'll do anything to get it back.
If you are in downtown Atlanta today, or any of the hundreds of other locations that Tea Parties will be held in around the country, take a close look into the eyes of the vocal, rabid ten percent of the Tea Baggers who are hardcore followers of this diversion, and you will see the same kind of look you see in a hardcore crackhead. All they want to do is get that feeling that they had when they felt they were higher up on the food chain of American society, and they'll do anything to get it back.
The ninety percent who are joiners are like those who are temporarily homeless – they will look to anyone for help when it seems the rest of the world is ignoring them. Some company when it gets dark. Their outrage that will be beamed into your living rooms during the evening and late night news broadcasts tonight will be real, the same way the hunger that curdles the stomachs of the homeless and the hardcore crackheads in the middle of the night are real.
And on Thursday morning, these hundreds of thousands of people will wake up the same way the homeless and the drug addicted do after getting a good hot meal in their stomachs and a little doggy bag to go - like something might really be starting to change in their lives. The hardcore crackheads of the Tea Party movement will be the most boisterous, because their dealers - Glen Beck, Rick Sanchez, Rick Santorelli, Michelle Malkin, Neil Cavuto, and the rest of the street lieutenants - will get the word from the kingpin of the nope dope, Rush Limbaugh himself, that it's okay to give everybody a free twenty piece today.
Because kingpins don't get to be kingpins without knowing how to keep their users hooked.
But we all know how this story goes, because if you frequent your downtown regularly, you know what I know. There are those who are temporarily homeless, and then there are the same helpless souls you saw last month, and the month before that. Because no matter how much you feed the permanently homeless and the hardcore crackheads today, they are going to be starving again by the weekend.
This outrage is a lot like hunger. It can be an urge so overpowering, especially when it is fed by the nope dope, that it forces you to make the kind of decisions that ignore permanent long term gains because you need short term relief. Because you are craving the kind of tingle you had when you felt like "your kind of people" were running things in D.C. And if you get a taste of that uncut nope dope - they call it that "extreme righteousness" - your outrage can become so powerful so fast that it can allow you to simply blow right past some of the realities of modern life.
A week from now, a month from now, these Tea Baggers will still be outraged, indignant at the their brownskinned president, even though the decisions he and his staff are making are about the same as what any other president faced with these circumstances would have to make. The most principled Republican governors in the country have had to bow to the demands of pragmatism, because things are just that bad.
I would imagine though, if I had another brownskinned man pop up as the leader of the party I normally belonged to, and I had to listen to Glen Beck and Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh caterwaul all day and night about how bad I've got it, before they got driven home to their mansions to get a good night's sleep, I'd feel pretty abandoned myself.
Pretty damned mad.
And pretty damn ready for another hit of that "extreme righteousness", even when I know all I'm doing is making the kingpin richer.
After this blows over, I hope the real Republicans, the kind that I grew up around, get together and plan a mass intervention. Declare a War On Drugs and put the "nope dope" dealers out of business. And please, please, get Condolezza Rice or Colin Powell to give Micheal Steele a call and tell him that he's a member of the Big Boys Club now and doesn't have act like a clown anymore. Because there is no way this political party is going to have a chance at building a positive future out of negative attitudes like these.