Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I Want My Country Back

One of my all-time favorite films is “To Kill a Mockingbird” (“TKM”). I first saw it at about age 13 or so on TV. It moved me so much I even read the book. I don’t know that I comprehended the racial message or the sexual and physical abuse message that much on a conscious level, but I am certain I got much of it on a subconscious level.

Last week during one of the town hall meetings on the health care reform debate debacle, a teary-eyed, red-headed, emotional woman who had the aura of a domestic violence survivor, almost stomping her feet in a childish way exclaimed into a microphone, “I want my country back!”

She reminded me of the character Mayella Violet Ewell who was sexually and physically assaulted by her father and, when it became obvious she was lying, she lashed out at the jury, screaming incoherently, “And if you fine fancy gentlemen ain’t gonna do nothin’ about it…with your fancy ass…don’t come to nothin’, Mr. Finch! Ugh!” before she ran into the arms of her abusive father.

I will never be able to look at the face of Brock Peters as Tom Robinson, the accused rapist, without seeing Barack Obama again. After all, they’re both black (although Obama’s half-white, remember?) and there are the similarities in their names—I think Brock Obama would be better than Barry, don’t you?

Despite the disappointment and frustration that progressives have with him or his war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan as our Imperial Manager, Obama, in the context of health care reform debate/debacle, is being accused, tried and executed for crimes he did not commit.

The Radical Right accusing Obama of socialism, killing old people and Sarah Palin’s baby, comparing him to Hitler, and attempting to overthrow his presidency with fake birth certificates are nothing more than attempts to reassert the power structure that was taken away from them in the last two elections.

Trying and sentencing Tom Robinson for a crime committed by the abusive white father of the victim sitting on the witness stand was the way the corrupt power structure, the men from Old Sarum, maintained control. Accusing and trying Obama in the court of public opinion and convicting him of Nazism is nothing more than the white conservative power structure in America attempting to maintain control and maintain the status quo of a corrupt and abusive health care system that does their community more damage than good just like Maycomb’s racism held that community back.

In this analogy, I guess Rush Limbaugh would be the father character, Bob Ewell, since Limbaugh’s the father of the Republican Party, and benefited from his own health insurance with his OxyContin addiction which certainly was not on a single payer plan if Palm Beach County Florida law enforcement authorities noticed Limbaugh’s name in connection with a black market drug ring during an investigation back in 2003. But I digress.

The members of the Old Sarum mob who confront Atticus the night they try to break Tom Robinson out for a lynching would be Glenn Beck, Dick Armey and throw some of those damned Blue Dog Dems in there as well. They’re all idiots.

If Beck and Limbaugh had lived thousands of years ago, they would have been against the use of fire, they would have been against the creation of the wheel and they would have been against planting crops. These guys and the people they represent would rather eat raw meat just to maintain their status quo than create anything that would benefit those without in America.

But who is the Atticus Finch character in all this? Will it be Bill Clinton? Ooh, interesting characterization on at least the southern male angle—but no. I doubt Atticus Finch would have killed innocents in Iraq or had oral sex with an intern. And I am certain Atticus knew what the meaning of the word “is” is.

And perhaps more importantly, who is the Boo Radley character— who comes to save the day by killing the Bob Ewell character and every evil thing he was capable of from that day forward?

As we all know (and for those who don’t) Boo was a guy perceived as evil by the entire community who was misunderstood and came to save the day in the end. Who would be Boo?

John Cornyn? He has white hair and that albino look—even though Robert Duval is better looking. Bobby Jindal? No albino look, but hey, aren’t some of the broader points of this piece and “TKM” about race. The problem with Jindal is he’s too much of Barney Fife to be a Boo Radley. Se la vie.

Progressive, pro-health care reformers sitting quietly in the town hall meeting are like the blacks of Maycomb (the fictional town) forced to sit silently up in the second-floor gallery while the rabble rousers take up every occupiable space on the first floor of the courtroom.

This is an incredible similarity in this analysis between Mayella Ewell and Sarah Palin, however. The lies and victimization from the witness stand and not knowing how Tom Robinson supposedly raped her is like Palin lying during the campaign and now claiming Obama will kill her baby, proclaiming the media elites have treated her badly and not knowing anything about Supreme Court cases, etc and many other things she has shown her ignorance on. Mayella’s lashing out at the courtroom before feeling the witness stand into her father’s arms is uniquely similar to Palin lashing out at everyone before fleeing the governor’s office into First Dude’s arms. Even their shoes are almost the same.

The major differences between Obama and Tom Robinson in this analogy are that Obama is left handed and Tom Robinson’s left arm was damaged. What I hope is the other difference is that Obama doesn’t run away like Tom Robinson did.

Barack Obama. B-rock Peters.

Obama is no more a Nazi than Tom Robinson was a rapist. But the tactics of loud and constant accusation is how mob rule wins just as it did in “To Kill a Mockingbird”.

I want my country too. But I can’t want it back because I don’t think I ever had it. Instead, it’s something I’ll just have to keep working toward.