Letter From the Editor 

A couple weeks ago, I wrote what I thought was a rather innocuous column about vacationing in Florida and discovering that the nice people who sat next to us on the beach were rabid conservatives. I didn't say anything bad about them, only that my wife and I were surprised that such genial folks could have such radically different political views from ours.

click to enlarge stooges.jpg

Well, innocuousness is in the eye of the beholder, apparently. I received a few venomous e-mails from folks suggesting that I should "vacation in New Jersey, where there are lots of simpletons" like me and my wife or that I keep my "liberal ass" out of nice, "conservative places like Florida." One e-mailer — anonymous, of course — suggested that he and 20 or 30 "good old boys" would be happy to show up at my house and help me move out of Tennessee.

The alternate universe of angry Americans has amped up the action. We saw it in the health-care town hall meetings, where they attempted to shout down any dialogue on the issue. We saw it in the intentionally provocative wearing of guns to presidential appearances. We hear it in the increasingly shrill cries of those who call the president a socialist, a fascist, a Nazi.

It's a universe of people who are deeply afraid. They call themselves "real Americans" and have convinced themselves they represent mainstream thinking, but they don't anymore. They represent the past, when they could call themselves a "silent majority" and no one laughed at them; when their gun worship, their simplistic "drill baby drill" slogans, racial intolerance, and gay-bashing could help a politican win a national election. They are a shrinking slice of the electorate, and the more they scream, the more they brandish their guns in public, the more rapidly they marginalize themselves.

They don't seem to realize that most Americans don't think bringing guns to a presidential appearance or a health-care town hall meeting is a good idea. Most Americans think screaming to drown out debate on a subject of national interest is simply moronic. And most Americans are now seeing the huckster media flacks for what they are: blowhards and shameless opportunists. I'm not saying "liberals" are in the majority; I am saying the majority of the American people — liberal, moderate, and, yes, conservative — wants no part of the hysterical right's fear-mongering. And that's a very good thing, indeed, even in Florida.

Comments (24)

Showing 1-24 of 24

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-24 of 24

Add a comment



Tiger Blue

Tigers 44, Southern Illinois 31

Beyond the Arc

Grizzlies trade Troy Daniels to Phoenix

Music Blog

Listen Up: Louise Page

News Blog

Suit Targets 'Destructive' Drivers License Policy

Film/TV/Etc. Blog


News Blog

Supreme Court Steps In on Fayette Church Matter

Intermission Impossible

Muhammad Ali Meets Stepin Fetchit at The Hattiloo Theatre


More by Bruce VanWyngarden

Readers also liked…

  • Vendor in the Grass

    The lady doth protest too much, methinks. — William Shakespeare

    Is there such a thing as "bad activism"? I'm asking because I'm seeing a lot of criticism of the folks who are protesting the Memphis Zoo's encroachment onto the Greensward at Overton Park.

    • Mar 31, 2016
  • Blowing in the Wind ...

    • Sep 14, 2017
  • Memphis: Locally Sourced

    Last weekend on Facebook, I posted a link to a story about the poet Mary Oliver and her longtime companion, Molly Malone Cook. I liked it — and wanted to share it — because of its insights into the joy, pain, and ultimate mystery of living with someone for 40 years, until death takes one person away.
    • Apr 21, 2016
© 1996-2017

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation