Friday, September 25, 2009

Tea Baggers, and the rising discontent

I haven't had much to say for a while, but this news really got my attention: Census Worker Found Hanged.

News reports described a school teacher working part time for the Census Bureau, preparing for next year's decennial census, was found hanged with the word "feds" inscribed across his chest.

It's harrowing to read this - nearly a decade ago, I was a part time census worker, going door to door in my own neighborhood, confirming empty residences, and asking people for their forms. The reactions I got varied greatly - for the most part, people were weary. I was, after all, "the government" knocking on their door.

In some parts of the country, the decennial census sweep is the only time the US Government knocks on your door. Most of us don't ever have federal warrants served, and the post man rarely actually bothers to knock, and on rural routes, the mail is probably left at a post office box. It is an intrusion for some people, and on a slippery slope just before the feds show up to confiscate guns, I suppose they believe.

It demonstrates to me that the vitriol that we saw this last summer - I saw one first hand in Kitanning, Pennnsylvania - is going out of control. Add in President Carter's recent remarks on race, healthcare, and the president - and you can see a nasty cocktail of emotions.

What is the way out? I don't know. I'm pessimistic. I think we're going to see more fear and discontent before civility returns to the land.