The Huffington Post is airing a new cable show called…wait for it…The Huffpost Show. Brilliant. Anyway, I caught a few minutes of it and the subject of the day was a phrase that Rand Paul is using in his stumbling, bumbling campaign for the Presidency: “We’re going to take our country back.” The two hosts were like “from whom?” and then a singer did a satirical song about it.
Since the phrase is a center point of his campaign and, from a brief clip they showed of a Paul speech, very popular with his supporters, it seems fair to me to exam it a bit more thoroughly.
“We’re going to take our country back” implies that there was a time in the past when America was a conservative utopia and it exemplified the basic tenets of conservative ideology. Okay. When, exactly was that time?
Perhaps America’s golden era was as recent as the Reagan years where Ron and his band of neocons began the destruction of the Middle Class, made a secret pact with Iran to keep the American hostages until after Carter left office, illegally sold guns to the Contras and left this country in an economic mess when his term was up.
No? Well, we can definitely rule out the sixties. Maybe they really like the fifties, when taxes on this country’s richest individuals was as high as 80 percent, teen pregnancies were at the highest level they’ve ever been, Jim Crow laws still applied, and American citizens were persecuted if rabid officials eve thought you were a communist. It was, however, the Golden Age of television, that fictional world where father always knew best and children apologized if they disappointed their parents.
How about the thirties and forties? What? Turn back the clock to the New Deal and all of FDR’s socialist programs? No thank you. The twenties and thirties? The stock market crash, the Great Depression, prohibition, the Dust Bowl, etc. etc. The turn of the century? Robber barons, Tammany Hall, Native American genocide? Pre-Civil War? 1200 B.C.?
Obviously, there is no “back” to go back to for Conservatives. Whatever utopia they have in their fevered minds is a delusional blend of Ayn Rand, fifties sit-coms and racist dreams of a time when white people lorded over everyone without question.
What a minute. Hold on. Maybe the phrase “take our country back” actually means, “take our country backwards,” in which case I apologize and give Paul kudos for his brutal honesty.