In case you just got here from Neptune or something, here's your one-paragraph summary of life these days in these United States:
Everyone involved with politics understands the current dynamic. It’s not hard to grasp. You take very tough economic times, add them to a heavy dose of political opportunism, and multiply both by the aggravating factor of a nihilistic commercial media, and what you get is ethnic scapegoating on a massive scale.
And to that last point:
There’s nothing in the world more tired than a progressive blogger like me flipping out over the latest idiocies emanating from the Fox News crowd. But this summer’s media hate-fest is different than anything we’ve seen before. What we’re watching is a calculated campaign to demonize blacks, Mexicans, and gays and convince a plurality of economically-depressed white voters that they are under imminent legal and perhaps even physical attack by a conspiracy of leftist nonwhites. They’re telling these people that their government is illegitimate and criminal and unironically urging secession and revolution.
I’m convinced that none of the key actors here – the Wall Street banks shrieking about government takeovers and advertising on Rick Santelli’s CNBC, the Republican Party’s career hacks who have been scheming for a new horse to ride ever since Bush imploded, and the right-wing TV and radio networks – none of these actors is pushing this crazy movement out of any real desire to stoke a race war. For these institutional leaders and patrons of the Tea Party movement, this is all about material expediency: overcoming the real threat of new financial regulations after the crash, winning elections, and making TV profits. It’s just our bad luck that driving frustrated/broke white suburbanites into a race-hatred frenzy happens to be good business for these folks. And all of this is race-baiting-for-cash is borne out of the same short-term, indifferent-to-consequence thinking that we saw from the Wall Street guys in recent years -- who created mountains of deadly leverage capable of destroying the global financial system for the sake of a few one-year bonuses.
The list of specifics is worth everyone's time.
[Added] On a related note: