Last night for me was a very entertaining night in Seattle (other than the usual rain, traffic and parking issues). I was invited by a friend to attend a town hall lecture by Naomi Wolf about her book "The End of America". You can see the same lecture (at a different town hall) here. It started off well and was captivating. The lesbian couple in front of me was distractingly hot and the lesbians behind me were shoving their feet up my ass. The gay guy at the end of the aisle stroked my back as I walked by and said "I'll make room for yoouuu". The guy in front of me offered to be my dress coach if I paid him by the hour.
Naomi proceeded to give the 10 classic steps that every would-be dictator puts in place on their way to power and compares it to the actions of the Bush administration. The parallels were in fact eerie in many cases. I was completely with her in seeing the very real possibility of a total American meltdown and collapse into tyranny. But not yet. Not immediately. Towards the end I began feeling like I was at a cult meeting. She began talking about how Bush had deployed troops within America and planned on subverting the election somehow.
Then when the audience started asking questions I realized they were mostly far-left wacko conspiracy theorists who literally thought the end was nigh, that somehow Bush would maintain power through force, that 9/11 was an inside job etcetera. I wanted to RUN out of the building. It was really creepy. I looked around at the audience and saw these glazed hypnotized looks. It was like being at an NRA meeting in Montana around of a bunch of guys saying "they're gonna take our guns away!!! We need to stop this immediate threat tonight! With violence if we have to!"
I can see chaos potentially happening if we do hit another great depression and collapse as a superpower. I can see tyranny coming to the fore just like it did in Germany and for precisely the same reasons- anger and nationalistic pride, wrapped up in a flag and carrying a cross, led by right wing talk radio fanatics. Maybe we'll blame the Mexicans for our downfall and start picking them off with sniper rifles, or planting mines along the border.
But not now. Not without total disaster. As bad as Iraq is, it's not Vietnam, it's not WWII (at least not to US, but it is to the millions of people we caused to relocate). Bush has a 26% approval rating. He has no backing. Even the military has funneled more campaign money to Obama. A coup is absurd, but Naomi kept using the word. You have a republican nominee pretending to run *against* his own party and his own party's elected president, yet Naomi tries to hypnotize you into thinking Bush has captured central power. I wasn't hypnotizable. Once again, my views as a mostly liberal person are represented in an insulting way. If she would have simply stopped before going into her conspiracy theories I would have considered the lecture to be great.
Happy to be out of there, we went to see Bill Maher's "Religulous". It was almost like an hour and a half orgasm. At a 10pm showing in liberal Seattle, you are bound to find a group of like minded people watching religulous on Friday night. Our near incessant laughter was exaggerated and increased by the laughter of those around us, just like in a comedy club. It was rapturous to be around people on the same page who actually "got" the joke, who laughed just as often and just as hard. The movie really did surpass my expectations, and has received great reviews. But I am sure it would not have been quite as funny had I merely rented the DVD. Maher says things Dawkins and Harris cannot say, and he does the cause proud.