Tea or Kool-Aid?

Friday, July 22nd, ©2011 Marcus Brooks

“Arouse the tiger of Hyrcanian deserts,
Strive with the half-starved lion for his prey;
Lesser the risk, than rouse the slumbering fire
Of wild Fanaticism.” — Anon. via Scott

One year when I was in school, there was a brief fad in which several kids around town committed suicide for no particular reason. I won’t repeat details about method, but it seemed very deliberate, and almost casual, as if these kids thought of death as a neat thing to try.

For some reason, the idea that death is irrevocable didn’t impinge on those kids. They were fatally infected by ignorance, faith, and wishful thinking. Perhaps they imagined themselves attending their own funerals, like Tom Sawyer, or the Saxon knight in Ivanhoe. Maybe they reveled in the idea of how sad everyone there would be.

Some of those kids’ classmates would be old enough now to sit in Congress. Was the ideological infection that led those kids cheerfully to their deaths similar to the one that now infects the tea party? Were their suicide pacts entered with the same childish resolve as today’s idiotic political vows?

I think of suicide as an equation: it’s what you do when you fear life more than you fear death.

Most kids get the idea that death is bad, or at least not to be approached lightly. Somehow, the suicide kids talked themselves or each other into thinking otherwise.

Most adults in the U. S. have a realistic fear of national default. Default isn’t exactly death, but what does the tea party imagine is worse? That “job creators” (rich people) might pay more taxes? Bullshit. Job creators will lose a lot more if U. S. bonds become worthless. And what is a bond worth, if the borrower defaults?

But the tea party kids have pricked their thumbs and made their vows, “hope to die.” It won’t exactly be suicide if they don’t back down, but it would sure as hell change the equation.

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2 Responses to “Tea or Kool-Aid?”

  1. Keith Bowes says:

    Interesting take, but I think the real thing here is not the suicidal mentality of the politicians, but that the people making up these pledges are extortionists. “You won’t get my support unless you promise to do all this crazy stuff.” The one that gets me is the pledge about not allowing Sharia Law in the country; I’m always reminded of Keith Olbermann’s, “Sometimes I think conservatives hate Sharia Law because it’s too liberal.”

    Now, about the suicide part of the post, I remember when I started therapy, my therapist asked me if I was actually going to commit suicide. I said, “No, I’m too selfish to do that.” I knew my parents would be financially better off if I were dead and my classmates would certainly be happier. But he seemed to think it was a strange statement. I dunno.

  2. marcus says:

    “Unto bad causes swear such creatures as men doubt.”
    — Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, 2, 1

    I take that to mean sacred oaths are how demagogues trick weaklings into standing by an unsupportable cause.

    As for suicide, your life has more value to others than you, and possibly they, imagine. However much your loss might point that out, neither you nor they can benefit from it. And it’s a move that can’t be undone.

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