Listen my children, and you shall hear of the age when Americans lose their complacency, and revolt. In that revolt, they recant, and begin to repent their participation in that tragic November evening, when they abandoned reason, choosing the crowd dynamics that before that evening, had been exclusively third world: There is something odd -- and dare I say novel -- in American politics about the crowds that have been greeting Barack Obama on his campaign trail. Hitherto, crowds have not been a prominent feature of American politics. We associate them with the temper of Third World societies. We think of places like Argentina and Egypt and Iran, of multitudes brought together by their zeal for a Peron or a Nasser or a Khomeini. In these kinds of societies, the crowd comes forth to affirm its faith in a redeemer: a man who would set the world right. As the late Nobel laureate Elias Canetti observes in his great book, "Crowds and Power" (first published in 1960), the crowd is based on an illusion of equality: Its quest is for that moment when "distinctions are thrown off and all become equal. It is for the sake of this blessed moment, when no one is greater or better than another, that people become a crowd." These crowds, in the tens of thousands, who have been turning out for the Democratic standard-bearer in St. Louis and Denver and Portland, are a measure of American distress. Obama and the Politics of Crowds - WSJ.com Now, reality is sinking in. The portent of unprecedented, and unfettered federal spending's horrific consequences is spurring the revolt. The first set of Americans to issue the rallying call, looked back to the formation of the nation, and took their name from one of that age's most inspired occurrences -- The Boston Tea Party. Soon tea parties were to found throughout the land. Next the political right responded, and the Republican resurgence was underway, first with Republican victories in a couple of Atlantic seaboard States, and now solidified by the GOP victory in leftist Massachusetts: Capturing the Senate seat held by Edward Kennedy for nearly 47 years, in one of the more solidly Democratic states in the country, is an almost epic feat that seemed to stun even Scott Brown himself. In Liberal Massachusetts, An Epic GOP Victory : NPR Now even the left is in open revolt. I received this interesting e-mail while I was at the gym this morning, from democrats.com: instead of cutting massively wasteful military spending, President Obama and Democratic "leaders" are pushing a record $708 billion Pentagon budget, including $160 billion for the never-ending wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. If you think Democratic "leaders" should spend our tax dollars on healthcare not warfare, there's an exciting new grassroots movement you can join: the Brownbaggers! From their website, this (among others) is their stated agenda: Unemployment is "officially" 10%, really much higher. Americans need jobs, so if businesses can't create them fast enough, government must step in with New Deal 2.0. In January, the rightwing Supreme Court let corporations - even foreign-owned corporations - elect all our politicians, from Mayor to President. The BrownBag Movement Especially troubling to the Brownbaggers is the massive acceleration in defense spending. While the figures in real dollar terms are much larger than in times past, as a percentage of the nation's GNP they are somewhat in line with past spending. However, serious arguments could be made about the viability of such spending, given the precarious prospects for the American economy that is the consequence of the Obama economic and fiscal policies. see the discussions at: A Disciplined Defense | Foreign Affairs military spending takes up less of GDP today than it did during the Cold War -- 4.2 percent today compared with 5.8 percent in 1988 and 9.4 percent in 1968. But when pressed, one would have to concede that Washington spends so much and yet feels so insecure because U.S. policymakers have lost the ability to think clearly about defense policy. and at the brownbaggers' site: http://www.comw.org/pda/fulltext/1001PDABR20.pdf The issue common to these disparate groups, of course, is Obanomics. As discourse proceeds, of course, other issues will come under examination. (Hopefully, this will include the elucidation of the American character, the delineation of a tenable defense policy, and a re-examination of our involvement with nations like the PRC) The possibilities this suggests for the future of the Republic are intriguing. Foremost among them are that Americans may in fact reverse the slide into Obama's corporate fascist vision. Huzzah!