Drivin' along in my automobile...

So it's Friday, and after work, I make a trip to the supermarket. I'm in good spirits; the weekend and all, and even if I've got less than forty bucks through to next payday, there are worse things in the world than two days off and a handful of loose change. On my way to the store, I go through four or five traffic lights, and the two right near the end are a mess- four-way intersections with popular cross traffic turns and no left arrow signals. During the busy hours, you can get stuck forever waiting for somebody brave enough to make a dash for it.

I hit the first light, pulling up up behind a mini-van with what must've been a dozen bumper stickers plastered on the back. Before I can read them, I see some pastel colors and assume it's for something happy, life-affirming; I vaguely remember having seen a slogan for Planned Parenthood or some other such thing before that looked similar.

Then I get close enough to really see those bumper stickers, and man, was I ever wrong. There's a long line of cars ahead of us, so I get to spend the next five minutes contemplating just how wrong a person could be about a back end of bumper stickers.

The pastel on white? That was a "VOTE NO ON 1" or maybe "VOTE YES ON 1," the really memorable bit being the "PROTECT MARRIAGE" line. Woo-hoo. The other eleven messages from the frizzy hair stranger ten feet away from me focused on a different topic: abortion. These were even more charming. My favorite- well, favorite in the "Sartre was right" sense- read, "An abortion doesn't mean you're not a mother; it means you're the mother of a DEAD BABY." (Emphasis, it goes without saying, there's.) The rest were along the same line, all accusatory, the linguistic equivalent of a series of kidney punches.

I realize this isn't new, but the sheer weight of it, the fact that you could barely see the license plate behind the carnage, overwhelmed me. This isn't a matter of communicating ideas or debate. You see a car like that, and you can imagine the person hunched over their tailgate, rubbing their palms across each vicious word to make sure all of them stick; imagine how much hate goes into that.

This isn't a position being expressed. This is fury. That this is encouraged- actually embraced- as a fuel for the workings of a political party, is as horrifying as it is inevitable. We are endlessly outraged by the lies the other side will tell, but I think what bothers me the most is what Shakespeare's Sis was talking about earlier today; that in their obsessive need for power the GOP has embraced the more chaotic elements of society and in doing so, created an echo chamber in which those elements' every word is reflected back upon them with the full power of a thousand shrieking voices.

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