I can remain on the sidelines no longer. Now that the influential blogger Mike Vanderboegh is counseling people opposed to health-care reform to articulate their views by breaking other people’s windows, I must weigh in on the side of reason.
You’ve heard of Mike, of course. No? Actually, neither had I, until the Washington Post elevated this simple blowhard into a sort of 21st century Thomas Paine: a lifelong loser with all of Paine’s passion but none of his smarts — and certainly none of his historical context. Mike, a former “militiaman,” believes expanding health insurance for the poor is certain to trigger civil war, and like most militiamen he can’t wait. I’m guessing that Mike is also sick and tired of standing in line at the DMV and paying his income taxes. Oh, and those damned kids cutting across his yard. Don’t tread on me, you little bastards!
But think about this: A 57-year-old man inciting wanton violence over a government program that has had no effect on him, is unlikely to have any significant effect for another four years, and — if bellicose stupidity correlates with lower socioeconomic status as I expect — will probably end up actually helping him. This is tyranny? Please.
This what happens when bloggers are taken seriously. Foolish views mingle with serious ones, and certain fools can’t tell the difference. So a certain element of the population has heeded Mike’s words and begun chucking rocks through convenient windows. I suspect this level of cretinism is far less common than news reports suggest, but it’s still depressing. You can’t help but think of Timothy McVeigh. And so I enter the fray.
This might not be a fair struggle, between Mike and I: He claims to command three million readers while I command about eight. No matter. I expect those eight to heed my words on this: Don’t go around breaking windows. Seriously. Just don’t do it. One thing leads to another. Don’t abandon civilization over relatively trivial matters.
Also, don’t scrawl death threats to your elected representatives. If you absolutely must scrawl death threats, at least don’t misplace your apostrophes. Like I said: One thing leads to another.