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The Greatest Danger America Has Ever Faced
First came the hippies and the yippies, then the yuppies, and all of their ilk. I wonder if another such group hasn't already invaded. They're all around us, we con-stantly see them and hear them, even when we do everything in our power to pretend they're not there.
This time it's the "SIMPIES."
The letters stand for:
Single Issue Militant Partisans
They're constantly under foot, and they never stop nagging and bullying us about their favorite cause, whatever it may be.
What's more, they're not the least bit quiet. They love to make all the noise they can, and they love to get into arguments. Getting into arguments is what really makes them feel alive.
But with Simpies you can't really argue back. They're already convinced that they're totally informed and utterly right. Some would go further and claim the "p" in Simpie stands not just for "partisan" but for "pest,"or perhaps even "phoney" or "psycho," or something unprintable.
What Simpies insist on supporting is one sideand one side onlyof a single and seemingly simple issue. Because for them it really is simple and it's the only side that matters, it's the only side worth fighting for, almost regardless of what the cause may be.
And because their cause matters, THEY matter. And because they matter, whatever anyone else may think is irrelevant.
There was once a time when people were supposed to think in terms of an entire societyconsider all the issues at stake, try and form some overall view of those issues before reaching for the flags and banners.
Even 'Sixties activists paid homage to this notion in their way, launching not just single- issue crusades but a whole spectrum of causes: peace, civil rights, feminism, drugs, ecology, free sex and respect for other people's free sex.
Naturally some people preferred one cause over another. But you'd find all of them covered in most underground newspapers of the day, and they all were considered part of the "movement."
Now any group with a publication, a mailing list, five people with strong lungs, and a few members willing to be arrested for misde-meanors can seemingly score vast political victories.
They can aim at removing all rival groups from the national landscape, regardless of their size, importance, or more thoughtfully researched positions.
We all know exactly who these groups are, we know that they do not constitute anything like a real majority even where their issues of choice are concerned, and yet their members continue to beleaguer and besiege us with their unending campaigns.
Who are these people I call Simpies? Do I really have to tell you? The tea-baggers spring immediately to mind. They are absolutely certain that high taxes and spending in Washington are the worst infamy in all world history.
They absolutely KNOW that deficit spending will destroy our society and bankrupt not only us but our children and our children's children for fifty years to come, even though absolutely the same arguments were heard against Roosevelt fifty years ago, and the fifty years following him have been the most prosperous in our nation's history.
They absolutely KNOW that all geovernment is bad, but most of them couldn't tell you what government is doing for them in their own cities and neighborhoods. Many of them can't even name the three branches of government.
And then of course there are the anti-abortion activists, who still insist on turning a heart-rending decision into a nearly impossible one for many American women.
This brand of Simpies insists that it is wrong to commit what they call murder but perfectly permissible to go on tormenting poor and defenseless women and children for years to come.
Inside their own minds many of these Simpies are still convinced that a woman who has sexmuch less enjoys itis guilty of mortal sin and if pregnant must not only bring that child to birth but bear the burden of her sin by being sentenced to twenty years of enforced motherhood.
For those pulling the strings Simpies are easy to handle. They can be made to leap on cue as a single mass, chanting and screaming their shouts and songs, creating the illusion that a new and vast movement is abroad in the land, when we know from almost all public opinion polls that this is simply not true.
They glory and revel in following their leaders, and they gladly and willingly swear their undying allegiance to their ruler, Sarah Palin, Queen of the Simpies.
Other Simpies have attempted to define what constitutes science, not only the natural history of life on earth, but even the age and nature of the universe. In many states others have also attempted to legislate what language this nation of foreigners must speak.
Many of them wear god on their sleeves and have deafened our ears with their never-ending cries for silent prayer in our schools.
Still others are opposed to flag burning, even though the Supreme Court has ruled against them. They are absolutely convinced beyond any possible persuasion that America is mainly about the beauties of our flag, not about our freedom to criticize whatever we choose, including the flag.
Almost anyone has a chance of starting a Simpy crusademost recently we have heard radio announcers, US Congressmen, and amateur pilots campaigning in their separate ways to support a constitutional amendment revoking the national income tax.
Although our government has rigorously tried to separate church and state, there has been a persistent element of religious dogma in at least some of these Simpy campaigns, not to mention overt religious hysteria.
And there is indeed a strong religious side to the Simpies. It is as though all those infected with such convictions, regardless of the topic or the stand, were filled with such divine inspiration that they cannot help but preach the One and Only Truth. They cannot help but stand up at the revival meeting to declare themselves among the faithful, cannot help but act out their feelings in other more ominous ways.
It is also not surprising that when Simpies and Simpy sympathizers are asked to elaborate on their beliefs, they fall back on such near paranoid notions as a "secular humanist" plot depriving humanity of true freedom and dignity.
According to these Simpies, such fiendish secular humanists have been contriving for centuries to hornswoggle humanity, and any appearance of normal curiosity, including
all of modern science and technology everything since the Renaissance, in factmust also be a part of this horrendous plot, with the ancient Greeks and Romans not much better.
It is obvious that the Simpies be they tea-baggers, religious extremists, or UFO and Sasquatch zealotscannot run a modern nation: they lack the skills, the sophis-tication, perhaps even the belief that modern nations are necessary. And so they treat other members of society to prolonged screaming fits.
They keep all the rest of us in a state of constant disarray, fighting unending brush fires in unexpected forums across the nation.
But ultimately the Simpies have no answers beyond their screaming, no coordinated strategy, no programs for the future, assuming they even believe in one.
Yet our elected officers, even some of our highest leaders, have not hesitated to play along with the Simpies and their sentiments whenever they find it appropriate, and even encourage them.
As the nation gears up for a midterm election, we might all do well to consider how far we intend to cater to these Simpies, to what extent this nation can continue to grant favors and legislative power on the strength of revival camp enthusiasm.
If we fail to stand up to Simpiesor if we prefer to postpone the battle until we are better prepared to wage itwe may discover that there is no America left to defend.
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This piece is Copyright © 2000
by Alexander Gross. It may be
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