We've all heard of Shangri-La, that mythical, mystical mountain paradise. It was a "permanently happy land, isolated from the outside world."
Now, we have Angri-La, that angry, expanse of America's heartland, be it inland or on the coasts or in the mountains or on the plains. It exists in Central Oregon, too.
Unlike Shangri-La, Angri-La is not a fictional "Lost Horizon." It's as real as a tea party, but with less decorum. It's not so much a place as a state of mind. It's a permanently agitated state, isolated from reality.
Some of these disgruntled Americans belong to the Tea Party movement, which counts anger as its core principle.
Those in Angri-La claim to like tea well enough to dump it out. They certainly don't drink much of it.
Members are largely white and partly large. Some are jobless and some are rich. They're united in their hatred of the federal government, now that a Democrat, who happens to be black, is in charge.
He's not just African-American, but a Muslim who wasn't even born here, they say. He shouldn't be president because the Constitution says so, they claim. And, no one knows the Constitution better than a Teabagger. It's part of their DNA. They aim to "to protect our country and the Constitution upon which we were founded!"
They're the only patriots we have left, they believe.
It's understandable to be incensed during this Great Recession amid billions in bank bonuses, but that is not what Tea Partiers stew about.
Teabaggers argue that they're mainly concerned about the ballooning federal deficit, health care reform, stimulus spending and government takeovers of American companies. But, they really don't care about the deficit, because the Tea Party didn't even exist when George W. Bush ballooned the deficit to fight two undeclared wars, to sign a budget-busting drug benefit and to hand billions to irresponsible banks.
No self-respecting Teabagger really cares about future generations and the debts they'll have to pay off. They're only concerned about their own immediate tax obligations. That's fair enough, but Teabaggers claim they worry about the future. If they did, they would see the wisdom in less spending and more taxes.
Because we are so used to low taxes over the past three decades, we believe that is our birthright. Any increase in taxes is considered, by Teabaggers, to be either socialism, Communism, Nazism, fascism or any other "ism" that they don't understand. Taxes are un-Constitutional. They're just plain, un-American. It's why we had our revolution in the first place. If King George had just given the colonists tax cuts, instead of tax hikes, we'd still be flying the Union Jack.
And the Tea Party movement is growing throughout Angri-La.
To demonstrate that her husband isn't the only one without much brains, Virginia Thomas, the white wife of Clarence Thomas, the second African-American on the Supreme Court, is forming a "tea party" group.
From a Los Angeles Times article:
"I adore all the new citizen patriots who are rising up across this country," Thomas, who goes by Ginni, said on the panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference. "I have felt called to the front lines with you, with my fellow citizens, to preserve what made America great."
"I am an ordinary citizen from Omaha, Neb., who just may have the chance to preserve liberty along with you and other people like you," she said at a recent panel discussion with tea party leaders in Washington.
Well, she may be trying to dispel the notion that the Tea Party movement is predicated on racism or she may be clueless about judicial non-partisanship. Even her husband doesn't attend the State of the Union addresses because of the partisan nature of those events. Maybe she doesn't realize that she is no ordinary citizen. her affiliations could have an impact on judicial decisions if her husband has to recuse himself from a case because of her activism. Of course he would never do such a thing. Conservatives only see a conflict of interest when liberals are involved. When conservatives indulge in conflicts of interest they call it judicial temperament.
But, it's safe to say that Virginia Thomas is holed up in Angri-La. She appears to be outraged about something, we just don't know what. And she'll fight on the "front lines" for whatever that is.
And that is how it is with most of those living in Angri-La. They're angry about something. They want to revolt, but don't know how. They have "hate radio" (Limbaugh, Beck, Ingraham, etc.) to fuel their infuriation. They also have Fox News, with its "fair-and-balanced" treatment of all the terrible things that godless liberals and and secular Democrats are doing to this Christian nation. Fox News feeds the fury.
With the imminent passage of health care reform, Angri-La will grow. They'll be more marches on Washington. They'll be more calls for liberty, for defending the Constitution and for, well, just being angry.
Who knew that losing the presidency to an African-American would unite so many in anger? Actually, that's part of our political DNA as well.
Welcome to the new horizon of Angri-La.