Tea Party Patriot

There’s a scene in THE DARK KNIGHT in which Bruce Wayne and Alfred are trying to understand the seemingly chaotic and pointlessly destructive behavior of The Joker. Wayne comments that The Joker is just a criminal and all they need to figure out is what he’s really after. Alfred disagrees with him, going on to say that “Some men aren’t looking for anything logical, like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” Of course, in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES he says that he would send Wayne on a date with a chimpanzee if it got him out of the house. So sometimes it’s best to take what old people say with a grain of sand. Or salt. Whatever. Nevertheless, speaking of old people saying strange things, that brings me to the Tea Party.

In watching THE DARK KNIGHT with my oldest son a week or so ago, at the height of the Republican shutdown of the government, I started to see so many parallels between The Joker and the Tea Party Conservatives in Congress. Every news outlet was acting like Bruce Wayne (billionaire playboy doofus, not cunning vigilante crime fighter) in trying to find a logical motive or endgame behind the Tea Party’s actions. Liberal and conservative pundits (because there are no moderate ones) alike were perplexed at what was going on. The “establishment” Republicans reminded me of the establishment crime bosses of Gotham City who are forced to rely on the help of The Joker, a man they clearly do not understand and who clearly does not have their best interests in mind. A man whose idea of “victory” is the end of the very thing the rest of them need to survive. Seriously, the “party of business” is trusting the help of a group that once urged businesses not to hire people so unemployment would stay high so Obama would not get re-elected.

Speaker of The House John Boehner reminded me of Harvey Dent, a man so focused on his own career and enamored by his own perceived intelligence that he’s oblivious to how seriously out of his depth he is especially when faced with the actions of The Joker. Or, the Tea Party. Whichever. The point is in the end they burned half his face off and turned him into a hated freak. And President Obama struck me as being a lot like Jim Gordon, a guy who I think genuinely wants to do the right thing and get the job done but is surrounded by schemers and ideologues with their own agendas. And yet, somehow, he’s the only guy still standing in the end.

The average American was like the average citizen of Gotham, trapped on one of two ideological boats wired with explosives and their fates directly in the hands of the other side. Most people in this country think they can just live apart from one another but, alas, they can’t. And the Joker Party is constantly trying to find new ways to get us all to turn on each other in the name of chaos. Because in the end that’s what they’re really after. For, as The Joker himself so succinctly put it “I’m a dog chasing cars in the street. I wouldn’t know what to do if I caught one.”

And finally, you might be asking who I am in all of this. Well, that’s easy. I’m Batman.



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