Red, White And Ugly

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Last week, the abominable Fred Phelps and his miserable band of Westboro Baptist Church minions made noises about bringing their caravan of crazy to College Station, Texas, in order to let their freak flags fly near the funeral of fallen Lt. Col. Roy Tisdale. As word leaked out, some enterprising Texas A&M students took to social networking sites to organize a gathering to counter the Westboro lunatics’ planned desecration of the solemn event.

The students’ plan worked with flying colors. Hundreds of Aggies lined the road to shield mourners from whatever verbal manure Phelps and his cretins might try to spew. A “maroon wall” of Aggies of all shapes and sizes showed up. One participant tweeted that there were more than 650 people in attendance. The Texas A&M response was so successful that Phelps pulled the plug on his planned sideshow and skipped the Tisdale funeral entirely.

As I discussed Phelps and his creepy congregants with acquaintances, it occurred to me that I don’t know a single person, even among the most redoubtably liberal, who hold Phelps in higher regard than they do something truly vile — like a puddle of vomit or Al Sharpton. One pal offered: “Just kill this psycho and be done with it. (President Barack) Obama and (Attorney General Eric) Holder (are allegedly accomplices of the narcoterrorists who) killed a border agent; you think they’d have any trouble offing these nutjobs?”

I’m willing to admit, his idea has merit. After all, it’s hard to imagine anyone pining away for Phelps after he’s gone; and the human species won’t suffer from the pinching off of Freddie’s badly diluted bloodline. In fact, my own thoughts tend toward sealing the Westboro building with plastic wrap and then locking Phelps and his shrieking, lawyer-harpy daughter along with the rest of his twisted followers inside the building with a year’s supply of chili, deviled eggs and Mountain Dew™ and a television that shows only “An Inconvenient Truth.”

Planning the demise of someone like Phelps is pure folly. He’s interesting — in the way a five-car pileup on the interstate is “interesting.” But in a Nation that takes political advice from Oprah Winfrey, Phelps is strictly Branson, Mo., in a Hollywood world. Phelps possesses enough charisma to convince some truly pathetic souls to follow him down the road to perdition. Put Freddie onstage at the next Netroots Nation hate-speech gathering, and he’d fade like Tom Cruise’s hopes for Suri to be named the second coming of L. Ron Hubbard. Consider it: Phelps is almost universally despised. Meanwhile, Sharpton has a television show, Nancy Pelosi is a 13-term Congresswoman and Michael Moore (the Leni Riefenstahl of liberalism) is an Oscar-winning multimillionaire. Louis Farrakhan has an army of devoted followers. George Soros’ tentacles reach into a wide array of Democratic-adjunct hate groups who serve as rhetorical bludgeons for what used to be the fringe left and is now the power of the Democratic Party. Dan Savage is hailed as an anti-bullying expert. Holder thinks he’s above the law. Obama thinks he’s above us all.

Since we can’t simply bump off people we collectively recognize would benefit the world by not being on it, how do we deal with the truly loathsome among us? Specifically, how do we respond to the bottom-feeders who are just as repugnant as Phelps but more charismatic? As I mentioned before, killing is ruled out. In addition to the fact that even Phelps (not to mention the others) has the Constitutional right to act like an absolute jackass, murder (even the murder of supremely annoying and/or repulsive people) is illegal — unless you’re the Attorney General. Instead, we can and should all take a lesson from the Aggies. We should acknowledge the scum that floats on the American pond, wall it off and wave as it fades from view. Call it “Skimming the Pool of Patriotism” (or whatever). We’ll start this November.

–Ben Crystal

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.