George Carlin was one of the most brilliant observational comedians this country ever produced. Using his skills of observation, he tried to warn us about the Republican party more than 35 years ago before the Tea Party faction even existed.
He noted the corruption and criminality rampant in the Reagan administration way back in 1988 and Reagan is considered by today’s Tea Party adherents to have been “too liberal.”
“I really haven’t seen this many people in one place,” he observed in the opening of a monologue, “since they took the group photograph of all the criminals and lawbreakers in the Ronald Reagan administration.”
By the end of Reagan’s term in office 138 officials in his administration had been either indicted or investigated for wrong-doing and we are not talking about low-level players here, we are talking about members of his cabinet.
“These are the ‘law and order’ people,” Carlin noted, referring to conservatives of his day. “These are the people who are against street crime. They want to put street criminals in jail to make life safer for the business criminals. They’re against street crime providing that street isn’t Wall Street.”
Even in the 80s, the Republicans wanted to decide for us what we could read or watch on television and listen to on the radio. They saw themselves then, as they do now, as the moral arbiters of what is good and what is evil.
George saw all of this long ago and tried to warn us, hoping that we would marginalize these people and keep them from gaining the power to impose their will on us. Not enough of us listened to him and look at where it has gotten us: both houses of Congress are now controlled by the very people he warned us about and in the intervening years, they have become even more radical than they were at the time.