After the Tea Party shenanigans this weekend, one might think the time has come for cooler heads to prevail, particularly since it's highly unlikely that Republicans in Congress -- or state attorneys general -- can effectively overturn, negate or repeal the bill President Obama signed into law before cheering Democrats Tuesday morning.
But the hotheads are still out there, willing and apparently eager to kick things up a notch. And they're using strong-arm tactics more commonly seen in third-world dictatorships or failed states than in the seat of the world's most developed, most stable democracies.
It's the latest disturbing sign of the red-blue polarization that has gripped the body politic and threatens to further undermine the already weakened American political discourse.
Consider: In just 15 months since the nation inaugurated its first African American president, we've had a House back-bencher from South Carolina loudly heckle the president during a live, televised joint speech to Congress; thousands of Tea Party protesters openly comparing his agenda to Soviet-style communism while carrying placards depicting him as a bone-through-the-nose witch doctor, in whiteface as The Joker and sporting an Adolph Hitler mustache; and baseless, surprisingly stubborn conspiracy theorists who continue to challenge his citizenship -- despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
To say nothing of the record number of threats of violence against a president swept into office with 52 percent of the popular vote, well above what former President Bush received when he claimed a "mandate" from the voters after his 2004 re-election.
In the last 72 hours alone -- after the House ratified the health care bill -- we've had a Republican deliver a verbal sucker-punch on a Democratic colleague, then shamelessly use it as a fundraising ploy (and gets results); we've had several Tea Partiers channel their inner Klansman and drop n-bombs on Representative John Lewis, a bona fide civil rights hero, as well as spit upon another black lawmaker and scream homophobic slurs at Representative Barney Frank, the first openly gay US congressman.
When Obama picked up his pen on Tuesday, reasonable people would have expected it formally signaled "game over" to the collective opposition, a cue to move on with the rest of their lives. Not quite.
Salon connects the link between the right-wing anger and frustration to the current GOP manipulations of the health care debate, and explains why rigid opposition may not go away any time soon.
To paraphrase Dick Motta and Bluto Blutarski: nothing is over 'till the fat lady decides it is.
Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy landing.