Martin Luther Beck has come and gone. Still trying to get the taste out of my mouth.
Let me say instantly that the anger of people who follow Beck is real, especially the idea that something is not working right. What's bothering me is that what bothers them is not actually Muslims and Mexicans and Gays. It isn't even "government."
This is all a giant case of bait and switch.
Here's how I see it: What makes people angry and fearful is the sense that their lives are being changed without their knowledge or permission. We want society to be fair and open, for the rules to be fair and to know that they are applied fairly, that we can depend on certain things.
That has changed, and there is no lack of powerful people to tell you about it. That's the bait. They (Beck and company) want you to think that it is because of outsiders like Muslims and Mexicans, or minorities like gays and liberals, or conniving government flunkies. That's the switch.
They are not the problem.
At the risk of becoming a demagogue, I defer to those who know more than me and so you can blame them instead.
Let's start with Frank Rich, who speaks softly and carries a big anger.
He refers to Jean Meyer, whose article Rich references.
For something less pointed, try this article by Michael Hirsch, found in Newsweek.
If all of that fails to grab you where it matters, I leave it ultimately to the man who pulled no punches ever, may he rest in peace. (R rated language here folks, so be warned.)