The other night it occurred to me that the following headlines were related:

This one:

IRS auditor reaffirms that conservatives, not liberals, were targeted

And this one

26% of Obama Supporters View Tea Party as Nation’s Top Terror Threat

Had to read that again. Here’s the explanation:

…among those who approve of the president’s job performance, just 29% see radical Muslims as the bigger threat. Twenty-six percent (26%) say it’s the Tea Party that concerns them most. Among those who Strongly Approve of the president, more fear the Tea Party than radical Muslims.

As for those who disapprove of Obama’s performance, 75% consider radical Muslims to be the bigger terrorist threat. Just one percent (1%) name the Tea Party.

That kind of polarization is not the sort of thing I have ever seen among Americans before, and I have lived in this country for nearly 60 years.

So I read on.

Sixty-seven percent (67%) of voters think it is at least somewhat likely that terrorist groups will soon gain access to nuclear weapons, including 34% who feel it is Very Likely.

Huh?

Does that mean the Tea Party is poised to acquire nuclear weapons?

Who knew?

Here’s how the survey questions were worded:

4*Which is a bigger terrorist threat to the United States today – radical Muslims, the Tea Party, local militia groups, the Occupy Wall Street movement, or other religious or political extremists?

5* How likely is it that terrorist groups will soon gain access to nuclear weapons?

I would like to think that the 26% of Obama supporters who think this way are hysterical and simply projecting their emotional rage. Surely, they cannot really think the Tea Party is the biggest terrorist threat to the United States today.

Or can they?

I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that this country is ceasing to be the country I grew up in, and which I sometimes delude myself into thinking still exists so I can get to sleep at night.

While I was mulling this over,  a friend emailed me a link which left me speechless.

A Texas teenager who has been in jail since March faces an eight-year prison sentence because of a threatening joke he made while playing an online video game.

In February, Justin Carter was playing “League of Legends” — an online, multiplayer fantasy game — when another player wrote a comment calling him insane. Carter’s response, which he now deeply regrets, was intended as joke.

“He replied ‘Oh yeah, I’m real messed up in the head, I’m going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts,’ and the next two lines were lol and jk,” said Jack Carter, Justin’s father, in a statement to a local news channel.

The statements “lol” and “jk” — meaning “laughing out loud” and “just kidding” — indicate that Justin’s statement was entirely sarcastic, said his father.

But a Canadian woman who saw the post looked up Carter’s Austin address, determined that it was near an elementary school, and called the police. Carter was arrested one month later, and has been in jail ever since. He recently celebrated his 19th birthday behind bars.

Authorities charged him with making a terrorist threat. If convicted, he will face eight years in prison.

“These people are serious. They really want my son to go away to jail for a sarcastic comment that he made,” said the elder Carter.

Got that?

Sarcasm = terrorism.

And we wonder why the IRS was going after what 26% of Obama supporters (including Joe Biden) consider the biggest terrorist threat to the United States today?

Seriously, I cannot believe this stuff is happening in the United States of America.

And I wouldn’t believe it if I didn’t see it on a daily basis. At least the latest story has gotten around. I wonder how many more there are that haven’t.

Words fail me. I am beyond disgust. Sure, I can write another stupid post, but nothing I say or think means a damned thing. I’m glad I took up metal work. Inanimate objects are more sane than humans.

I mean, really. What am I supposed to say here?

Should I defend our First Amendment right to be sarcastic?

Should I defend the right to voice opinions that are tacky or otherwise not in good taste as I did very recently?

Should I point out that phrases like “OFF THE PIGS,” and “EAT THE RICH” have advocated murder and cannibalism for decades?

Or…. should I point out that the sarcastic advocacy of cannibalism is at least as old as Jonathan Swift? And the actual eating of children in advanced civilizations is even older?

Why bother?

If the Constitution of the United States makes no difference, why should my “terrorist” opinions?