A reader writes:

I’ve been thinking about the anger emanating from a certain segment of the right.  I’ve been making obvious comparisons in my mind to the loony left that came out en masse during Bush’s years (I have lots of memories of giant puppets being paraded around for no discernible reason).  These two extremes, focused on the edges of the American political spectrum, have much in common; and yet the right feels different today than the left did.  I’ve been trying to figure out why I feel slightly differently about these two ships of fools.

For me, I think a part of it comes down to demographics.  When I see strung-out neo-hippies,  giant puppets almost make sense (I am, of course, speaking of the extremes on purposethis is not the image of all those who equivocated Bush to Hitler). 

But when I see the town hall meetings  I see middle age plus, middle American, town hall attendeesthese are the straights, the normals, the squares.  And when I see their posters with swastikas, hear the repeated decision not to debate healthcare reform with logic (there are reasons not to want the proposed reform to pass), and witness the power of mobs across the nationthere is a difference.

I don’t expect the old to be all that much wiser than the young; this is a myth.  I do expect for them to act less like jackasses, though.  For me, this is another continuation in the failings of the Hippie generation.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.