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What Tea-Partiers Don’t Get About Democracy

October 27, 2009

Lady Liberty?

Here’s what I don’t get: there are people in this country that desperately want a voice in government, but don’t seem to actually believe in democracy. There are many factions of this group, but I’m thinking specifically of a group I’ll call the “Tea-Partiers.” (I couldn’t possibly get through a whole post typing “tea-baggers” without losing my concentration in an adolescent fit of giggles. :-))

Back in 2000, and to an extent in 2004, those opposed to George W. Bush had valid reasons to question the legitimacy of his “election.” And it is true that there were those that at some point during his administration compared Mr. Bush to Hitler, and many called his administration fascist. Of course, that was not wide-spread and it only occurred after a disastrous dissent into war, lies and civil and human rights abuses. Today, though, we have a group looking for every half-baked, crack-pot theory they can find to try to delegitimatize the man who not only won the election, but won decisively. (The largest popular vote margin ever by a non-incumbent; the most decisive Democratic win in 44 years; three and a half times larger margin than Bush in 2004.)

I thought things were bad during the Clinton administration, when the GOP pulled out all the stops, and every ridiculous scandal they could possibly muck up to try to delegitimize our last Democratic President. They were so dismayed that their “Reagan Revolution” was ending, that they went apoplectic about Clinton. The terrible thing is that they largely succeeded. Here we are, 16 years later, still fighting for universal healthcare, still fighting to keep the middle class alive, still fighting for responsible foreign policy; still fighting, while things have just gotten worse. The ridiculous thing is that Tea-Partiers, by and large, represent demographic groups for whom things have really gotten bad.

APTOPIX Obama Health Care OverhaulThe Tea-Partiers are hard to pin down as a group: some are Republicans, while some declare the GOP too moderate and insist they are independent; some are concerned about taxes that have either gone down or stayed the same; some are mad about the end of torture, or the closing of Gitmo; others are desperately afraid the government’s going to get it’s grubby paws on Medicare; some are Lyndon Larouche drones (they would be the ones starting the Hitler crap); others are still worked up about “death panels”; there are also those simply terrified of “Socialism”, although they seem to not be able to define what that actually is; some just seem to enjoy dressing up as Betsy Ross and dangling tea bags from their hats; still others tote around signs about treason, yet see no irony in openly carrying guns in close proximity to the President of the United States; and of course, there are my favorite: the “Birthers”.

teabaghatSo many things to get worked up about, so many things to protest! Sure, it has been pointed out in more than one place that these poor souls are being used by the Astroturf forces of people like Dick Armey. But while they may be puppets in the schemes of consummate insiders, and while they are clearly being fooled into believing distortions and out-right lies by some in the right-wing media, they are legitimately worked up.

Now, I might postulate that a person who has the free time to dangle tea-bags from his/her hat and spend the day making and carrying signs demonstrating an extreme lack of logic, let alone grammar or spelling, is not exactly the captain of industry that truly need worry about socialism or the effects of competition on the healthcare industry. Clearly, they’re being played: set up, pumped up and pushed out the door to the nearest town hall meeting. But, hey, that’s politics and this is democracy, right? Well, sort of.

Protests, in and of themselves, are fine. I don’t think they have nearly the influence that calls and letters to legislators would have, but fine. Speaking up at a town hall meeting is also fine and good for democracy. The problem comes when these protests turn into scenes fomenting hate and inciting violence; when speaking up at a town hall turns into shouting down everyone else, and using intimidation to suppress others’ freedom of speech. These are not the actions of people that believe in the principles of democracy. Whether it’s the Tea-Partiers or their Astroturf handlers, they are seeking to undermine the legitimate President, his administration and the will of the 65 million Americans that voted for him.

There’s a line that gets tossed around a lot, and no one likes to hear it when you’re on the losing side, but elections have consequences. It’s high time the Tea-Partiers and their ilk get used to that idea and quit with the intimidation, lies, distortions and just plain bat-sh*t crazy conspiracy theories. They need to learn to work from within the democratic system if they want to be heard, instead of standing on the outside and trying to break it down.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. LibertyKid permalink
    February 9, 2010 9:10 pm

    Sigh. Liberals. So focused on your own brand of idealism that you don’t see the real truth behind what is going on. As long as you keep basing your debates on what you see and read in the mainstream media, the powers that be will continue to destroy this country under the guise of creating a better world.
    Socialism has been tried and proven a failure in the old world. Why must you cling to this antiquated “fix-all” solution when it clearly is a failure? But in all fairness, the Conservatives have done no better with their stab at democracy.
    And, as I can almost feel the hackles on your neck rising as you read this, I will go ahead and finish what I have started. The Tea Party is not, as your hero Janeane Garafalo puts it, a bunch of fascist racists, but an actual grassroots movement hell-bent on restoring the republic to it’s once and former glory, the way the founding fathers intended things to be. Palin has attached herself to the Tea Party-NOT the other way around. If anything, the Tea-baggers are using Palin as a way to get attention from mainstream voters. Of course now that I have completely pissed you off, I must say that it was an interesting blog, if not the same old tired-assed liberal socialist pablum that you all seem content on feeding each other. I guess you just won’t be happy until the Federal govt controls EVERYTHING, and we have no rights whatsoever. No property rights, no money, nothing.
    We need a third party come 2012, and that party is Libertarian. I wish you, as well as Republicans would just open your minds a little, and at least give us a little consideration. But as long as you all continue to support the two-party paradigm, the only way this country is going is down.

  2. November 13, 2009 6:11 pm

    Yea I couldn’t agree more! You left out some in the tea party are closet racist that just cant stomach the fact that our president is black. My guess is most of these people have never even voted or never been involved in politics until now. I guess we just have to accept Americans in general are stupid and never really take time to find out the truth about most things. They believe what other people tell them and what they hear on TV.

  3. October 28, 2009 10:20 am

    Water the tree of liberty? Water???

    Great. Another veiled reference to violence. The “water” referred to on that sign is actually the oft-mentioned “blood” from the famous Thomas Jefferson quotation.

    Revive the Revolution
    Don’t Tread on Me
    A logo of a clenched fist raised in the air

    The teabagger movement (say that word with enthusiasm) seems to be dropping a lot of subtle hints about violence. They don’t actually come out and say it, though. They are trying to be cutesy and coy.

    I’m not too surprised. After all they are funded by the likes of ExxonMobile and Philip Morris. Viva la “grassroots.”

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