Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Tea Party I'll Never Attend

Can you see that picture clearly? It shows a handgun with the catchy slogan, 'If Brown can't stop it, a Browning can.'

Apparently 'Brown' refers to Scott Brown from Massachusetts, and a 'Browning' refers to....well, a gun. You put that together. It's not difficult.

I've spent the last few days in a considerable funk, brought about less by biology and more by the ugliness -- masquerading as a political movement -- that has pervaded our country.

We all have our political differences. Whether you're definitely conservative or definitely progressive, whether you're strictly middle of the road independent or lean slightly one way or the other, whether you embrace a little of each side, making you a bit of a political taco. Red meat Republicanism with a side of organically grown liberal romaine lettuce.

Heck. Both sides have some great core concepts. Who doesn't love lower taxes? And who isn't in favor of a social safety net, because, let's face it, we're all a little closer to needing one these days.

But in the last few days, we've seen some masks fall away, revealing what some of us have known for a long time. The tea party movement is nothing but a front for hatred. No self-respecting conservative would ally themselves with it. Except, most conservatives seem to be. More than a few GOP leaders seemed quite happy spreading lies about killing Grandma, ignoring protest signs that were clearly offensive, and letting people digest and grow fearful on outright lies, all to advance the movement against reform.

Goodness gracious, folks. I never thought I'd quote David Frum (former speechwriter for G.W. Bush) on this blog, but here goes:

"Barack Obama badly wanted Republican votes for his plan. Could we have leveraged his desire to align the plan more closely with conservative views? To finance it without redistributive taxes on productive enterprise – without weighing so heavily on small business – without expanding Medicaid? Too late now. They are all the law.

No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat." (Source: Frum Forum)

Here's what the most radical voices in the party and in the movement were doing this past weekend. Members of Congress were subject to racial slurs by protesters on the lawn. Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver was spit upon. Rep. Barney Frank was the recipient of homophobic slurs. Rep. John Lewis, who back in the 1960s suffered a fractured skull by Alabama police for daring to protest non-violently, was called the n-word. That same John Lewis had bricks thrown at his head as he marched with Dr. King. Rep. James Clyburn's office received faxes laden with racial epithets and drawings of a noose on gallows. These men have seen more in their lives than probably most of the denizens of that protest put together. And to find themselves targets of such hatred once again? And where were House Republicans? Busy whipping up that frenzy.

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And then there were the stories of some idiot on Twitter calling for the President's assassination. Could it get worse than that?

On my friend Fran's blog, I read about a counterprotester with Parkinson's disease being heckled and made fun of by Tea Partiers, and I couldn't brings myself to watch the accompanying video documenting this. I was already so disheartened, so disillusioned with this fake debate. I had already witnessed more evidence of man's inhumanity to man in these last few days, I could barely manage a fist pump for the concept of insurance companies being held accountable. I couldn't bring myself to watch a likely victim of insurance companies -- and a very ill one at that -- being mocked.

If you're a conservative, you may have some legitimate gripes about the bill. David Frum's post-vote comment contained a few.

But all the frothing at the mouth seems to be truly about something else: perhaps it's anger and frustration at the fact of there being a black man running the country and a female Speaker of the House from San Francisco. That appears to be just too much for some to handle.

As for me, despite my feelings of sadness, I have to believe that righteousness will prevail. And I'm not talking about politics here. I'm just talking about decency.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to find some news about rainbows and kittens. Because my soul needs it.


Rima said...

There are my sentiments exactly, but I could never have expressed them as well as you did here.

I am truly frightened at what is happening to our country.

MemeGRL said...

Thank you so much for this post. I keep hearing snippets of the news, thinking, "What? That can't be right! I'll have to google that later!" only to discover that wait, whoa, that was right and OMG people really think that? and I'm ready to cry. Because I have known good Republicans in my life who would be ashamed of what's happening now. Party of Lincoln indeed. We were away for the last five days so I missed much of this and I can't say I'm sorry. The aftermath is plenty.
Now go watch Phineas and Ferb or something cheery. Please.

Indigo Children said...

yuck. i had no idea any of that was going on. i have had my head buried in finishing up my final exam portfolio for my masters degree and have not read any news for days.

what an ugly mess!

Anonymous said...

I'm right there with you in the dejected section. Thanks for this post.

Monica said...

Everyone needs to read this post. Did you see Paul Krugman's OpEd in the NYTimes? It's a good one, I think you'd like it: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/opinion/22krugman.html

Anonymous said...

http://cuteoverload.com - that'll help.


Anonymous said...

thanks d,

I needed that cuteness too!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I really don't understand people. This stuff is vile and scares the crap out of me.

Life with Kaishon said...

What a great post! I hope you found some rainbows and kitten news. This is positively insane. I have friends in both camps and it blows my mind the passion everyone has for their 'side'

I am visiting via Bossy's link today. I live outside of Philly.

slouchy said...

Amen. A thousand of them.

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