1 2 3 4 – Wait, What Exactly ARE You Fighting For?

I have posted several times about the fracturing of the Teabaggers disgruntled Libertarians self-proclaimed patriots angry mob Glenn Beck followers Crazy Palin Supporters Oath Keepers John Birch Society New Minutemen Ayn Rand Wankers TEA movement thing, as well as what I perceive to be the inherent problems of the “movement,” ranging from miseducation to willful hypocrisy to bigotry. One element, however, that I have not addressed very much is the apocalyptic hysteria.

Well friends, that time has come.

Yesterday’s New York Times contained a very interesting article on the TEAbaggery. And yes, after much internal debate, I have decided to refer collectively to the whole lot (lot = [Teabaggers disgruntled Libertarians self-proclaimed patriots angry mob Glenn Beck followers Crazy Palin Supporters Oath Keepers John Birch Society New Minutemen Ayn Rand Wankers TEA movement thing]) as TEAbaggery. They picked the name (no really Mom, they did) and I like it so there you go. Nomenclature aside, I have culled some of the more alarmist/jaw-dropping quotes from the article for us to discuss.

Who joins the TEAbaggery? Primarily people who are fed up and/or afraid and either don’t know or are unable to articulate why.  Also, a lack of prior education on government/politics/civics is good, as is a poor voting record.  Then the angry and fed up, either by divine luck or shrewd marketing, stumble upon the likes of Ron Paul and Glenn Beck. At this point, the proto-baggers receive an “Education” about what the Constitution *really* means and how those vague and ill-defined feelings of being shafted are *really* the pure spark of Constitutional Love.

The[ local TEAgroups] are frequently led by political neophytes who prize independence and tell strikingly similar stories of having been awakened by the recession. Their families upended by lost jobs, foreclosed homes and depleted retirement funds, they said they wanted to know why it happened and whom to blame.

That is often the point when Tea Party supporters say they began listening to Glenn Beck. With his guidance, they explored the Federalist Papers, exposés on the Federal Reserve, the work of Ayn Rand and George Orwell. Some went to constitutional seminars. Online, they discovered radical critiques of Washington on Web sites like ResistNet.com (“Home of the Patriotic Resistance”) and Infowars.com (“Because there is a war on for your mind.”).

Many describe emerging from their research as if reborn to a new reality. Some have gone so far as to stock up on ammunition, gold and survival food in anticipation of the worst. For others, though, transformation seems to amount to trying on a new ideological outfit — embracing the rhetoric and buying the books.

And this:

Most of the people [at a TEA gathering in WA state] had paid only passing attention to national politics in years past. “I voted twice and I failed political science twice,” said Darin Stevens, leader of the Spokane 9/12 Project.

Until the recession, Mr. Stevens, 33, had poured his energies into his family and his business installing wireless networks. He had to lay off employees, and he struggled to pay credit cards, a home equity loan, even his taxes. “It hits you physically when you start getting the calls,” he said.

He discovered Glenn Beck, and began to think of Washington as a conspiracy to fleece the little guy. “I had no clue that my country was being taken from me,” Mr. Stevens explained. He could not understand why his progressive friends did not see what he saw.

But what *exactly* do they think is so wrong?  Well, depends on who is talking, apparently. And a lot of the “fear” seems to be grounded in fantasy and fearmongering.

At a recent meeting of the Sandpoint Tea Party, Mrs. Stout presided with brisk efficiency until a member interrupted with urgent news. Because of the stimulus bill, he insisted, private medical records were being shipped to federal bureaucrats. A woman said her doctor had told her the same thing. There were gasps of rage. Everyone already viewed health reform as a ruse to control their medical choices and drive them into the grip of insurance conglomerates. Debate erupted. Could state medical authorities intervene? Should they call Congress?

WorldNetDaily.com trumpets “exclusives” reporting that the Army is seeking “Internment/Resettlement” specialists. On ResistNet.com, bloggers warn that Mr. Obama is trying to convert Interpol, the international police organization, into his personal police force. They call on “fellow Patriots” to “grab their guns.”

People are more willing, he said, to imagine a government that would lock up political opponents, or ration health care with “death panels,” or fake global warming. And if global warming is a fraud, is it so crazy to wonder about a president’s birth certificate?

“People just do not trust any of this,” Mr. [Richard] Mack said. “It’s not just the fringe people anymore. These are just ordinary people — teachers, bankers, housewives.”

Well, what are they going to do about it? I don’t know that THEY really know.

Tea Party leaders say they know their complaints about shredded constitutional principles and excessive spending ring hollow to some, given their relative passivity through the Bush years. In some ways, though, their main answer — strict adherence to the Constitution — would comfort every card-carrying A.C.L.U. member.

But their vision of the federal government is frequently at odds with the one that both parties have constructed. Tea Party gatherings are full of people who say they would do away with the Federal Reserve, the federal income tax and countless agencies, not to mention bailouts and stimulus packages. Nor is it unusual to hear calls to eliminate Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. A remarkable number say this despite having recently lost jobs or health coverage. Some of the prescriptions they are debating — secession, tax boycotts, states “nullifying” federal laws, forming citizen militias — are outside the mainstream, too.

But it sure seems that the end goal is going to require a LOT of ammo.  Many people appear to be fear/hoping for an armed “rebellion” – a desire that is both created and fed in an extremely irresponsible manner by people who should know better.

Mr. Beck frequently echoes Patriot rhetoric, discussing the possible arrival of a “New World Order” and arguing that Mr. Obama is using a strategy of manufactured crisis to destroy the economy and pave the way for dictatorship.

Politicians courting the Tea Party movement are also alluding to Patriot dogma. At a Tea Party protest in Las Vegas, Joe Heck, a Republican running for Congress, blamed both the Democratic and Republican Parties for moving the country toward “socialistic tyranny.” In Texas, Gov. Rick Perry, a Republican seeking re-election, threw his support behind the state sovereignty movement. And in Indiana, Richard Behney, a Republican Senate candidate, told Tea Party supporters what he would do if the 2010 elections did not produce results to his liking: “I’m cleaning my guns and getting ready for the big show. And I’m serious about that, and I bet you are, too.”

When Friends for Liberty held its first public event, Mrs. Stout listened as Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff, brought 1,400 people to their feet with a speech about confronting a despotic federal government. Mrs. Stout said she felt as if she had been handed a road map to rebellion.

And when you have highly visible media darlings (Beck) or elected officials with the non-stop ranting.  IF YOU LISTEN TO ME AND REPEAT WHAT I SAY PEOPLE WILL THINK YOU ARE SMART AND PATRIOTIC AND COOL! RED DAWN IS COMING! SOCIALISM IS GOING TO GAY MARRY YOUR GRANDMOTHER TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS! GET READY TO SHOOT YOUR GUN BECAUSE THAT IS A SUPER COOL WAY TO BEHAVE AND TOTALLY JUSTIFIED BY THE CONSTITUTION AND WARRANTED BY THE FACTS! So is it really any surprise when people actually *believe* that Red Dawn is coming and they need to stockpile the weapons and canned goods? Or worse still, they believe based on what they have been told by these “authority” figures that it is perfectly acceptable to threaten violence against elected officials?

One local group represented at Liberty Lake was Arm in Arm, which aims to organize neighborhoods for possible civil strife by stockpiling food and survival gear, and forming armed neighborhood groups.

Also represented was Oath Keepers, whose members call themselves “guardians of the Republic.” Oath Keepers recruits military and law enforcement officials who are asked to disobey orders the group deems unconstitutional. These include orders to conduct warrantless searches, arrest Americans as unlawful enemy combatants or force civilians into “any form of detention camps.”

Gazing out at his overwhelmingly white audience, Mr. Mack felt the need to say, “This meeting is not racist.” Nor, he said, was it a call to insurrection. What is needed, he said, is “a whole army of sheriffs” marching on Washington to deliver an unambiguous warning: “Any violation of the Constitution we will consider a criminal offense.”

The crowd roared.

Not long ago, Mrs. Stout sent an e-mail message to her members under the subject line: “Revolution.” It linked to an article by Greg Evensen, a leader in the militia movement, titled “The Anatomy of an American Revolution,” that listed “grievances” he said “would justify a declaration of war against any criminal enterprise including that which is killing our nation from Washington, D.C.”

Mrs. Stout said she has begun to contemplate the possibility of “another civil war.” It is her deepest fear, she said. Yet she believes the stakes are that high. Basic freedoms are threatened, she said. Economic collapse, food shortages and civil unrest all seem imminent.

“I don’t see us being the ones to start it, but I would give up my life for my country,” Mrs. Stout said. She paused, considering her next words. “Peaceful means,” she continued, “are the best way of going about it. But sometimes you are not given a choice.”

Now, I will admit that I am not above mocking individual TEAbaggers, whether it be for their signage or their bigotry or whatever, but I have said all along that they are inexcusably being led to this insanity. My biggest problems with these shenanigoats are the irresponsible greedy fuckos who fan this crazy for their own commercial gain.

And don’t think for a second that what they are doing isn’t serious and seriously scary. In case you are not convinced, let me end with this quote:

As the [TEA] meeting ended, Carolyn L. Whaley, 76, held up her copy of the Constitution. She carries it everywhere, she explained, and she was prepared to lay down her life to protect it from the likes of Mr. Obama.  “I would not hesitate,” she said, perfectly calm.

You Misspelled "Glenn Beck"

Advertisements

22 Comments

  1. Laci the Dog said,

    February 16, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    I have made the comment that the defenders of the constitution need to bone up on what it is they are purporting to defend: in particular Article III, Section iii. It is interesting how they can reconcile that and the insurrection theory of the Second Amendment. How can it be that the Constitution makes it a crime to wage war against the US government, yet the Second Amendment provides you with arms to wage war on the tyrannical US government?

    I would like to think this is a sick aberration that these viewpoints can be allowed to exist unchallenged, yet they do. Worse, the believers become even firmer in their belief that they are correct when they are challenged.

  2. Lori Ann Manis said,

    February 16, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    if these people had ever seriously read Ayn Rand, they’d know that her politics did not include rewards for the unemployed or otherwise poor. I’m thinking as far as she was concerned, if you don’t rise to the top naturally, you might as well just die and decrease the surplus population.

  3. February 16, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    It seems to be a lot of anger in search of a cause. And a Democratic president, a black one at that, seems to be as good a target as any for these people to focus their rage on. These people are easily mocked, but should not be taken lightly as they are angry, paranoid and heavily armed.

  4. southern female lawyer said,

    February 16, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Laci – the problem comes when people look to the Constitution for support an already-held belief. Doesn’t really work that way. Also, I think there is a large number of people who are WAY too obsessed with Red Dawn. And not in the good way, like me.

    Lori Ann – the Rand thing just boggles the mind. People *really* want to feel special and important and some weird narcissism prevents them from understanding that they are no Randian hero. As far as I am concerned, Ayn Rand is for dudes in that loonnng sad and angry time period between D&D and touching real boobies. Wank fodder for immature boys who really aren’t that smart or talented but nonetheless believe they are owed all the riches of the world and hate everyone else for not recognizing how importantly awesome they are and letting them touch whatever boobies they want.

  5. southern female lawyer said,

    February 16, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    Prof Chaos – you hit the nail on the head. Railing about “socalisum” and whatnot is one thing; stating your desire to die in order to keep Obama from defiling the Constitution? Seriously – WTF?!?

  6. Teabagger1 said,

    February 17, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Prof – the anger you speak of has been festering like a pimple on the nose of this society since the Patriot Act passed.

    The Teabaggery is about the lack of representation of the 48% of America that didn’t vote DEM in the last election. No where does the word Democracy appear in the Constitution, yet that is exactly the form of government we have devolved into. To the winner go the spoils seems to be the mantra of those in power. There should be civil dialog on key issues like Cap & Trade or Healthcare Reform; instead we have lawmakers hell bent to pass something because they feel it is in the people’s best interest. Sen Feingold publicly states he will vary from the constituents wishes if he feels its in their best interest. That is not representation that is tyranny.

    If you can’t understand this. You will never understand the Teabaggery.

  7. OriginalThoughtsNot said,

    February 17, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Wow, this is original. Using Google Alerts, you are the 8th person to write a nearly identical piece with the same quotes, and lots of the same paragraphs. At least you did include a few original thoughts while some of the others didn’t. But, it’s still a rehash of the NYT article. Nice blogging.

  8. Sydneysider said,

    February 17, 2010 at 5:26 am

    The blatant contradictions throughout their remarks are painfully funny – funny tempered with fear of armed, angry and paranoid people. It’s not an insurrection, but our army is going to march to the capital? Umm…

    And I can’t actually believe that Bleckness the Great Instigator is having them read George Orwell. Ayn Rand, sure – but Orwell, who was a democratic socialist? That name…it does not mean what you think it means, Bleckness.

  9. The Queen said,

    February 17, 2010 at 7:13 am

    The fact that these people sat back and watched while George W. Bush did more to destroy actual civil liberties than any president before him is what gets me. How can you claim that you’re for freedom, less government intrusion, etc. if you voted for the Patriot Act? How can you read 1984 and NOT see the parallels? The name is even doublespeak.

    And yeah, if you’re on Medicare/Medicaid, then your medical records are probably being provided to Federal Bureaucrats – the ones who make sure that your doctor gets paid for your health care, and the ones who make sure that any private insurance you might have kicks in what it’s supposed to kick in. You know, those people who make the system work (to the extent it does).

  10. February 17, 2010 at 8:10 am

    […] The Southern Female Lawyer would like to know what the Tea Party actually stands for. She has a few ideas. […]

  11. southern female lawyer said,

    February 17, 2010 at 10:35 am

    (1). The US is not a democracy. It is a representative democracy/constitutional republic. Pretty different. And our election of the President is done in strict accordance with the Constitution. Likewise, the election of Congress is both a per capita representation and a sovereign state representation.

    (2). Falling outside of the majority vote does not mean that you are subject to tyranny. You are represented, you just didn’t get to be represented by your candidate.

    (3). What civil dialogue? Just because you haven’t been listening, that doesn’t mean that these have not been in discussion for years. Likewise, just because you do not get your way, that does not mean that government is riding roughshod over your rights.

    This is what I understand. I understand that a large number of people, who have been happy with the ‘majority rule’ approach until now, suddenly think it is utterly flawed simply because they are no longer in the majority. They believe that they are experiencing tyranny because they don’t control the shots anymore.

    I understand that people are demanding “civil dialogue” after shouting down and shutting down town hall meetings. I also understand that “civil dialogue” is only civil if the person demanding it walks away satisfied. But if that person won’t even come to the table, no dialogue can be had.

    I understand that many people have been duped by special interests and corporations into thinking that it is “tyranny” to regulate business.

    But no, I don’t understand TEAbaggery.

  12. Robert Feeley said,

    February 17, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I like your blog!

    New information on Obama’s conception:

    http://stupidassnews.wordpress.com/2010/02/17/witness-obama-was-conceived-in-u-s/

    Have a great day! 🙂

  13. February 18, 2010 at 3:04 am

    The Teabaggery is about the lack of representation of the 48% of America that didn’t vote DEM in the last election.

    Sorry, no dice. That your chosen candidate did not win does not invalidate the election – I said the same thing to angry Democrats during the Bush years: you may not like the President, but he’s still the President.

  14. February 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    This blog post is pretty brilliant, however, the most brilliant statement is your comment on Ayn Rand. That alone deserves a ham of excellence.

  15. mike said,

    March 11, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    And yes, after much internal debate, I have decided to refer collectively to the whole lot (lot = [Teabaggers disgruntled Libertarians self-proclaimed patriots angry mob Glenn Beck followers Crazy Palin Supporters Oath Keepers John Birch Society New Minutemen Ayn Rand Wankers TEA movement thing]) as TEAbaggery.

    Sounds like you’re engaging in quite a bit of sensationalized generalizations and bigotry yourself.

  16. mike said,

    March 11, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    As far as I am concerned, Ayn Rand is for dudes in that loonnng sad and angry time period between D&D and touching real boobies. Wank fodder for immature boys who really aren’t that smart or talented but nonetheless believe they are owed all the riches of the world and hate everyone else for recognizing how importantly awesome they are and letting them touch whatever boobies they want.

    Such an intelligent, well-reasoned discussion of Randian objectivism. Also very “tolerant” and “progressive” of you.

  17. March 12, 2010 at 6:28 am

    Such an intelligent, well-reasoned discussion of Randian objectivism. Also very “tolerant” and “progressive” of you.

    Sounds pretty accurate. All political theory is mental masturbation to some extent, but in that matrix, Randian thought is hanging from a door knob with a belt around your neck, an orange in your mouth and a plastic bag over your head.

    It’s as utterly divorced from reality and political nuance as it could be without actually including unicorns.

  18. southern female lawyer said,

    March 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Well, Mike, it seems pretty clear that I wasn’t discussing Randian objectivism. I was writing about the Randroids who cling to Rand in a desperate attempt to justify their existence in general and hurt feelings in the specific. But I can see why you might be confused. It is only normal that you would feel confused, afraid, and yes, even threatened when faced with my vast intellect and awesome superiority. But don’t fret – for when I ascend to my rightful position of power and wealth in the Randian onanocracy, you will understand and appreciate your place.

    Also, I *heart* unicorns.

  19. mike said,

    March 16, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    Well, Mike, it seems pretty clear that I wasn’t discussing Randian objectivism. I was writing about the Randroids who cling to Rand in a desperate attempt to justify their existence in general and hurt feelings in the specific.

    Hence my comment about you being so “tolerant” and “progressive.”

  20. southern female lawyer said,

    March 17, 2010 at 9:26 am

    Oooooh – snap! Damn you mike, and your sneaky ‘gotcha’ comments. Yes, your assertion that I am intolerant and regressive because I am mocking Randriods is an utterly fatal blow to my advocacy of progressive principals.

    Clearly you have proven that ALL progressive arguments must all fail because sarcasm exists. Or perhaps you have proven that Ayn Rand is infallible because people that mock her followers are just jealous.

    Actually, I don’t know WHAT you are trying to prove. That I am a sarcastic bitch who blogs to vent steam? I think that is pretty clear. What I am more interested in is how you think that my being a sarcastic bitch somehow negates my arguments in favor of progressive politics.

    As mike apparently forgets what he reads from one blog to another, I shall paraphrase what I wrote on SoBe’s blog.

    I love it when people who despise liberals clutch their pearls, point their fingers, and scream “HYPOCRITE!!!” as if a liberal who expresses dislike or yes, even hate, for a specific person or view point has utterly burned their politi-social philosophy to the ground.

    Wrap your mind around this: I can and will point out, mock, and condemn intolerance, hatred, bigotry when those in question are advocating for the infringement of basic human rights of a particular subset of people just because they do not like their color, religion, gender, sex, etc.

    In doing so, I do not somehow waive the right to ever express any anger or hate. I am not barred from refusing to tolerate bigotry. I do not have to “love” every action that every human takes. And under NO circumstances am I obligated to tolerate intolerance.

    Because – and follow this closely – I do not believe that anyone has the right to take/keep basic rights from others because they do not like that person’s color, religion, etc. And I am under NO obligation to “tolerate” anyone’s desire to do so. And yes, I am fully entitled to “hate” things that are evil and fundamentally offensive.

    Just because some people like to fan their egos with the notion that conservatives are strong, brave patriots whereas liberals are pansy-assed weaklings who preach love and tolerance, that does not mean that this is reality.

    In fact, I would suggest it is a false narrative that certain people tell themselves in order to justify stances/opinions that they know are morally wrong.

    And mike – I feel compelled to tell you that I do not think that you are helping *your* cause at all. The best way to get people to understand and support your cause is to find common ground. You, however, are intent on alienating people and seem more concerned with high-fiving in your own “echo chambers” and patting yourself on the back for “exposing” whatever rather than actually proving a point. Not helping.

    We can and have engaged in some really fine discussions on actual issues before. You know the right way to enter a discussion. And you know the difference between solo/group vent and open discourse. I don’t go around commenting on posts where there is clearly no chance for discussion. And no, just because someone posts something on the webs that does not mean that they are inviting you to discuss the issue.

    Seriously – you know all these things.

    So why be a jackass? Why comment on posts that clearly group/solo vent? What do you actually think you are going to accomplish? Some epic takedown? You have to know that this makes your arguments less palatable all around and makes people far less inclined to read your comments in a vacuum.

    Seems to me if you were actually trying to persuade people to change their minds on your issues, you would spend more time informing, educating, and discussing and less time trolling for insult. Just a thought.

    But hey – for all I know, you spend your IRL time on discussion panels and writing thoughtful articles on your issues and just come to the interwebs to let off steam.

  21. mike w. said,

    April 29, 2010 at 10:05 am

    ^ Re the above comment. You might want to take your own advice. The projection is astounding!

    They believe that they are experiencing tyranny because they don’t control the shots anymore.

    This just shows how little you understand the TPM SFL.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: