Thursday, September 17, 2009



I’ve just been led to this site, which we’ll call “LATFT” for short — it stands for “Look At This Teabagger”[1], and it’s a site full of photos of “Tea Party” protestors and their signs.

Of course, as this is a view of how the other half protests, those of my political persuasion will think them loony, loopy, and ludicrous — not to mention paranoid, because it doesn’t alliterate with the others — and will apply the f-shaped obscene participle to them. But there really is more to it than that.

Look at the pictures, and look at other pictures of last Saturday’s Tea-Party march on Washington. These are people sporting treasonous emblems (Confederate flags); asserting their rights not just to own guns, not just to carry guns, but to threaten people with guns; and saying completely wacky things that have no basis in reality.

My favourite bit in that last regard is their fuming about the “czars” that our current, Nazi president has appointed. They worry that we’re creating real czars in this country — in the true sense of kings, emperors. Some say “More Czars than the U.S.S.R.” Well, that wouldn’t be hard: they had no czars in the U.S.S.R.: part of the point of the Russian revolution that created the U.S.S.R. was to depose them. One sign says that czars are Russian kings, and adds that “Jesus is my king.” They worry that they don’t know who these czars are responsible to, and what power they have.

But they’re serious about this idiocy. They actually, truly don’t seem to get that “czar”, here, is a title used metaphorically, and that no one has created any kings in the U.S. government. They don’t get that the first use of that title was in the Reagan administration, and that George Bush appointed several. They don’t get that these “czars” act as presidential advisors, and have no power beyond that. These czars will not be dismissing congress and starting systematic executions.

Their signs say that “Obama is the Anti-Christ”. They depict the president with Negro caricatures, and with a Hitler mustache. When they’re not calling him a Nazi (or a “Natzy”) they’re calling him a Fascist, a Communist, a Marxist, or a Socialist. (Hm, which is it? They think they’re all the same.) They threaten civil war; they say they came unarmed “this time.”

And now here’s the funny part:

They’re implying that President Obama will preside over “1984”, a totalitarian state in which the government conducted unreasonable surveillance and exerted complete control over the populace. They quote Ronald Reagan as saying, “Man is not free unless government is limited.” They say they will defend the constitution “by any means necessary.”

So, to paraphrase Barney Frank, “On what planet did they spend the previous eight years?” Who was defending the constitution then? Who was defending free people against unlimited government and unfettered surveillance then?

Not the Teabaggers; they were happy. Go figure.

[1] In much the same way as “RTFM” stands for “Read The Manual”.


Ray said...

All this protest is beyond my comprehension. I think what astonished me the most was watching a video clip where Al Franken was explaining to a group of people at a fair in Minnesota what he wanted to see happen with health care coverage in the US. He was directing his comments at one woman in particular, who was strident in her opposition to, well, apparently any change whatsoever to the current system.

Senator Franken patiently explained that the current system allows health insurance companies to drop you for any (or no) reason, to refuse coverage, to increase your rates and deductibles, to dictate what treatment you could (or more likely, could not) have, and so on.

He went on to explain that he was against such practices, and aimed to make them illegal. As soon as he said this, the woman began shaking her head in disagreement. I could barely believe what I was seeing, that someone could evidently hear a reasonable and rational argument for something that would obviously be of benefit to her, and yet disagree with it.

It wasn't too long after I moved to the US in 1990 that I concluded a large segment of the population was brainwashed. Recent occurrences have merely served to bolster that conclusion - actually to amplify it a hundred-fold! And now, not only are they brainwashed, they are utterly ignorant to boot, so much so that they laud ignorance, especially willful ignorance, and seem to live in a world consisting of sound bites. Anything more than that is beyond their ability (or willingness) to grasp.

Ray said...

I think this sentence from Robert Reich's most recent blog posting just about sums up the depths to which the Republican party has sunk:

Pelosi knows she can't get a single Republican vote, so has to count on the support of at least 218 out of 256 Democrats.

Not even a SINGLE Republican politician has the guts, not to mention decency, to stand behind a bill to provide a benefit that really ought to be a right? They would deny to all of us the benefit which they themselves already have. I can't find words strong enough to describe it.

Barry Leiba said...

Yes: what bothers me the most about how the legislators are handling the partisan aspects of the health-care reform thing is that one side is willing to screw the entire American public out of a reasonable health-insurance plan purely to stick it to President Obama.

I honestly think that such an approach should actually be considered criminal. Not just "the voters will toss you out in the next election," but "your sorry ass goes to prison." It's a form of malpractice, or even fraud.

scouter573 said...

Well done - you covered the space well. The one observation I add is that many of the protesters are clearly qualified for Medicare based on age, and sporadic interviews tend to support this (albeit in the "men are happier than women" sense of your more recent posting). So now that the object to socialized medicine as proposed by the natzy president-in-fake, they also object to you doing ANYTHING to disrupt their Medicare.

Further, there was one woman who was interviewed who absolutely, adamantly wanted the government out of her life. I assume by this that she wants those vile food inspectors, drug verifiers, road builders, park providers, and emergency 911 providers out of her life. Good luck with that. It's rather quaint to note that one of the Congressmen involved wrote a letter to the DC Metro transit organization complaining that the government-supplied mass transit of DC Metro failed to put enough trains on duty to handle the crowds and people were forced - forced, I say - to use alternatives such as private cabs.

No, these are the people who have made up their minds and will not be swayed by mere facts. They are the political Luddites of our age. Change is bad and you aren't going to do it. No way. So there.

As with Ray's observation about the dysfunctional, demagogic Republican Party, one must simply listen politely (because they are human beings), then get on with making life better. Change we can believe in.