On April 15th some people who identified themselves as Tea Party members gathered in Portland Oregon.
They were opposed by counter protestors: (WARNING: graphic language and obscene gestures)
In Madison, Wisconsin on April 16th anti-Tea Party protestors booed during the singing of the National Anthem….until it seems they finally figured out what was happening. They then joined in. Disrespectful? Read the article and watch the video yourself and decide for yourself.
Also on April 16th a 14 year old was called an obscene name, booed, and faced with people ringing bells and children beating drums when she tried to speak.
At the same event, Sarah Palin was faced with taunting and chanting when she gave a speech in Madison. Among the comments made by the union protestors was:
Kathy Abel, a 51-year-old nurse from Madison, held a sign that said, “I hated Sarah Palin before it was cool” and wore a button that read: “Proud to be a union thug.”
“They make me giggle,” Abel said of the tea partyers. “Their values are so topsy-turvy. They had to come because this is where it’s happening. This is the flashpoint for democracy.”
Well, there is a point on which I would agree! This IS what democracy looks like….MOB RULE. Which is why our Founders rejected democracy and adopted instead a Constitutional Republic.
More to the point, however, is why do these people have such irrational fears of people with an opposing view? Even more to the point why do they hate them so much? This seems to me to be a phobia; an irrational fear.
To explore this further I’d like to share something I wrote in August of 2010 at another site, which I include in part for you below:
The title link will take you to an interesting article: So You Want to Join the Tea Party?” It’s one of many out there, but I liked it because it gives you a flavor of the different kinds of people who found themselves at a Tea Party rally. As I pointed out in an earlier post, there is “rhetoric” (or maybe to be more accurate, “propaganda”) flying around that is meant to minimize, demonize, and, in some cases, silence the people who are self-identified with these movements.
I’ve attended Tea Party rallies twice now. The first time was because I believed that our government representatives were not adhering to the principles that have made this country great. I also believed that if we abandoned those principles and fail to remain vigilant and vocal that we would lose our cherished freedoms and liberty. I have to add, though, that it was not me I was necessarily worried about. It was my children. What kind of circumstances would they have in order to pursue their happiness?
And what was the result? I’ve been referred to as a “teabagger” (warning: definition is quite graphic) and called a “racist, straight up” by Janeane Garofalo. I think some of her statements qualify her for a diagnosis of “teapartyphobia.” What really frightens me, though, is her neuroscientific claim that “those people’s limbic brain is pressing against their frontal lobes….”
That coupled with a bumper sticker I saw about a year ago that said: “Frontal lobotomies for all Republicans: it’s the law” makes me even more frightened. Yeah, you could get a laugh out of that; call it comic relief, but I don’t really think it is funny.
At some point, though, you need to decide what your real world experiences tell you. Any of you who know me at all know in your heart that I am not racist, I am not violent, and I strive to be an honest and honorable person. Straight up, that’s who I am and so are many other “tea party” members. Are there “bad” people involved in this movement. Yes. Are there “bad” people in every group of people on the face of the earth? Yes. Generalizing about any “group” of people is, to me, a form of racism.
In the Geography of Bliss, Eric Weiner travels the world to find the happiest countries. He makes the statement on page 252 that: “…let’s not forget that the government is already in the happiness business…….Besides, what is the role of government if not to make citizens happier?” Earlier in the book he makes a comment to the effect that “happiness” is in our founding documents.
I disagree and this is where the need to “define the terms” becomes important. We need to be speaking the same language. Our government is not set up to guarantee happiness or success, but it is set up to create the best possible environment for everyone to succeed. Equal chances and opportunities, not a guarantee of equal results.
If you find racist elements in tea party groups it does not mean everyone is. A generalization like that does not benefit anyone. If you have a phobia; an “irrational fear” of something or a specific group of people then the cure is to find out why your fears are not rational. We only get to do this if we talk to each other about the “hard stuff” and do it in a way that we actually hear and understand each other.
My purpose in sharing this here is to ask you to look closely at what each “side” of this argument wants. Look closely at their world view, their values and principles and look closely at their actions. The obscenities, the mob-mentality that makes it okay to call a child an “f-ing brat,” the lowering of civility and respect that makes it acceptable to say that you do something obscene with our flag and the overall attempt to silence ANYONE who disagrees is not what will help us find the answers. It will only lead us to more problems and instability.
UPDATE: This came to my attention after I published this post…wanted you to see it:
16 year old explains what the Tea Party is all about
Finally I leave you with this thought that George Washington stated in his farewell address in 1796:
The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty.