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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Just in case you're wondering


The public behavior of those who call themselves 'Teabaggers' has engendered sad shakes of the head from both sides of the political aisle.

Watching them reminds me of some of the comments I read on some of the so-called orthodox blogs in Anglicanland - or some of the 'anonymous' comments I've been getting of late.

I mean, where do these people come from? Not any corner of any neighborhood in America I know - or known to many people.

You know, you can think what you like about 'diversity', feel uncomfortable if you have to about 'multiculturalism' and completely reject the idea of 'pluraform truths', but the First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly do not give anyone license to spit on politicians, use racial epithets and slur LGBT people as a form of protest.

Actually, I'm no historian, but I do believe that the First Amendment was predicated on the assumption that one had a brain in one's head.

Well, as Forest Gump would say, "Stupid is as stupid does." It also tends to "follow the leader."

So, just in case you were wondering how this bad behavior persists, here's a Republican leader setting the stage for the backlash on Health Care Reform. I'm hoping this video goes viral. The dignity of the first message juxtaposed with the idiocy of the second is, I think, quite powerful.

I know. I know. Nothing will stop them. They are too blinded by anger and prejudice and bigotry to be able to see that they are not only an embarrassment to themselves, they are, have been, and will be utterly ineffective.

All we can do sometimes is hold up a mirror and let them see how they look to others. Shining a big old flashlight on bigots has always caused them to scatter back into the darkness.

Until the next time.

A luta continua

13 comments:

Lapinbizarre said...

Not a little ironic that the most unhinged teabagger action to date - far worse to come, make no mistake - originated with the group's Lynchburg VA chapter. Better name The Lynch Mob?

Two Auntees said...

Sadly we live among them. All of us. They maybe a neighbor, someone in our church or even in our family. We went to one of the town hall meetings on health care our Representative held. The lack of respect for others was appalling. A retired military African American gentleman stood to speak. He started his statement with a comment on how our Commander in Chief deserved a certain amount of respect because of his position. The response was immediate, loud and harsh......even booing by people old enough to know better. It was embarrassing! He was sitting behind us and I stopped him and apologized before he left.

The Senate had a strict sense of decorum at one time. What happened to that? A "hell, no you can't" in the Senate at one time would have been the ultimate in inappropriate behavior.

Adults yelling racist and homophobic words at a person should be totally unacceptable behavior. Spitting on someone! Come on, we are no longer in kindergarten. And yet we live among them.

How do you teach adults how to show respect to each other? How do you encourage appropriate behavior in the climate in which we currently live?

Mary Sue said...

I think your understanding of the First Amendment's a little off. The best explanation of it ever is this five minute clip from the film "The American President".

And I'm saying this as someone who dropped out of law school when I was specializing in Constitutional Law.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

I watched the clip, Mary, thanks. I don't think anything in Hollywood's version precludes the idea that the First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly do not give anyone license to spit on politicians, use racial epithets and slur LGBT people as a form of protest.

Indeed, the man who spat on the senator last week end was, in fact, arrested.

You may be right about the use of racial epithets and LGBT slurs. One would think that common courtesy was assumed by the writers of the First Amendment.

Then again, I could be wrong.

Hiram said...

Those whom you are calling "teabaggers" actually call themselves "Tea Partiers." I think your term came from someone on the left. Their idea (I am not identifying myself as a Tea Partier) is that it is time to do what was done in the 1775 "Boston Tea Party" and declare independence from overbearing rulers.

I agree very strongly that shouting "Hell, no, you can't" was improper, and that the insults and spitting were dead wrong.

I seem to remember, however, that during the Viet Nam protests, the leftist did not exactly comport themselves with decorum, often shouting down speakers and spitting on soldiers returning from SE Asia.

Our society as a whole has become much more rancorous and ill-mannered. I would have hoped that the conservatives would have remained conservative in behavior. Maybe they learned things from the protesters of the 70's that they should have ignored.

suzanne said...

To help this video go viral, put it on FB why doncha.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Well, Hiram, I suppose you might say that, for some conservatives, this is war, but the truth is, that's as much hyperbole as most of the rest of what comes out of Teabaggers or Tea Party people's mouths.

I'm not defending the actions of those on the Left during the Viet Nam war. But I think it's fair to say that it's Apples and Spaghetti, Hiram.

There is NO EXCUSE, none whatsoever, for the behavior we've seen. The worst part is that, not only are conservatives not calling those on the Right into accountability, they are leading the way.

My grandmother always said, "You never make yourself look good by trying to make someone else look bad."

She was a registered Democrat and voted in every election.

Hiram said...

No, there is indeed no excuse for such barbaric behavior, and my earlier comment could be taken as, "Well, you liberals started it."

The fact is, our society is much coarser than it once was. VP Biden's remarks at the podium the other day are a case in point.

I am putting a link to a video of bad behavior in Boston last spring on my blog. No spitting, but a lot of rudeness.

MarkBrunson said...

I'm all for letting them speak, just not carry weapons. They're dangerous and violent animals.

VTcrone said...

"Tea Partiers" do not like to be referred to as "Teabaggers" because it is a slang term for a sexual act. (Google it.) However, given the way the majority of them behave, signs and all,I as a senior citizen will continue to refer to them as teabaggers.
I did put this video up on my Facebook page, and Lawrence O'Donnell, who is covering for Keith Olbermann on "Countdown" this week, played the video in its entirety at the end of Wed. night's show.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Hiram - I've seen that video (you didn't post it) and you're right, there is no excuse for rudeness.

My point is about the ADULTS - especially in their more "mature years" but most especially those elected to public office - who not only engage but encourage this kind of behavior.

The leadership of the Republican party has every right to protest - and they can certainly be rude if they choose to. Fear mongering and inciting to near riot is quite another thing. It is driven by racism and tribalism and it is odious and dangerous. I really wish some one from the Republican party would speak out about this and call for civil discourse.

It is inexcusable.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

VT Crone - I do believe the Tea Party folk started calling themselves Teabagger but have been backpeddling from that term b/c Rachel Maddow exposed the connection with the vulgar sexual act.

Too late.

Elizabeth Kaeton said...

Monroe - I never take dares from cowards. Go ahead, then. Pick your teeth.