Monday, September 20, 2010

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Teabaggers2 Most teabaggin' folks I encounter online seem to react badly to a few things. First is being called a teabagger, although they were the ones who started calling themselves that before someone informed them of the meaning that most of the rest of us already knew about. Second is being called a racist. As Bill Maher said, "There are two things that teabaggers hate. One is being called a racist. The second is black people." Ha!

Another thing I've noticed they don't like is someone saying that they're overly concerned about social issues or value judgments. "Oh no," they protest, "our main concern is with big government and out-of-control spending! That is what we're all about!"

I think we can put that little delusion to rest right now. Over the weekend, the Family Research Council held their Values Voters Summit. I understand that this was not a Tea Party-sponsored event, but virtually every speaker was kissing some major teabagger ass, so to speak. Many of them mentioned the Tea Party, and teabaggin'-talk abounded. Make no mistake about it. The teabaggers are firmly committed to values voting and social issues. Check it out.

Newt Gingrich:

On the one front, we have a secular socialist machine led by Obama, Pelosi and Reid. And on the other front, we have radical Islamists who would fundamentally change this country into a system none of us in this room would recognize.

This is not about religious liberty, if they want to build that mosque in the South Bronx, frankly they need the jobs. But I am totally opposed to any effort to impose Sharia on the United States, and we should have a federal law that says under no circumstance, in any jurisdiction in the United States, will Sharia be used in any court to apply to any judgment made about American law.

Actually, Newt, there already is a federal law on the books that prohibits the government from promoting Sharia law, or any other religious law. It's called the First Amendment.

Sen. Jim DeMint:

There is a relationship, and I think there is a strong faith component in the Tea Party movement. But it's very different than what I've seen before or of things like the Moral Majority. They're not pushing religion. They're not even pushing morality. They just consider bankruptcy as a moral issue.

They are most definitely pushing religion and their definition of morality. And bankruptcy is a moral issue? I know there are some people that overspend and live beyond their means. But 60% of bankruptcies in this country are due to medical bills. I've had relatives who were brought to that point because of their medical bills. DeMint and his cronies are once again painting those who declare bankruptcy or draw unemployment or get food stamps and welfare as lazy and devoid of morals.

Teabaggers3 More DeMint:

We know what’s happening in this country. We know that this idea that you need to separate your politics from your religion and from your values and from your economics, it just doesn’t work because America is the most prosperous, the most compassionate, the strongest nation in the history of the world because it rests on a set of principles that sit on a foundation of Judeo-Christian values.

Think about what Judeo-Christian values do in that environment. The people that believe that they’re accountable to God, and because of that, they’re honest. They have integrity. They care about others. They practice charity. They’re volunteers. They have a strong work ethic. They’re not only self-controlled and responsible for themselves, but they feel a responsibility for those around them. They’re committed to marriage and family and their church.

Think about a nation where millions of people are like that. They don’t need a big government to control them. These are the people that build our community and build our strength and have the vision for what works in our country. But think about a culture that doesn’t have the values, the restraint of being accountable to God.

We see it all over the world. We don’t have to guess at what it looks like, where your economy works with bribes and corruption. Your politics is completely corrupt because the people have no values and morals. And then you need a bigger and bigger government to control a violent people, a violent and disruptive people.

This is such a huge steaming pile of bullshit that it's difficult to address it all. Let's just say that I know plenty of non-religious people who have integrity and have a strong work ethic, who volunteer and help others, not because they fear the punishment of God, but because it's a good thing to help your fellow human being and your community. I would also like to mention a few "men of God": Jim and Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, Ted Haggard, Benny Hinn, Paul and Jan Crouch...need I go on?

Sen. Jim Inhofe:

I didn't think it'd work at that time, but it did. It was called Don't Ask, Don't Tell. And some of you - if you are gay and you want to serve in the military, they don't ask you about it, you don't tell it, you're not doing it openly so that the problems that we all know about. And I think that they mentioned it in my introduction that I was an Army veteran, and I think any of the veterans in this room - I don't have to tell you the problems that would happen if you have an open gay situation there, where it allows people to use the military as a forum for their liberal agenda.

A forum for their liberal agenda? Oh, you mean gays who sign up for our volunteer military and go overseas to fight and die for their country? Is that the liberal agenda you're talking about, Jimmeh?

This from an NPR reporter interviewing a summit attendee:

Mr. Todd Dexter: I think the truth is, these people care very deeply about pro-life issues, care very deeply about the sanctity of marriage and kind of the moral values that we believe are the foundation of our country.

Reporter: You mean the Tea Party believes that?

Mr. Dexter: I believe so. I believe many do. It may not always be the official position. But those who go to those rallies, they very much embrace that.

Reporter: Dexter has attended Tea Party events. Pollsters bear out his assertion that no matter what slogans the Tea Party vocalizes, a large majority of their members happen to be anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage.

Former Senator and Internet sensation Rick Santorum:

And what is necessary in our society if we are to be free? Well, our founders had it right. John Adams said, our constitution is made – our constitution is made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the governance of any other. You see, we can only be free as long as we are virtuous. And we can only be virtuous as look as there are vibrant faiths in the public square.

Go into the neighborhoods in America where there is a lack of virtue. What will you find? Two things. You will find no families, no mothers and fathers together in marriage and you will find government everywhere. Police, social service agencies, why? Because without faith, family and virtue, government takes over.

I would like to know his definitions of morality and virtue. Apparently it does not include anyone who is not religious, and it does not include single parents. And darn those pesky police and social services meddling in the people's business!

Batshit crazy Rep. Michele Bachmann:

I think the one thing that these high-and-mighty types, part of the ruling class here in Washington, D.C., just don’t seem to understand – they live at the wine-and-cheese parties, you know, here in D.C. As for me, I prefer tea parties, just so you know.

No social agenda in that quote, but it shows her embrace of the teabaggers. It also highlights a recurrent theme in this summit, the "Washington elites," the "high-and-mighty types," attendin' their wine and cheese parties, actin' all high-falutin' and fancy. Like an education is a bad thing. I suppose for some of these people it is, because it makes them realize their inadequacies. That's one of the worst things, in my opinion, to have come out of this peculiar movement: the idea that it's a bad thing to be an intellectual, or to rely on logic and education rather than instincts and a religious text.

Mike Huckabee:

The basic idea is that there is no such thing as a person who is more valuable than another, that all of us have the same intrinsic worth. that no person is worth more because of his last name, or land ownership, or occupation, or who his father was or grandfather was. Or what city he came from, or what color he is, or what gender he or she may be.

We know that every life is important before God and to each other. And we know that marriage matters. We know that marriage hasn't changed, that it still means what it means.

Note the glaring omission of sexual orientation. In the Huckster's world, I guess there are no homosexuals, and if there are, they aren't deserving of the same rights, and they don't have the same "intrinsic worth" as the rest of us.

Then there is Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, who won the straw poll for the Republican nominee in 2012:

A political party that would govern this great nation must be able to handle more than one issue at a time. We must focus on our fiscal crisis and support our troops. We must work to create jobs and protect innocent human life and defend traditional marriage. To those who say that marriage is not relevant to our budget crisis, I say you would not be able to print enough money in a thousand years to pay for the government that you would need if the family continues to collapse.

To those who say we should focus on cutting spending, I say, okay. Let’s start by denying all federal funding for abortion at home and abroad. You want to find savings? Let's cut funding to research that destroys human embryos in the name of science and let’s deny any and all funding to Planned Parenthood of America.

That is all horrible, but I find his desire to end funding for Planned Parenthood especially egregious. The vast majority of clinics do not perform abortions; Planned Parenthood provides basic health care including Pap smears and family planning for millions of women. It also works hard to educate young women about birth control and STI prevention. Calling for no funds for Planned Parenthood is like throwing the baby out with the bath water. So to speak.

As if all of these things didn't make it clear that the teabaggers are all about the social issues, not just about being anti-government, part of the straw poll included a question about what issue is most important to them:

  1. Abortion
  2. Government spending
  3. Repeal of “Obamacare”
  4. Protection of religious liberty
  5. National Security

Teabaggers Vegas I think that says it all right there. I also wonder why "protection of religious liberty" is in the top five. No one--no one--is trying to stop anyone from worshiping the way they wish to. Unless it's these people who would stop a cultural center being built a couple of blocks away from the Ground Zero site because someone of a different religion is building it. Keeping this group's fundamental religious beliefs--I'm talking about the teabaggers here--out of our government does not constitute persecution. They do not get to dictate what the rest of us must believe. They do not get to legislate based on the ten commandments or anything else in the Bible. They do not get to decide what is moral and what isn't, based upon their religious beliefs.

This reminds me of Jerry Falwell's creation of the Moral Majority in the '80's, and Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition in the '90's. There is nothing wrong with anyone and everyone getting involved in politics, but these groups would insert their religion into the political landscape, and I have a problem with that. Their religion is not everyone's religion. They cannot and must not speak for all in this country. We've been through this before; they are offering nothing new.

For any teabagger who says it's not about religion and social issues, that it's all about economics...I beg to differ. The GOP is obviously courting the teabaggers, and in the process, they are taking us back to the culture wars of the '80s and '90s. The problem is that they would be the deciders on everyone's morality, not just their own.

This country is no longer the domain of rich white Republican men. We are a diverse nation, and will not and cannot return to how these people would define us. We are more than that, much more. I don't want these teabaggers running my country and discriminating against my friends because they love someone these people think it is wrong to love. I don't want them hating my friends because they look different. I don't want them censoring me because I don't believe the way they do, or dictating how I and my female friends deal with our bodies.

We've been there and done that, and I'll take progress over regress any day.


  1. It gets worse and worse the closer we get to the election. We are in for a difficult few months leading up to the election. I only hope that we can truly demonstrate what is what we are about and exercise our free will and vote.

  2. Every time I hear the term "teabagger," I think "xenophobic racist." Sometimes I think my boss could be one -- because he comes off as just that conservative. Yeah, I love my job.

  3. Repugs like less government as long as they can invade every body else's bedroom!

  4. Beth, I think this is the best essay I have seen in more days than I can possibly begin to count!

    You are so right, the teabaggers are a threat to our country and the values we espouse.

    They are selfish, hateful pricks that wouldn't know a constitutional amendment if it was in their coloring books (black and white crayons only).

  5. I love how the teabaggers keep talking values, yet it's only their values, their religion, their, ahem, :::cough:::: morality, that they're concerned with.
    If you don't look like a teabagger, you don't matter to them.

  6. I feel dumber for having read the Newt quote.
    Keep fighting the good fight, Beth!

  7. When you break it down like this, it is kind of depressing. I used to think that 'hate' was a very limited emotion, that it burned out. The Tea Bag movement and the rise of ignorant Christian fundamentalism (and I call it 'ignorant', because of how many of the followers overlook the seperation of church and state, calling this a country established under Christianity) makes me think not of the culture wars of the 80's and 90's but of the social battles that would take place in the 50's & 60's.

    But the opposite to the conservative movement were more organized and had more resolve. It always seems that those on the right are more focused and determined to make up things to fit their agenda, including history. Once that happens, who knows where the country will end up?

  8. Well said, Beth - some particularly resonant points on their perceived persecution (which never fails to prompt a facepalm), and the negative light teabaggers cast on rationality and intellect.

    These nutjobs *cannot* be allowed to succeed.

  9. Beth well done! You dissected the conservative political situation and its' current obsession with cast away Tea Bags, with style and wit. Hopefully, people will see the situation and Tea Baggers for what they are and reject the maddening hype in November. If they don't you, Bob, Stan, and I have our work cut out for us.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?