Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Would anyone care for a spot of tea?

Apparently, today is Tea Party Day.  Yes, they are still doing this "teabagging", Boston Tea Party wannabe protests. Why people are freaking out about taxes when they are only being negligibly increased for one income bracket and decreased for all others is beyond me. Why these people only seem to be infuriated about this with a Democratic president and while we are in the midsts of recession is beyond me. But, that's America for ya. Here's their manifesto:

Are you fed up with a Congress and a president who:

  • vote for a $500 billion tax bill without even reading it?  
  • are spending trillions of borrowed dollars, leaving a debt our great-grandchildren will be paying?
  • consistently give special interest groups billions of dollars in earmarks to help get themselves re-elected?
  • want to take your wealth and redistribute it to others?
  • punish those who practice responsible financial behavior and reward those who do not?
  • admit to using the financial hurt of millions as an opportunity to push their political agenda?
  • run up trillions of dollars of debt and then sell that debt to countries such as China?
  • want government controlled health care?
  • want to take away the right to vote with a secret ballot in union elections?
  • refuse to stop the flow of millions of illegal immigrants into our country?
  • appoint a defender of child pornography to the Number 2 position in the Justice Department?
  • want to force doctors and other medical workers to perform abortions against their will?
  • want to impose a carbon tax on your electricity, gas and home heating fuels?
  • want to reduce your tax deductibility for charitable gifts?
  • take money from your family budget to pay for their federal budget?

If so, participate in the TAX Day TEA party rally, the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) party.

Can you believe that people were trying to spin this as a non-partisan event?  I mean, sure, I dislike taxes, excess government spending, and a massive national debt as much as the next "person of thrift" as I like to call myself.  But...seems that that is not all that you are after here.   You tacked on a few cheapshots about the administration that have nothing to do with spending, and added on GOP pet peeves (abortion, "socialism", and immigration) that are similarly unrelated to taxes and what not.  It's bad enough that the original taglines were "no taxation without representation" (as if you are not "represented" just because the person you voted for wasn't elected).  
It is just brilliant, however, to try frame these protests as disapproval of the government "tak[ing] money from your family budget to pay for their federal budget".  Where the fuck have you been all of your life?   Because unless you were living in some form of anarchic utopia the person who thinks that this is both news and an inherent evil is either woefully ignorant or deliberately deceptive.  I'd like to go with both.  As a brief explanation for why: taxes were not invented within the past decade or so just to raid the piggy banks of the citizens, and we need taxes (and the federal budget) as a means to pay things that we collectively need but individually could not be expected to provide for.
And, to better see what kind of protests these are...some quotes:
"We need to warn people of the dangers of socialism"
"Organizer Donn Brown told the crowd he was ready to pollute, a reference to complaints from environmentalists that the tea-bag protests would trash the river"
"Obama is the biggest threat to American freedom"
"I've got a message for the president and Congress: it's not your money"
"DC: District of Communism"
"It's an anti-big government rally....The main focus is spending and taxing and neither party has distinguished itself in wanting to limit this"
"Three months to destroy what we've had for 233 years"
"Oh now I see...Change means Socialism"
"I Will Keep My Freedom, My Guns, My Money.  Keep Your Change"
"I Want My Country Back"
"Free market, not free rides"
"Stimulus:  The Audacity of Dope"
Obviously, not to far off message, not too awful or partisan.  But enough to make it so that the basic message which could be almost accepted across the aisle (that the bailouts are unfairly giving out a huge amount of money to companies that should suffer the consequences of their own folly and that government should spend more responsibly) is lost.  I might've believed, under different circumstances, that the timing of these protests with a largely Democratic federal government was just coincidental.  But, I think that that irrational bias and terror that was displayed so prominently throughout the election season may be more of a factor here than the issue that they claim the protests are about.  Then again, I guess your results may vary:

When Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele asked to speak at the Chicago tea party, his request was politely refused by the organizers: "With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steele that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around."

Likewise, I spoke to an organizer for the Knoxville tea party who said that no "professional politicians" were going to be allowed to speak, and he made a big point of saying that the protest wasn't an anti-Obama protest, it was an anti-establishment protest. I've heard similar things from tea-party organizers in other cities, too. Though critics will probably try to write the tea parties off as partisan publicity stunts, they're really a post-partisan expression of outrage.

Of course, it won't be the same everywhere. There are no national rules, and organizers of each protest are doing things the way they want. And that's the good news and the bad news for Democrats. It's not a big Republican effort. It's a big popular effort. But a mass movement of ordinary people who don't feel that their voices are being heard doesn't bode well for the party that positioned itself as the organ of hope and change.

So, is it non-partisan with slight segments tainted with partisanship? Possibly. But, considering the
origins of the idea, if it did not at very least begin in partisanship, it at least began in unsympathetic douchebaggery.

Anyway, enjoy the teabaggings.


Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Man if they would have mobilized people to go out and pick up litter or something useful, but alas.

It's why I'm trying to establish national yellow cake day.

Asylum Seeker said...

I love lemon flavored cakes!

Anyway,'tis easier to conjure up an angry mob than an impassioned cleanup crew. Because a cleanup crew has to actually get something done.

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

Yes, ire is far easier than elbow grease - particularly for that crew of fat ----'s.

national yellow cake day is on May 15

GearHedEd said...

We should start with white cakes and piss on them....

Asylum Seeker said...

"We should start with white cakes and piss on them...."

Now, that does sound like a time saver...

mac said...

Yeah, like Bush was a freedom fighter.

BUT, he did name his constitution shredding action "The Patriot Act"!!

mac said...

Ed, you need to go over to Stacy's blog with your pissing on the cake idea. She's got a dandy one in that vein :-)

Mandar Malum said...

I am just convinced that these people are simply ignorant. I am more than happy to pay taxes if it means I have nice roads to drive on and such... But perhaps thats the just the socialist in me ::shurgs::

Stacy S. said...

No pissing on cake!!@#$% I forbid it!!

Stacy said...

You'll probably like this picture. :-)

pboyfloyd said...

The repuglies always have a clear idea of what they don't want.

To not be in power.

Paul said...

So who is organizing and funding these "spontaneous grass-roots" tea parties?

Asylum Seeker said...

I believe that a few Republican politicians (Dick Armey is the only one I can remember) are funding it.

And yes, Stacy, I do like that picture. The comments over there though...a bit tiresome. Something really fatigues me about the argument that making jokes about white people is "racist". But I think I've already delved into my opinions regarding minority vs. majority groups before.