Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Party unsure of it's Identity

For the past year or so I have been commenting and posting on the local newspaper online edition, The Daily Journal website.  It has a share of people of all political stripes - conservative, liberal, moderate, libertarian.    By "a share" I mean, among regular commenters and posters, there are a handful of liberal leaning people, a handful of moderate people, and the rest are conservative or libertarian or in the last year, a handful have started to identify themselves as "teaparty people."

At the very beginning the people called themselves "teabagg-ers" (I even heard it on Fox) until they heard about the sex act "teabagg-ing" and what a "teabagg-er" really did.  They then decided to just go by the name of tea party so as not to remind people of the sex act.  Fair enough but they were probably missing out on a unique branding opportunity! 

From what I gather the tea partyers were upset about the way things were going in this country.  They were upset with the incredible debt that George Bush gave us and they were upset with the deficit that Barack Obama was piling on.  They really didn't like the stimulus plan that the Obama administration passed to soften the blow of what the Republican Fed Chairman and the Republican Treasury Secretary labeled as possibly the worst economic downturn since the great depression.  Indeed, they indicated that if wall street was not bailed out and money was not inserted in our economy, it was possible that we could have another great depression.

So, as well as the stimulus plan, the tea partyers were really not happy about the bailout of wall street, or the TARP plan as it was known.   Turns out, the ONLY people in the country that were happy about the TARP plan were the people on wall street who took billions from tax payers and got paid billions in bonuses.  As an aside to this story, it turns out that Wells Fargo will likely pay zero income taxes on enormous profits made last year due to tax breaks because they bought another bank that lost.  On this we can all agree, it was corporate welfare, and should be stopped.  (Except Glenn Beck who for some unknown reason has said that it really doesn't matter if you taxed all the corporations because it wouldn't help our debt out.)
Scary pic of a scary person from Oakcrest, Michele Malkin
Not racist
Not vile
Obama = Hitler, Chicago Rally
 Recent polls have shown tea partiers to be higher educated than average, have more money than average, be male, older, and 95+% white.  (Not that there's anything wrong with that of course!)   They have also shown that people who call themselves tea partiers are split 50-50 in preference as to what is the most important aspect of their movement.  As I have outlined already, half are concerned with fiscal restraint and out of control government spending, the other half think that social issues are the most important thing.  I like to think of it this way.  Half think Ron Paul is the guy to turn this country around, the other half think Sarah Palin is the new messiah.  Remember a couple of months ago she was the keynote speaker at a convention for a party which she now supports, for a cool 100+k.  Not bad work for a half-term governor who was forced to quit her job because as governor she could not accept speaking fees and make the millions that she now makes.  Remember, she and Todd were not wealthy until this year.  But I digress!  I've seen several of the tea partiers say "I just want my country back."  I guess by saying that they mean they want their country back from Barack Obama.  You know, the guy we elected president in this country last.  The guy who got a plurality of 53%  of the vote, much larger than President Bush got, the guy who just happens to be black.  Wait um, did I say "black?"  Well I certainly don't want to insert race into this, do I?  I don't mean to say that many of these fine folks "come to Jesus moment" was January 21st, the day after President Obama was elected.  I JUST WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!
A fellow commenter (name withheld), who has at times either identified with the tea partiers, or was one, but would certainly admit to having a strong interest in the group, has said he has attended several rallies.  He has stated that he has not seen the rampant racism, vileness, and general un-hingedness that some of these pics show, and I certainly believe him.  But I would hope he would admit that it's probably not too hard to find these wing-nuts at many rallies.  I know I didn't have too much trouble. 
While I would agree that there are many honest people protesting for our country to be fiscally responsible, and smart minds can disagree, there are certainly a percentage of nuts with whom's free speech I am offended.  I do however, defend their right to say it.  I wonder what many of these conservatives would say to the honest people who protested the Vietnam War so many years ago.  If I remember, they said "If you don't like America, leave it!"  Could someone today say "Right back at you!"  It was free speech then, and it's the same today.
This finally brings me around to the crux of my argument.  I tried making a comment today on The Daily Journal online about someone else's description of the tea partiers.  I reserve the right to call them by the name that they started themselves, teabagg-ers.  I have called them that in the past on the website.  Today, when I hit the publish my comment button, the Daily Journal came back with a message stating that my comment could not be accepted because it included a word that was troublesome, or something to that effect, anyway.  The word?  Teabagg-er.  What this means is that one of the good commenters complained to The Daily Journal that when people call them that name, it hurts their feelings, the Daily Journal agreed, and banned it's use, along with other profanity.
So, you're allowed to call other commenters names (happens every day), put up vile pics and descriptions of our country and officials, but we the people in this backwoods part of New Jersey are not allowed to call you by your name.  Free speech?  No.  That's censorship and that's wrong.


  1. So you are upset that a non-governmental business precluded you from using a word on its web site for which you pay nothing?

  2. Good point, but perhaps I wasn't completely clear. The Daily Journal is and should be free to make the rules it wants to on it's site. I use their site and accept that. My complaint was, or should have been, directed towards the commenter(s) who/that complained and had the word "teabagger" included in the lexicon of George Carlin's 7 words you can't say on tv or the radio. As I said, I had been using the term before with no problems. I don't feel that calling a group, not even an individual a teabagger is on the same level as calling an individual whose comment you disagree with, an idiot or a moron or worse. I'm sure you've seen that there.

    I'm thinking of one person who when reading one of my comments about the teabagger party, as I called them, feigned incredulence and surprise. His comment was something like, "teabagger, what's that? I've never heard anyone say that." Yeah right, if that's the honesty that's coming. I can pretend that I never heard of tea party. After all, the pics show people wearing teabags on their heads.

    I guess that's why I wanted to make my position clear. 1. That while I appreciate some of the goals of the good grass roots people who gather to let their voice be heard, I don't appreciate the wing nuts carrying their racist and vile signs. You can't march next to someone with those signs then say "But that's not me." It would go a mile in my eye for some of the commenters on the site to 100% denounce all the vileness and racism of those people and say they should not be part of their movement. Further, the Republican party which is trying to manipulate the movement for political purposes, should do the same. 2. I think it was petty to get the Daily Journal to add to their banned words dictionary such a silly term.

    On the other hand, I guess I learned that using the term does rile some feathers (which admittedly was my intention) and perhaps not helpful in discussions.

    Thanks for reading and I appreciate the comment.

  3. I think you are misusing the term. Teabaggers is a name that the media has tried to pin on the tea party movement, because they are afraid of them and use the term too degrade them. If you have to use a term maybe try teapartiers or the tea party people but they are just the people that show up of the tea party rallies. Their anyone and everyone that's fed up with all the crap from DC. they show up at rallies some with signs to protest their gripes. As for where it came from, i'm pretty sure it was from the 911 truthers when they met in Boston to throw cases of the 911 commission report into boston harbor. and the following years they met for a tea party rally. and hence it began.

    so, you are either rude or misinformed and if you are trying to stir some feathers maybe try the term Israel or Israeli backed that'll get some censorship.

    and there's allways talk radio