Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Queen of the Teabagger's Ball

This past weekend was the first convention of the Teabagger movement in Nashville, Tennessee, where the Quitter Queen from Alaska, Sarah Palin, was paid $100,000 to give the keynote address.

In not so unrelated news, on Facebook last week, one guy in my church had posted that he hates the IRS because he owes back taxes and doesn't have the means to pay, for complicated reasons I don't know the full details about. Anyhow, his status update prompted one lady (who is the mother of a friend of mine) to respond. She saw an opportunity to get another person into her "cause", which is the teabagger movement. She said some inaccurate things about the teabaggers, claiming that there are Democrats, Republicans, and independents in the movement, all coalescing around their outrage about the bailouts to Wall Street executives. Wrong! Just because someone might vote for the occasional Democrat does not mean that they are a Democrat. I would venture to say that there are no true Democrats in the teabagger movement. This movement is an extension of the people who flocked to Sarah Palin's rallies during the fall 2008 campaign. They are not Democrats. They are mostly frustrated Republican voters with some conservative independents and Libertarians, low class (in both senses of the word), evangelical, and struggling in the Bush economy. Most of the probably voted for Bush in 2000 and especially in 2004 (because they didn't want any gay marriages in their state!).

The teabaggers are made up of people who had fallen behind in the Bush years and were outraged to see the inauguration of the first African American president. This attitude goes back to 1968, when Nixon decided that the best strategy Republicans had for winning and holding onto the White House was to exploit racial grievances in the aftermath of President Johnson's landmark Civil Rights legislation. Its this "Southern Strategy" that used code words like "busing", "states' rights", and "school vouchers" in place of the overt racism that was common during the segregation era. The promise was that no matter how bad things are for poor white folks, they would always be above and better than black people. Thus why so many poor ignorant whites voted against their own economic self-interest and abandoned the Democratic Party for the Republican one from 1968 onward. FDR and Truman created the prosperous middle class. JFK and LBJ sought greater inclusion and their policies helped solidify the Democratic Party as the diverse party that actually looks like America. In the forty years since, the Republican Party has remained as white as the sheet on a Ku Klux Klansman.

So, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the election and inauguration of the first African American President would push some of these poor, ignorant white folks into a screaming tizzy. Thus, the teabagger movement was born...funded by conservative corporate astroturf groups that know how to exploit ignorant people to their advantage. They are like Dr. Frankenstein in that regard...creating an ugly monster that they don't even realize that they cannot control. This movement is beyond them by now. It's no wonder why Sarah Palin has become the beloved queen of the teabagger movement. The crazies need someone just as crazy as them to lead them in their outrage of being left behind in the Bush economy. Well guess what, assholes...your ignorant votes for Bush based on your prejudices got us into this mess and we aren't going to get out of it overnight!

Why are they so angry? Because Bush failed to be the Reagan of their dreams? If anyone should be angry, its me. I was deprived of my dream job of working in a Gore Administration. For the past eight years, I have been trapped in a conservative organization I despise, seeking a job more in line with my progressive values. Bush might have disappointed you, but his years in office deprived me of a dream career. Maybe our country would get better if these ignorant people learned who was exploiting them to gain power. If the pain of a Bush Administration is the price to pay for the progress and history of the Obama presidency, well...we've more than paid our dues on that. You would think a person who claimed to be a patriotic America would desire to see that President Obama succeeds in turning our economy around. But that's the thing with deep rooted racism...one hates blacks so much, they'd rather continue to live in poverty and ignorance than to see a successful black family making our country a better place for all.

What frustrates me about this lady's mom, who saw an opportunity in a guy hurting financially to bring him into this movement, is that she claims this movement is doing the right thing. I exchanged private messages with her, reminding her that she had presented false information on Facebook last year when she had claimed that Gore's Nobel Prize in 2007 had deprived a Holocaust survivor the award (that claim was part of a smear campaign to make Gore look undeserving of the award, when the facts show that the Holocaust survivor did not meet the qualifications for the award, as established by Alfred Nobel over a century ago). In her email back to me, she finally admitted that she had made a mistake about that topic, yet continued to insist that there are Democrats in the teabagger movement and that this movement is in keeping with God's commandments. This lady and I have had it out a few times and it makes me glad that her daughter and I were never attracted to one another. She would have been a nightmare of a mother-in-law for me! Her comments about politics are based on a steady diet of Fox Propaganda and Glenn Beck. My guess is that she has never been out of the country and she lives in the most macho conservative of all U.S. states: Texas. She fits the demographic of the group I am least compatable with, and it shows every so often when a debate is sparked on someone's Facebook wall.

The teabaggers view their movement as the second American revolution, which is a laugh. In actuality, its a regressive reactionary movement that is trying to halt our progress and return us to the dark ages of the 1950s conformity. They don't realize it, but their grievances against modern American culture is the exact same grievances that Islamic mullahs cite to their devoted following in the Middle East. Yet, these people hate all Muslims and view them all as terrorists out to kill us. How can this be? They have the same views (hatred of modernity) yet only see the differences (darker skin, different religion, strange clothing). That's the problem with ignorant people. They can't make the connection with anyone different than they. Conformity means just that, down to the same religion, clothing, and race.

Which brings us to the Quitter Queen, who has been in the news a lot lately. First, records revealed that she did not pay taxes on a cabin that's on her property. Second, the state government Alaska released more than 3,000 emails during her time as governor, which revealled that her husband had a large degree of influence on her administration. He was a paid employee of BP on the North Slope and had acted as an intermediary, which appears to be a major conflict of interest and worthy of an FBI investigation. Next, she got into a tizzy over Rahm Emanuel's calling progressives "fucking retards!" but later defended Rush Limbaugh when he called Emanuel's meeting with Tim Shriver (who heads the Special Olympics organization that his mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver had founded) "a retard summit." Surprise, surprise. Palin goes after the Democrat but defends the Republican. Her two-faced hypocrisy reeks worse than limburger cheese.

In her speech to the teabaggers, Palin was caught on camera looking at her hand, in which she had written some "cheat notes": Energy, Budget Cuts (in which "Budget" was crossed out and "Tax" was written beneath it), Lift America's Spirits. She needed cheat notes for that? What's especially galling is that she had dismissed Obama as "some charismatic guy with a teleprompter." I've heard many conservatives dismiss Obama for his use of a teleprompter, which I don't understand, because every modern president has used this technological device...including their beloved Bush. In fact, the criticism was that Bush only gave a good speech when there was a teleprompter. When he had to speak without it, he often mangled what he said ("rarely is the question asked, is our children learning?", "put food on your family", "fool me twice, shame on, shame on--you can't get fooled again!"). So, this criticism seems a bit of a projection. Besides, Palin used a teleprompter herself at the 2008 Republican National Convention, in the speech that introduced her to America. Many liked her speech (I sure as hell did not: she was mean, ugly and petty)...but it was all because of the teleprompter.

How credible can one be when she has to keep looking down at her hand during the speech to be reminded of what she was to speak about? I get the impression that this woman has a serious grievance against Obama for some reason. Its been rumoured that she is racist, as according to her own father, she hated being in the university in Hawaii because there were so many Asian and Polynesian students and thus transferred to the lily white state of Idaho.

I only watched the first ten minutes of her speech on YouTube and couldn't stomach the rest. She started off her speech by proclaiming several times that she's proud to be an American. To me, that's just a weird way to start any speech, but the audience seemed to love it. Pride in being an ignorant American who shops at Walmart for cheap junk made in China is just a strange thing to be proud of. For me, I don't need to tell people that I'm proud to be an American. Its something I feel on election day, or when I visit a historical site. But to proclaim it to other people seems to me like you have doubts about it, and thus have to remind yourself that you are.

Next, she mentioned Reagan's birthday. She also mentioned him again later on. Hate to break this to you, but Reagan was president a quarter century ago. Sarah keeps talking about how Obama wants to look back, but who's looking back? The Republican fetish for Reagan is bizarre to me. Granted, Democrats have lionized JFK, but I don't recall Obama continuing to bring up Kennedy's name in every speech like Palin does for Reagan. Even more audacious is that Palin criticized Obama for mentioning in his State of the Union address that Bush got our country into this crisis. She claims that he keeps on looking back, wanting to blame others for the problems he now owns. However, that's convenient for her sake. Bush really is the one who wrecked our economy and Americans would be stupid to forget that. Obama's reminder was simply to point out that we did not get into this mess overnight and he came into office under the worst conditions not seen since FDR, so Americans need to be patient. When Obama ended his address by saying that he would never quit, it made me wonder if that was a not so subtle dig at Palin. She might have read into that as well, thus her moral outrage over his administration.

The rest of what I heard in her speech was just ignorant comments through and through. She harped on too long about the Christmas Day attempted terrorist attack by the underwear bomber. She called it the worst security failure of Obama's administration so far. Failure? It was a close call, but no major harm was done. The guy didn't succeed in his goal, he got arrested. Failure was what happened on 9/11. A failure that Bush strangely relished reminding the American people about. Its strange to me that a president could be so proud of his failure to keep Americans safe that he reminded us of that moment every chance he got. I guess in the conservative world, a successful terrorist attack is worth bragging about while a foiled terrorist attack is something to harp and criticize about.

Palin also criticized Obama for meeting with world leaders, writing personal letters, and thinking that personal diplomacy is leadership. She said that talk is worse than action. To emphasize her point, she made a hand gesture emphasizing talk talk talk. She also criticized the Obama Administration for treating terrorism like a police investigation. In her view, terrorism is an act of war. If that's the case, its a war we are destined to lose. The British treated the IRA like a crime for the police and special forces to go after. They didn't launch an all out assault on Northern Ireland to rid the place of evil.

Conservatives are skeptical of what they call "soft power" because they don't get nuance. They are too easily dazzled by the shock and awe of explosions and dead bodies. It doesn't matter to them if the bodies are of guilty or innocent people. Such images show that we are DOING something to solve the problem of terrorism. The reality is that by doing such things, we are only creating more terrorists in the process. When a young, unemployed man sees his family or friends killed by high tech bombs launched from ships hundreds of miles away, what's he to do? Revenge is part of the culture of the Middle East. Its the reason why Jews and Arabs have been killing each other for centuries. Does more violence solve the problem? For those who think the soft power of diplomacy does not work as well as hard power of a military shock and awe campaign, one has to look at the difference between Clinton and Bush. One was popular overseas and the other the most hated leader in our lifetime. There's a reason why people around the world celebrated both on Election Day 2008 and on Inauguration Day 2009, and why Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Palin showed that she is all too willing to torture people and launch a war against Iran with her speech. And yet she claims to be a Christian. This proves that she has not read the New Testament. Jesus was a talker. He had dialogues with everyone. I hate to break it to her and evangelicals who think like her, but Jesus showed compassion to the Roman soldier sent to arrest him when one of his disciples sliced an ear off of the soldier. And Jesus passively allowed himself to be humiliated and crucified rather than fight his way to the death. Where is the consistency? Where is the evidence that Palin is a Christian? Her religion is power and domination of anyone who doesn't share her skin colour or religion. Kind of ironic that the news revealed recently that she had a tanning bed in her house (does any teabagger still believe that she's just like them?). Why does she need a tan? Is she ashamed of being white?

On the Sunday morning talkshow circuit, she indicated that she's still entertaining thoughts of running for president in 2012. I hope she does! It will be awesome to watch the Republican Party self-destruct because of her toxicity. A recently published book about the 2008 election revealed that McCain campaign aides were actually more concerned about Palin's mental stability than her intellectual capacity. That's a striking revelation. Insiders saw her up close and personal and did not like what they saw. There was speculation that she's suffering from some kind of mental illness, or that she's manic-depressive. The moneyed elite who control the Republican Party don't like or trust her, so there's no doubt that they will invest in a candidate who has the best chance of beating Obama in 2012. The problem is that Palin's power is derived from the idiot class within the Republican Party, who believe that ignorance is a virtue to be proud of and see any criticism of their beloved Queen as evidence that people are afraid of her, which makes them support her even more.

In her speech to the teabaggers, she had nothing but kind words to say about Scott Brown, which I thought was interesting. Brown is definitely being groomed as a future Republican president and so long as he remains the most viable option that party has, Palin can pretty much kiss any hope of winning the nomination goodbye. She doesn't realize it, but she's going to be played. The Republican Party tolerates her because she's doing their dirty work of attacking Obama endlessly, so he won't succeed in uniting the country. But once she's done her damage on him, she'll be flushed away like the piece of shit she is, allowing a smooth operator like Scott Brown to come in and seduce the country as the next saviour.

What I don't understand about the teabaggers is why they are so angry and turning their anger on a man who was elected to clean up the mess made by the previous president? Why don't they get angry at the political party that betrayed them? It was Bush who squandered the Clinton surplus with his tax cuts that transferred the burden of funding the government from the wealthy class to the middle class. And he waged two expensive wars on top of those tax cuts, borrowing money from Chinese banks to pay for it, which means an unborn generation of Americans will end up paying for our splendid little wars in Iraqistan. In their anger, they are not bringing their accountability to the people responsible...but to the person who is trying to fix things. And what do they do? They don't even want to analyze why we are where we are today. They won't look at the reasons why Bush was such a phenomenal disaster for our country and world. Instead, they have embraced a person who is even more ignorant than Bush with even less experience than he has, and they think this is enough to improve our country. Their evidence is that they think Obama has less experience than Palin, so she'd be better, even though Obama is far more intelligent and has a lifelong experience of being exposed to foreign countries and people in different parts of the world.

I just don't get it. The problem is the willful ignorance. When you're ignorant, you're easily duped because you don't fact check. You invest your time in personalities you trust because they share the same cultural experience as you and you put your faith that they'd never abuse their trust or lie to you. And they won't admit or examine the idea that the Fox Corporation deliberately lies in its broadcast to keep its audience members ignorant. When there is a consistent view among independent news sources (in analyzing the truth, its important to look at multiple sources, as well as foreign news to see what they say about an issue) and Fox is the only one with a different take, it does make you wonder. Especially when they've been caught in several falsehoods (such as referring to scandalous Republican politicians as Democrats or doctoring photos to make certain people look shadier, therefore less trustworthy).

That's why I don't like the teabaggers. They put a premium on ignorance and claim to be the most authentic Christians. I'm especially critical of teabaggers who are members of the Community of Christ, because I know that if they start sharing our church's history with their fellow evangelical teabaggers, thinking that they have an authentic bond with them, they're in for a rude awakening. Our church is nothing but a cult to these people and its masochistic of them to seek kinship with people who would never accept them once the truth about our church's origins comes out. That's why I ally myself with other tolerant religious and spiritual groups. I will not be allies with people who condemn anyone who doesn't think like them to hell or with people who think that remaining ignorant of the important issues facing our planet is an ideal. To me, its burying your head in the sand because you can't deal with reality. In the end, you only hurt yourself. Obviously...because voting for Bush in 2000 and in 2004 certainly did not improve your life, did it? Otherwise you wouldn't be so angry and looking for some Quitter Queen to save you from yourselves. Well, newsflash: Sarah Palin is all about Sarah Palin. Take a look at her property and toys (a seaplane, cars, snowmobiles, tanning bed). Someone's paying for it...and she hasn't held a job since July. Sounds to me like she's teabagging you all the way to the bank. You both deserve each other.

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