Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Misread the Teabaggers

Last week's primary election in Pennsylvania and Kentucky have really created an uproar in the media. First, in Pennsylvania, Senator Arlen Specter was defeated in the Democratic primary AFTER he had defected from the Republican Party last year when the polls indicated that he would lose his party's nomination to a more conservative candidate. I consider that to be justice served! It was extremely arrogant of him to switch parties to save his ass and I'm glad that the Democrats saw right through that scheme.

According to media pundits, Democrats were used to voting against Specter for years, so in retrospect, it seems like a stupid strategy on Specter's part to expect that Democrats would turn around and reward him for switching parties. After all, his switch wasn't ideological. Though he is often called a RINO (Republicans In Name Only) and often votes with Democrats, he's still a Republican and his Democratic challenger Joe Sestak created what many consider to be the most brilliant ad of the campaign season thus far. The ad showed Specter getting endorsed for reelection by President George W. Bush in 2004 followed by a clip of Specter's speech on why he was jumping over to the Democrats. The ad ended by telling voters that he had switched parties to save his job, not yours. Ka-CHING! See you later, traitor. And don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out of the Senate.

In more controversial news, Rand Paul, the son of Texas Congressman and popular presidential candidate among the fringe group of libertarians Ron Paul, won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky. The media is claiming this as the first major victory of the Teabagger movement. I guess they are no longer claiming that Senator Scott Brown is, since he has been keeping his distance from this radical group of illogical imbeciles (wisely, I might add, since he represents the most liberal state in the union AND he is likely being groomed by party officials to become the next Republican president).

No sooner did Paul win than his views on race come to the fore, with contentious interviews on Rachel Maddow's and George Stephanopoulos' shows. Basically, Paul stated that the federal government has no right to tell a business how to operate. He believes that if a business owner does not want to serve black people or sell to black people, its thats business owner's right! Yikes. When I first heard his interview and what he said, I was surprised by his candor. I had suspected that there are many Republicans who think such thoughts, but most are smart enough to keep their views to themselves. The fear of being labeled a racist is very real for most people. This is a huge change from back in the 1950s, when people weren't afraid to be photographed by the media screaming at, spitting on, beating up, or even lynching black folks. We've come a long way. Now, they just hide behind white sheets. When Rand Paul mentioned his views on the Civil Rights legislation, my first reaction was: "So, this is what a Klansman looks like without the white sheet!"

While I believe that everyone should have the right to believe what they want, even those who still prefer to live in the 1950s, I think its dangerous to elect a demagogue with backwards views to our government. This gives a public platform to spew his views to a rabid following that has been in search of a leader since their beloved Quitter Queen gave up her elected office in search of anyone with a blank check to bankroll her celebrity lifestyle. They still love their Palin, but I'm certain that deep down, they realize they can't depend on a flake like her. They want someone who's committed. Who better than the son of Ron Paul?

I never understood the fanatic devotion of Ron Paul supporters. I saw them everywhere in Portland in 2007 and 2008. They were even more fanatical than the hopeless Dennis Kucinich supporters. Both candidates represent the outer fringe of the establishment parties. Ron Paul straddled the border between the Libertarian Party and the Republican Party. Kucinich, on the other hand was between the Green Party and the Democratic Party. Some had even suggested a Paul / Kucinich ticket in 2008, which would have been really whacked out.

In September 2007, when I went to my first Obama rally in Portland, some vocal Ron Paul supporters kept trying to get those of us in line to support their candidate. I argued with one of them. I told her that I couldn't stand the Republican Party and her response was, "Even Republicans don't like Ron Paul!" I guess I just don't trust Libertarians at all. I see it as a party of selfish self-indulgence. No responsibility to anyone but yourself. No desire to influence the government to help the less fortunate. In Libertarian philosophy, the market should be allowed to do whatever it wants and everyone is left to fend for themselves. That's not the kind of world I want to live in. The government has to play referree between the competing interests and to make sure that huge and powerful monopolies don't form. We can still see the effect of unregulated capitalism under Bush: incompetent companies providing shoddy service to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan while overbilling our government, doing nothing for the people of New Orleans before and immediately after a hurricane drowns the city, letting CEOs of companies like Enron, Goldman Sachs, AIG, and the others make off with billions of dollars in investor money, and demanding more off-shore drilling without spending the extra millions on safety measures. Yeah...thanks unregulated capitalism for our wrecked economy, our expensive wars, and our polluted environment! And Libertarians are asking for MORE of this?!?

Imagine, if you will, what Amerika might look like in Rand Paul's version. In his view, the federal government would have no right, no authority to enforce any of the laws passed by the legislative body. That means that we'd live in a country where everything looks ideal on paper, to show the rest of the world how liberated we are, but in practice, people are allowed to ignore the laws. So, imagine having to make a late night trek across country in your car. You stop for gas at one station, but see a sign: "White Patrons Only" and you're not white. You go to the next one. Same thing. And the next one. Soon, you run out of gas because you can't find a station where the owners aren't racist. Or how about an interracial couple? My parents have told me some stories about driving in the South in the early 1970s where people gave them dirty looks or wouldn't allow them to buy gasoline. Is this the kind of Amerika we want to live in?

How about shopping in a mall? What if certain stores would not allow non-white people to shop? What kind of cohesion do you think our society would have if people had no idea if a certain store would allow them to shop or not, based on the prejudices of the business owner? It would be strange and hateful.

Libertarians and Teabaggers may hate the Federal Government, but I love when the feds use their power to enforce the good on petty people with social grievances that their prejudiced world view is no longer supported. If society was unequal, the feds had every right to enforce compliance with the desegregation laws. Our country is better off because of it. Who could not say that its great? Discriminating based on race only created a divisive society and we're still paying the costs of that sin. However, no one of our generation (Generation X and younger) lived during that era, so we're quite used to a multicultural society. Its the racist holdovers who still haven't adjusted to the changing times. That's the bulk of the Teabagger movement. I know that they like to think that they are more diverse than what photographs of their dwindling rallies show, but its hard to escape the reality of their movement. It was born in the aftermath of the electoral victory of our first African American president. Its a racial grievance because in all their years of voting Republican, they have nothing to show for it. Life is harder, more expensive, and less satisfying after 40 years of Republican domination of the White House (only 12 of those 40 years were Democratic administrations).

I don't know what its going to take to wake these people up, but Rand Paul is not the answer. I've already seen some Teabaggers wanting "Palin / Paul 2012." Well, if the Democrats can't defeat him in November, then it looks like he might be a potential 2016 candidate. I wish, though, that he'd crawl back into his hole and put the white sheet back over his head. America does not need another demagogue playing with the fire that is the mentally unstable Teabagger class of people. Promoting an ignorance of recent history while stoking race resentments over the landmark legislation that paid the down payment on Dr. Martin Luther King's dream is a dangerous game. My message to Teabaggers is simple: America is a multicultural democracy. If you don't like it, then get the hell out. There's not a chance in hell that we are ever going to return to your fantasy version of the 1950s. If you don't like this multicultural America, then you should learn from the Amish and just drop out of modern society and live in your little 1950s bubble while the rest of America progresses right past you.

Below is an interesting "ad" I found online about Rand Paul. Seems like they are promoting some subversive style campaigning. My impression of Rand Paul is that he is not what he seems. Maybe he's the anti-Christ figure we're all waiting for? I don't know. All I do know is that this man seems to be dangerous to the future of America. I hope the media will investigate his background and that the voters of Kentucky return him back to the cess pool from which he emerged.


Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

From what I can figure, Libertarians seems to be Ayn Rand followers, like Alan Greenspan. The other day at the dog park, Rob and I unfortunately got into an argument with a couple of conservative Christians. I should know enough to just walk away, but didn't.

As they ranted on about Obama as asocialist, I said, "Do you collect social security? Medicare?" Yes, to both. I pointed out those programs were "socialist."
They didn't want to hear that.
Go figure.

Sansego said...

I'm assuming that Ron Paul named his son "Rand" after Ayn Rand. I've never understood why libertarians love Ayn Rand so much. She advocates selfishness and I never got the sense from what I've read about her that she was ever truly happy.

I guess I'm a big believer in community and part of being in a community is that you have to sacrifice some of your more selfish desires to get along with people. Its not a bad thing. The give and take of any relationship makes life interesting: what are you willing to sacrifice, where do you draw the line, what are you willing to give?