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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tea Bag Protest Fueled by Hatred and Dehumanization

The verbal and physical abuse protesters directed at Congressmen Lewis, Frank, and Cleaver this weekend exemplified the inchoate rage and hatred fueling the ineffective Tea Party movement. Mr. Feser links to more of the documentation of the malevolent, unpatriotic behavior outside the Capitol this weekend. Mr. Dahle highlights the same dark side of Tea Bag protest as observed from across the border:

Don't believe the nonsense that the offenders are a minority who have attached themselves to well-meaning protesters.

On this day they were clearly the majority and everyone cheered them on when they performed these miserable acts.

Making all this even more reprehensible were the actions of many Republican members who took to appearing on a balcony overlooking the legislature's lawn and urged on the chanting crowd

...I've seen these crowds before. In the 1960s in the American South when I was reporting on the growing civil rights movement.

But never did I expect to see this kind of uncontrolled anger in a cosmopolitan city such as Washington, at the foot of the Capitol building no less [Henry Champ, "The Dark Side of American Protest," CBC News, 2010.03.24].

Such rage is possible only when we dehumanize our opponents. Republicans are doing their best to dehumanize President Barack Hussein Obama, assigning him to categories that strain credulity but make it easier to wave posters of nooses and coffins. The Daily Beast reports a Harris poll that finds that among Republicans...
  • 67% think Obama is a socialist (not that there's anything wrong with that)
  • 57% think Obama is a Muslim (not that there's anything wrong with that)
  • 45% think Obama was not born in the U.S. (Hawaii, 1961... hello?)
  • 38% equate many of the President's actions with Hitler's (o.k., even Hitler brushed his teeth)
  • 24% believe Obama "may be the Antichrist" (not that... oh, wait... liberal tolerance circuit breakers go off: being the Antichrist would be bad)
When people are convinced that the President is Marx, Saddam, Hitler, and Lucifer all rolled into one, there's no reasoning with them.

Update 12:01 CDT: Kudos to Republican Congressmen Mike Pence and John Boehner for decrying the intimidation tactics.

Update 2010.04.17: Ah, but the Harris poll was sloppy. There probably aren't as many people as this poll indicates who believe such nutty things about the President. But the poll still found people who need a whack upside the head with the reality stick.


  1. The new strategy to deal with people who simply want to adhere to our Constitution, principles, honesty, openness, truth, etc, is now very apparent. Since health care has been passed, the Dems next plan was to target those who oppose their plans. How? By demonizing them, by attacking them all as racist, terrorists, etc in an attempt to silence them and send them back home to accept this administration's idea of governing. Sorry, this isn't going to work. Any conservatives or tea party members or 9.12 project people I have met do not advocate, violence, hatred, demunanizing, etc. We do advocate a return to open gov't, adherence to our Constitution and the princples on which this great nation was founded, truth, honesty, smaller gov't, less gov't spending, fiscal responsibility. If the left has a problem with this, it shows how far out of touch they are. Are they so scared of disagreement with their policies that they have to attack us? Apparently so. What proof is there that the so-called remarks etc were the work of the conservatives anyway? The left would never plant someone to attack a Dem and blame it on us? Of course not!

    Where was your outrage when Palin was attacked? When Bush was compared to Hitler? When libs were advocating for the death of Bush? Nowhere. I realized that most libs did not agree with these tactics, but they certainly did nothing to protest them either.

  2. Let's see, we had mangled deer dropped at our front door, severed goats head/satanic ritual stuff thrown in the lot, graffiti on our buses, followed home, run off road (car with DC plates), our tires slashed, death threats, obscene voicemails, server IN the building disconnected (after hours) and hacked, lots of coathangers thrown/mailed, called name after name, etc, etc, etc. And this inchoate rage never made local news nor was there any documentation of this "malevolent, unpatriotic behavior" by local bloggers.

    I don't believe most who voted no on the abortion bills in the past would ever stoop to these levels but the left has far far more people who could care less about laws and taking the high road than we do.

    I've been around a lot of tea party people and these are law abiding, America-loving people. And, I've been in the midst of the raging hateful left and they are hardly law-abiding, America-loving people.

    It's more believable to me that, if indeed these deplorable acts did occur (and despite their being no tape, I think they did occur), that these were planted Chicago-style Alinski-esque tactics intended to do exactly what they are doing right now - divert attention and make the opposition look bad. Remember, these people say they will stop at nothing.

    I hope when those who voted for the hellth care bill finally get around to reading it that we will find out it covers hearing aids because they all need them - they ignored the people. (Actually, we now find out they are exempt from the plan that is so good for all of us), And so-- since they refused to listen, people shouted louder because it's truly insane to suggest we are going to add 40 million people to the rolls and the cost will go down. I think it is their master plan to bankrupt the states. Our state can't balance our budget now, and yet we are going to pay for 50% additional people than we are already paying for now??!!

    I have 55 employees here and just yesterday I got notice from our group health insurance provider what the immediate changes are for our small business. It ain't pretty I'll leave it at that. Actually it basically says they aren't really sure yet what this means. I do. I don't plan to add positions or increase our programs. If anyone out there is looking for a job, I did hear the IRS is hiring.

    Have you asked yourself why the insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies have been fully absent from the debate? (Except for a couple Obama timed and scripted denouncements of the wicked insurance companies). I'd be quiet too if the govt was trying to pass a law that said every American must buy what I'm selling. We can't have health care reform without first having insurance reform.

    How it is that the Major League Baseball and health insurance companies are the only two outfits in American not subject to anti-trust laws? Let's lift that exemption tomorrow.

    Sorry Cory for the rant.

  3. It's hard not to get angry when prospects look so dim. Being unemployed is dehumanizing. I suspect these Teabaggers are an independent lot with a pull yourself up by the bootstraps way of thinking. That's fine although everyone needs help sometime. The thing is, we have to get beyond health care and focus on job creation. Truthfully I think health care reform will invigorate small business because getting health care is now ensured and they won't have that risk to deal with. That said, stay angry, but stay angry at finance reform, and whatever it takes to get our economy on track and stable again. And why not think locally? Do we employ our own population? Too many commute. Are we scoring new jobs? Look closely at the numbers they try to spin. Do we have a vibrant downtown? Some store fronts have been vacant for years. Local Teabaggers, have you gone to a city commission meeting to ask tough questions regarding the LAIC and job growth? Did you voice any concern when a housing project got tax incentives rather than those resources be used to attract a new employer? When we were supposed to have downtown development and the LAIC hired a person specifically for that, she left in two weeks and nothing further has been done. That was two years ago. Why don't we have city planning in house rather than controlled by a group of businessman at the LAIC? Why don't you raise your voice on local issues that you could directly influence?

  4. So socialists aren't human? Muslims aren't human? Kenyans aren't human? The Bible even indicates the antiChrist will be a human, though one of extraordinary power.

    I think your desperate attempts to portray patriotic Americans as a violent mob are running pretty thin. "Dehumanize" people by implying socialists, Muslims, etc. aren't human? Even liberals aren't that stupid.

    But what patriotic Americans will continue to do is point out that these human socialists in Washington (and in the blogosphere) are peddling Marxist ideas that are in direct contradiction to the laws of the United States and the U.S. Constitution. We will continue to make sure all Americans are aware of your loathing for our history, our heritage, and our freedom. We will continue to call socialism by its name and socialists by what they are, and we will not give you a pass anymore for your efforts to tear apart our way of life. No more "different interpretations" bilge or "different ideas" nonsense or similar apologetic pap.

    We will call socialist policies "socialist" and we will nail attempts to tear down the American way for the un-American and anti-American actions they are.

    So you can either get with the program and get on the side of your own country and countrymen, or you can continue your lying, your homosexual innuendo, and your race-baiting.

    Either way, Americans of all colors and walks of life who love our country and cherish its heritage and Constitution will keep on identifying you for what you are.

  5. This just in... GOP Congressman's office shot at -


    And my favorite...

    Fidel Castro Applauds Passage of Obamacare.

  6. Some handy acronyms:
    Short for "Its OK if you're Republican" which means that some wingnuts will support and apologize for any action on behalf of Republicans no matter how egregious.

  7. Douglas, how about IOIYD (Dem, not Rep)? "which means that some wingnuts will support and apologize for any action on behalf of Democrats no matter how egregious."

    THere has been much more violence on the left's side than on the right. Where are those apologies?

    I happen to realize that there are a few nutcases that cause violence on the left's side. I don't blame all Dems. Most Dems I know are good people; I just don't have their same political philosophy.

    So please get over the blame game here toward people who stand up for the principles that this nation was founded on, for less gov't, for fiscal responsibility. We do not advocate violence. We are not wingnuts,another of your favorite putdowns.

  8. Pastor Hickey, I'm appalled at the tactics people have used on you. Those folks should be kicked out of whatever movement they think they are serving as swiftly as the thugs among the anti-health care shouters. To the extent my apology for the idiots on my side might matter, I'll offer said apology. I will not resort to such tactics (well, except for mailing the coat hangers. That's a potent symbol... and I'm inclined to say fair game, not quite violence. Throwing them at you, though, is out. As we tell our daughter, we don't throw things at people).

    Linda, you claim there has been much more violence on the left than the right. I really would like to quantify that. Is it possible to make some objective count of incidents that would verify that claim? Sociologically speaking, I'm skeptical: I thought we leftists had a much greater proportion of pacifists and other wienies like me who don't like violence. I'm not making an affirmative claim here... I'm just saying it seems counterintuitive that we would find more radicals inclined to violence among lefties than righties. Yes, there are counterexamples of all sorts, but how often do you find a pacifist like my man Dennis Kucinich in the Republican party? I'm not askig to score partisan points; I think this is a genuinely interesting question: is there any possible correlation between political philosophy and inclination toward violence?

    Ah, but there was that Stalin character. He was a leftist... kind of... yeesh!

  9. Pacifist is usually a label for the anti-war crowd. It doesn't mean they are against all violence. Have you seen the aftermath of the protests against the IMF and WTO?

    Besides, being against violence never seems to reduce it. Cambodia can attest to that.

  10. The movement is fueled by unstable people that just make stuff up, so it is difficult to have respect for them.

    Michele Bachmann: "And what we saw this Tuesday, once the president signed the health care bill at the 11th hour in the morning on Tuesday, that effected 51% government takeover of the private economy."

    If Teabaggers want legitimacy they need to be factual, grounded in reality and get rid of Beck, Bachmann, and Armey.


  11. Yes John, Michele Bachmann used exaggeration and it totally destroyed the tea party movement's credibility. I mean, the government has only begun to exercise major controls over the domestic automotive industry, financial sector, health care, higher education, and energy production and usage. They don't actually own those industries. Michelle must think Card Check, 'Comprehensive' Immigration Reform and Cap & Trade have already been passed. She's getting ahead of herself. The government won't own everything for years yet, maybe even another decade or so.
    I have to say I'm puzzled by your comment on facts though. I expected the TPM address would have had some you were referring to, or at least some of significance. Instead I just read a poorly written opinion bashing a politicians literal statistical accuracy (with nothing to support even that) and never even addressing the point of a rapidly expanding government into the private sector-- which is the same as intrusion into private life.

  12. Do you suppose it was a conservative Tea Bagger that sent the bullet flying through Republican Congressman Eric Cantor office in Richmond?

    Tim Higgins

  13. Corey:

    I believe Bill ayers was a lefty.

    Tim Higgins

  14. Well, I guess we look at Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, and the Klan, and we declare that all of mankind if fallible, fallen, and just plain bad. But I think the original thesis stands: the Tea Bag movement, like many other flawed human actions, is fueled by hatred and dehumanization.

  15. Fueled by hatred and dehumanization? Considering the very long debate and heated outrage over the actions of the government, the health insurance bill in particular, it would be shocking if there were not people in the movement that took their emotions beyond what is acceptable. This is not surprising, and does not characterize the movement in the least. The very idea that urging on a crowd chanting in opposition is wrong and claiming it mirrors racist demonstration in the civil rights movement is beyond deplorable. It's corrupt journalism. The eight years under the prior presidency was a litany of people gathering in protest against the war, for immigration reform, and against global trade. Yet as vitriolic and even violent as some of these become, they have always been characterized as peaceful demonstrators.
    The numbers obtained in the poll are from a Harris online poll of 2,320 people and I seriously question it would bear out even at an actual tea party rally, let alone a serious poll of the general population. Lets do our own Madville poll on this. Hey Bob, do you think Obamma is a non-citizen, the anti-christ or a muslim?

  16. Roger, then you'll have to ask Sibby too. He's been busy lately posting attacks on Heidelberger. Well balanced? This movement is stirring up a lot of extreme people and sadly they are being used. Does Glenn Beck give an oink about anything other than his ego and ratings? Was Palin worth her 100k? Teabaggers are being played.

  17. I will repeat, the latest strategy to deal with the people who don't like what is going on with this administration's tactics is to paint us as the terrorists. Sorry, fellas, it won't work because it is not true, pure and simple. If you have a problem with the 9.12 project or the tea party, we welcome anyone to come to a meeting and check us out. I won't go into our principles as you will either believe me or not, and that's your choice. But you should ask yourselves why a group that simply wants less gov't, less taxes, more fiscal responsibility, and adherence to the Constitusion is being targeted as racist, dehumanizing, and hateful. It's easy to call people names; it's much harder and takes a little intelligence to study an issue and understand.

  18. Don't mistake being stubborn with being right. Republicans would love your votes but even Karl Rove shares a little truth:

    "This Tea Party movement is largely novices, relatively politically unsophisticated people. And as a result, sometimes their rhetoric is raw and angry."


  19. Hey, don't blame liberals if Tea Bags are such rank amateurs that they can't organize a peaceful protest:

    "I hear GOP folks and Tea Partiers bemoaning the fact that media and Democrats are using the extremes of their movement for ratings and to score points. This is like Drew Brees complaining that Dwight Freeney keeps trying to sack him. If that were Martin Luther King's response to media coverage, the South might still be segregated. I exaggerate, but my point is that the whining reflects a basic misunderstanding of the rules of protest. When you lead a protest you lead it, you own it, and your opponents, and the media, will hold you responsible for whatever happens in the course of that protest. This isn't left-wing bias, it's the nature of the threat." [Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Tea Party's Rank Amateurism," The Atlantic, 2010.03.26]

  20. Glenn Beck cares at least as much as Michael Moore, Al Franken or Amy Goodman. The difference is that he is correct. He is manic and a bit crazy too, but I do not doubt for a second that any of these people are true believers. The accusation that Glenn is pushing the crisis button for ratings has never had any substance to it. Limbaugh says things just for the ratings (I can't think of a comparable left-wing personality...but they never get ratings anyway). Hannity and Huffington are just simpleton party hacks, as are most of the TV talking heads like Chris Matthews and Keith Obermann. Savage is 3/4 the way to a fascist but believes his own propaganda.

  21. Cory: "can't organize a peaceful protest"

    They have been protesting non-stop for more than a year. Isn't it kind'a odd that these rank ametuers have a history of peaceful protests and just went completely nuts now a week ago?


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