Fear and Loathing in Tea Party Land

Every tyrant who has lived has believed in freedom — for himself.
• Elbert Hubbard

The outright hatred and racism evident on our televisions during the so-called tax protests clearly illuminated the true reasons for these “spontaneous” gatherings: conservatives, afraid their lifestyles will be taken away (and their political power) and fueled by stealth promotions on Fox News (“We deny everything!”), want to be listened to. The pictures available on the web show the depth of their outrage — it’s non-existent. The tea parties were carnivalesque in atmosphere, and the angry “protesters” showed up less to protest than just to be seen on camera.

It was, plain and simple, a freak show, a circus of the disenfranchised, desperate to be heard, and their Maobama t-shirts, their badly-written posters, their reliance on conservative tropes and cliches — and lies — showed the majority of Americans just how backward and egotistical the far-right fringe really is.

The tea parties coincidentally came right on the heels of a federal study warning that far right extremists could perhaps prove dangerous. This study, is, of course, President Obama’s fault, and conservatives are up in arms that the government will soon be watching them.

First: we needed a study for that? Hell, extremists on any side can be dangerous.

But the conservatives have got it wrong. The study was conducted under the Bush administration and was just now released. Face it: The difference here is that W. and his cronies would have squelched the results from being made public. Nothing wrong here. Go on about your business. On the other hand, President Obama has, for the most part, been open with the public, and in doing so has proved that his administration, so far, is going to remain as open as possible. The results are the results, he didn’t ask for them, but there they are. Let’s move on. And as to conservatives being monitored — remember who started watching innocent citizens after Sept 11, 2001. Phone tapping, email gathering, the attempts to access library records . . .

Let those without sin cast the first stone, okay?

Paranoia. All this is the result of the unarticulated conservative fear — the knee-jerk, emotional response ingrained in our forebears when tribe fought against tribe with stones and sharpened sticks for fear that their food would be taken away, or their way of life somehow changed . . .

It’s the us or them mentality. It’s cro-magnon against neanderthal. And what that boils down to is a dangerous, irrational and unspecified fear: There is something out there, and it scares me . . . so let’s kill it!

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy, that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.
• John K. Galbraith

After a post a few days ago about the tea parties, an anonymous reader left me a message to go to a website and read a press release from their “group,” the Chester Patriots. I wish I could have — every time I tried, something on his group’s site froze my computer.

What I could see, however — mentions of 9-12, We Surround Them, the Federalist Papers — was enough to start some more research on the Internet, and gave me enough clues that suggested what I would find would be conservative propaganda.

It is — but it’s worse. It’s conservative propaganda — and an agenda — promoted by ultra-right whack job and on-air talking head Glenn Beck.


Glenn Freakin’ Beck.

The Joker.

Newton’s First Law of Motion, also called the Law of Inertia, which states an object in motion tends to stay in motion, would seem to imply that an operation that starts fucked-up tends to stay fucked-up.
• Larry Beinhart


The 9-12 Project takes its logo from the first cartoon — editorially or otherwise — published in an American newspaper, designed and published by Benjamin Franklin in the Pennsylvania Gazette on May 9, 1754.


(Of course, it’s telling that the Beck Marketing Machine had the temerity to steal, and then subvert, Franklin’s cartoon, without even giving the founding father credit on the website. They added two pieces to the American snake, and gave it the tail of a rattler with twelve segments. But this is piddling. The cartoon has been out of copyright for about two hundred years, so they can do what they want with it. Benjy, however, an intelligent 18th century liberal, scientist and hedonist, is probably rolling around in his grave.)

Since Beck and his marketing machine are in charge of these agendas, I have complete and utter faith that they are now — and will end up, just like the Moral Majority, Jimmy Swaggert and James Dobson’s career — fucked up beyond all recognition.

The main body of the Beck Snake is made up of nine principles:

1. America Is Good.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.

On the surface, all this sounds great. But let’s be realistic, shall we? (And you can make your own conclusions about how these are derivative of the Ten Commandments.)

1. America Is Good.
But we can act badly. Don’t even try to defend our actions in the cells at Guantanamo. Yes, America is ultimately good . . . but we can be better.

2. I believe in God and He is the Center of my Life.
I know many loyal Americans — and moral Americans — who do not believe in God. Conservatives do not have a monopoly on God, Christianity, or on simple, moral living. And are you aware how many Americans don’t believe, don’t go to church, and don’t cut their hair?

3. I must always try to be a more honest person than I was yesterday.
Good advice. More politicians, religious figures and psychics should heed it.

4. The family is sacred. My spouse and I are the ultimate authority, not the government.
This completely disavows the authority of Americans who choose to be single. And to what exactly does it refer?

5. If you break the law you pay the penalty. Justice is blind and no one is above it.
Tell that to Nixon, Bush and Cheney.

6. I have a right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, but there is no guarantee of equal results.
Ideally, we WOULD have those rights. But those are not rights as guaranteed by the Constitution. The phrase is not law at all, and is from the Declaration of Independence.

7. I work hard for what I have and I will share it with who I want to. Government cannot force me to be charitable.
Who said you had to? I don’t get this one.

8. It is not un-American for me to disagree with authority or to share my personal opinion.
No, active dissent is perhaps the most American activity one could take. But why is it so many conservatives fight against dissent, especially when it’s aimed at America itself?

9. The government works for me. I do not answer to them, they answer to me.
Sounds to me like somebody is afraid of something . . .

And the 9-12 Project’s 12 Values:
* Honesty
* Reverence
* Hope
* Thrift
* Humility
* Charity
* Sincerity
* Moderation
* Hard Work
* Courage
* Personal Responsibility
* Gratitude

Not sure how Charity got in there, considering the 7th Principle . . .

Every effort to confine Americanism to a single pattern, to constrain it to a single formula, is disloyalty to everything that is valid in Americanism.
•Henry Steele Commager

On the surface, most of those principles and virtues aren’t bad at all. As a matter of fact, I already follow most of them — and the Beck Marketing Machine says that it’s all right if you don’t believe all their tenets — you can believe just seven of them, your pick, and you can still be in the club. That’s about as scientific as a Facebook quiz — Which Car are You?

The problem is, it doesn’t really matter if you follow these principles — you still have to declare yourself a conservative to be considered a patriot by the Beck/Limbaugh/Fox News entourage.

Why do I say that? Look at the 9-12 Project’s homepage. They have “news” and opinions on the left hand side, and not one of the items pertains to their principles or virtues. Instead, they all push forward the traditional conservative propaganda: Anti-Obama, anti-the Environmental Protection Agency, anti-Hispanics and immigration . . .

In other words, they’re hiding behind the tenets of so-called patriotism and American values in order to promote their real agenda: taking America back from the liberals — THEM — and exploiting it for the conservatives — US.

Which brings us to WST — We Surround Them. From Glenn Beck’s website:

“Do you watch the direction that America is being taken in and feel powerless to stop it?

Do you believe that your voice isn’t loud enough to be heard above the noise anymore?

Do you read the headlines everyday and feel an empty pit in your stomach as if you’re completely alone?

If so, then you’ve fallen for the Wizard of Oz lie. While the voices you hear in the distance may sound intimidating, as if they surround us from all sides the reality is very different. Once you pull the curtain away you realize that there are only a few people pressing the buttons, and their voices are weak. The truth is that they don’t surround us at all.

We surround them.”

I laughed when I read this, because this is exactly how I and most of my friends felt during the eight years of the Bush regime.

And it requires just a little bit of clearing up. Both Liberals and Conservatives are in minorities. The majority of Americans are simply people who go about their lives, day by day, strong enough not to have to declare their devotion to one side or another, but who can see the forest for the trees; who can judge for themselves if an issue is not white or black, but a shade of gray.

Conservatives: you most definitely are surrounded.

But we’re not your enemies. We’re not THEM.

We’re Americans. That’s all.


Many people never grow up. They stay all their lives with a passionate need for external authority and guidance, pretending not to trust their own judgment.
•Alan Watts

Why would anybody like the Chester Patriots — probably a bunch of nice guys I could hang out with and share a few beers with — follow as shallow and callous a radio/tv personality as Glenn Beck? Is their innate need to be led so strong that they will, lemming-like, follow a leader blindly as long as he waves the flag? As long as he gives them the lip-service they crave?

Make no mistake: Glenn Beck’s name is on this project, but the leader behind it is his marketing machine. This is promotion. This is mobilization of his hardcore fans in order to maintain his ratings. Ratings = commercials and sponsors; and commercials and sponsors = $$$$$$.

You have been used by Fox News and the Conservative think tanks and herded into your Tea Parties like sheep, bleating against the unstoppable wind.

Conservatives: you’re being used by the Joker for his own gain — not yours. And the joke is on you.

They’ll nail anyone who ever scratched his ass during the national anthem.
• Humphrey Bogart

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6 thoughts on “Fear and Loathing in Tea Party Land

  1. Came across your blog for the first time. You poor moronic, misguided, angry soul. Your tirades are so antiquated, tired and dull. You make Castro look like a boy scout. Yawn. I won’t be coming back (and I’m a Liberal).

    Like

  2. To my eye, 9-12’s principle #7 is fear of socialism. Charity through taxation. My feeling is that when humanitarianism works towards saving our very society, culture and street peace, it is no longer mere charity but necessity.

    Like

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