Thursday, April 15, 2010

Oh, to be middle-aged, white and angry

Actually, I'm all three. Although I'm really just angry at the people who are hoarding most of the anger in the country in the form of the Tea Party.

And, today is Christmas for Teabaggers across the land. Unwrapping anger on our national day when taxes are due gives Teabaggers the opportunity to vent about the Constitution, government, Obama, Obama's birth, Obama's Muslim roots, health care, deficits and illegal immigrants, to name just a few of their pet peeves.

You would think they were just disgruntled ex-employees with diminished prospects for their futures. But, no. They've got money and brains, so to speak.

Here's a New York Times poll that shows Tea Party members are richer and more educated that the average American. Here are a couple of highlights:

"The 18 percent of American who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

"And while most Republicans say they are 'dissatisfied' with Washington, Tea Party supporters are more likely to classify themselves as 'angry.' "

The Bend Tea Party organized an event today, but not in Bend. About 100 protesters stood beside Highway 97 in a hay field across from the former Funny Farm halfway between Bend and Redmond waving American flags and signs that were unreadable to those vehicles streaking by at over 60 mph unless they wanted to cause a huge pile-up requiring the government to untangle. But, it was the thought that counts.

Officially, the rally was called "Take Back America," which is strange because America hasn't gone anywhere and hasn't changed much. And, who are Teabaggers to demand that they alone get America back. An angry, vocal minority is still a minority.

That's ironic, because we have a "minority" in the White House. Maybe Teabaggers are angry at being marginalized the way most minorities are in this country. When they really think about it, they should be identifying with President Obama, not praying to Jesus for his assassination.

The Bend Tea Party's website has all sorts of "information" from videos and photos to commentary and book reviews.

For example, the "Must Read of The Week" is a piece by Michelle Malkin, a Right wing-nut who believes the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II was the right and proper thing to do. Malkin, a Filipino-American, gets paid to make such outrageous claims on Fox.

Under "Commentary" on the Tea Party Website is a piece by military Dr. Terrence Lakin, who faces a certain court-martial, about how Obama is not a native-born American and therefore is forbidden by our Constitution to hold the office of president.

The lunatic fringe has always played a significant part of American life. This piece from Harper's Magazine in 1964 shows how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Basically, paranoid fantasies, be they from Birchers or Birthers, get too much play, and therefore legitimacy, from the mainstream media and its fascination with contrived conflict.

Of course, the Bend Tea Party's website says: "Recognize the mainstream media for what it is: the enemy."

That was point seven under the "Tea Party Warrior's Field Manual." Apparently, Fox News, the most successful cable "news" site is not mainstream enough.

The Bend Tea Party website has 124 members and has seven board members: Lucy Brackett, John Carrigg, Mike Guidero, John Philo, Sheila Simcoe, Keith Sime and Rich Stanfield.

The NY Times poll story has some choice nuggets in it that maybe the local Teabaggers should read:

"I just feel he's getting away from what America is," said Kathy Mayhugh, 67, a retired medical transcriber in Jacksonville. "He's a socialist. And to tell you the truth, I think he's a Muslim and trying to head us in that direction. I don't care what he says. He's been in office over a year and can't find a church to go to. That doesn't say much for him."

Then again, they probably agree with Mayhugh.

But Teabaggers don't really know what they stand for or what they want. The following concludes the NY Times poll story:

When talking about the Tea Party movement, the largest number of respondents said that the movement’s goal should be reducing the size of government, more than cutting the budget deficit or lowering taxes.

And nearly three-quarters of those who favor smaller government said they would prefer it even if it meant spending on domestic programs would be cut.

But in follow-up interviews, Tea Party supporters said they did not want to cut Medicare or Social Security — the biggest domestic programs, suggesting instead a focus on “waste.”

Some defended being on Social Security while fighting big government by saying that since they had paid into the system, they deserved the benefits.

Others could not explain the contradiction.

“That’s a conundrum, isn’t it?” asked Jodine White, 62, of Rocklin, Calif. “I don’t know what to say. Maybe I don’t want smaller government. I guess I want smaller government and my Social Security.” She added, “I didn’t look at it from the perspective of losing things I need. I think I’ve changed my mind.”

Perhaps more local Teabaggers need to have their minds changed.

We got the biggest refund ever this year on our taxes and our income was the same as last year. That's called a tax cut, not a tax hike.

I'm sure most Teabaggers got a tax cut by today, April 15, the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. But, the Teabaggers are still trying to re-arrange the deck chairs on a vessel that sunk 98 years ago. It's time they let go.

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