Thursday, March 25, 2010

Something Hilarious Someone Else Said

"Violence and racism, these things are antithetical to the whole idea of freedom and everything that we stand for. It goes against my basic political philosophy. We judge people based on their individual character and merit, not on some group identity politics. That's what the left does, we don't do that on the right. That's not something I engage in." -FreedomWorks Grassroots Director Brendan Steinhauser on Your World with Neil Cavuto, commenting on the threatening and racist voicemail messages being received by members of congress after the health care reform bill was passed earlier this week (transcribed by me).

So let me get this straight: you claim that you evaluate people as individuals and don't unfairly lump them into groups or judge them based on group identity politics and you back this statement up by... casting aspersions upon and condemning an entire group of people based on group identity politics. "We don't make broad generalizations or judgements about large groups of people, but that large group of people over there does it all the time, and they're horrible for doing it." Look, I make a point to never say ignorant shit like "The right always does this..." or "The left never does that..." because people who say these things, on both sides of the aisle, sound like partisan idiots. Neither side of America's political divide has an exclusive claim on ethics or morality and I find it equally annoying when people from either party say that they do or condemn the other side as bereft of these concepts. The vast majority of people on the left and the right in this country are basically good people who are usually overshadowed by outspoken morons on their respective teams, and of course the media focuses on them. Controversy means ratings, which mean money. I don't think I'm saying anything new here.

As to Mr. Steinhauser's complaint (he blames the media for colluding with Democrats to portray all teabaggers as violent racists based on the recent words and actions of a few), going on television and stating that you condemn violence and racism is all well and good but it's also pretty much the very least you could do to stop it from happening within your organization, aside from completely ignoring it of course. I'm just saying, I see teabag protesters holding up signs advocating violence and racism against Obama all the time and I never see any of their fellow protesters or organizers confronting them about it. Yes, I understand that they make up a tiny minority of your group but if you don't adequately police yourselves or make any kind of effort to weed those people out because they help to swell your numbers and fuel your outrage then you are also tacitly approving of their message. What do you think the words "If Brown can't stop it, a Browning can" on the sign at the top of this post are supposed to mean? Freedom of speech is great but I don't see anyone else at least trying to get him to put that sign down out of concern for how it portrays your movement as a whole. Until you make the effort to remove the people holding these signs or leaving threatening voicemail messages or spitting on congressmen from your organization, you will all rightly be lumped into the same ideological camp regardless of your protestations to the contrary. That's not media bias, it's political reality.


JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

I resent and am angered by everything you and everyone else said unless they agree with me and Liz Cheney.

JBW said...

That argument is truly impenetrable. Kudos, T10Cheney, you embody everything I've come to expect from American politics.

Unknown said...

Make an effort to remove the people with signs you don't like? Are you serious? First off, what kind of crap is that? Talk about trashing the first amendment! I love how the first amendment needs protection when it's the left touting hate and violence, but when it's the right, we need to stop it in it's tracks. Also, you are aware that the freedom to keep and bear arms was given for the very protection of the people against their government, right? I'm not at all advocating violence, but you should stop and think about what you're saying before you just blurt it out.

You're attempting to sound fair and come off sounding undereducated and immature...especially when you're STILL calling them "teabaggers". I kinda love it though; we all know that "teabaggers" is supposed to be a term used when speaking about gay men...so now you also sound like a bigot because you're using the term in a derogatory way.

You should also know that while most of the members of the Tea Party are Conservative, there are also plenty of Liberals in the party (as well Independents and Libertarians). Americans in general feel like government spending is out of control; anyone who thought Bush was spending too much (which he certainly was), has got to also think that Obama is doing the same (only worse because he's spending more).

Anyway, the point is...until the Tea Party actually becomes violent, it's all protected by the first amendment and just because you don't like what they're saying doesn't mean they don't have the right to say it. It's not illegal (yet) to disagree with our government!

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

By the way, I'm curious as to how you're getting your information. What data are you using to verify that messages left have been by conservatives let alone members of the Tea Party? What information is being used to identify people who are spitting in faces and such? I'm curious because with the polls (especially regarding this health care bill), most Americans are none to pleased, not just conservatives, so how is it that you know that this is all coming from the right?

You can't be realistically assuming that because it's targeted at the left must mean it's coming from the right...I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that you're not that naive. One side passed the bill, so clearly they would be the ones targeted. But most of the country doesn't want it, Liberals and Conservatives alike, so how is it you know what side the offenders are on?

JBW said...

OK Crista: I never said you should remove people with signs you don't like, I just said that if you don't the rest of you will rightfully be associated with the ideas expressed on those signs. If the guy standing next to you at your protest is wearing a Klan robe and holding a sign calling Obama a monkey and none of you say anything in objection, expect to be similarly identified as a bigot (and I say the same thing to liberals about Bush at Iraq War protests).

And yes, I'm fully aware that the freedom to keep and bear arms was given for the very protection of the people against their government, and I fully support that right as well. I just question the civility and intelligence of implying that if democratic processes don't work then firearms will be used to stop legislation you disagree with. Search my blog for posts about gun rights and then tell me which of us blurted something out without thinking.

I've never claimed not to be immature (although again, a cursory glance around this site should allay any concerns about undereducation on my part) and I STILL call you teabaggers because I think it's funny (plus many of you rightfully deserve mocking). As to the term teabagging be reserved only for gay men: I take it by your name that you're a girl/woman despite your unwillingness to share your Google profile (what are you hiding, I wonder?;-)). If I were to offer to share that particular sex act with you, would it still only apply to gay men? Continue to call me a bigot as you ponder that...

I'd also ask you: where are you getting your information that "there are also plenty of Liberals in the party (as well Independents and Libertarians)"? I'm aware of no polls that show this and you've cited none in your comments. Yes, I'm sure you could point to a couple anecdotally but until you come up with some verifiable numbers I'll consider them statistically insignificant.

JBW said...

(continued from last comment) As to out of control government spending, when Bush ran up record debts and deficits, passed the Medicare D plan without funding it and started two costly and deadly wars, again without funding, I don't remember any tea parties. Eight years, no tea parties; year and a half, shitload of tea parties (and much of Obama's spending has been to prevent the looming economic disaster fomented and exacerbated by his predecessor). Your "movement" is short on principle and long on hypocrisy. I'm sure you'll employ some mental gymnastics to get around these inconvenient facts but that will make them no less true.

You're correct that some on the left and some moderates don't agree with this legislation but for many of them it's because it doesn't go far enough to reform health care, not that they want it scrapped as you do. And since the vast majority of those against this reform are on the right it's safe to assume that threats to congressmen who voted in favor of it came from the same source. Here's my formula: someone spits on a Democratic congressman, I assume they're from the right; someone throws a shoe at a Republican president, I assume they're from the left. I won't always be right using it but the odds of my being so are much better than any you'll find in Vegas, honey.

And please, quote back to me what I said about tea baggers not having the right to say things I don't agree with, or that it should be illegal to disagree with our government. Please. And before you try to do so, let me save you the trouble by telling you that you won't be able to because those are just weakass strawmen you're trying to knock down. And my favorite is the parenthetical "yet", as if the left's secret plan to eliminate free speech will shortly come to fruition now that we've finally elected a man who hates America enough to carry it out. I'll bet you lie awake at night crying and worrying about the Fairness Doctrine being reinstituted despite the fact that only people on your side ever bring it up anymore. Say anything you want and I'll defend your right to do so Crista, if only because it will make it easier for me to mock you when you write things like you have here today. Thanks for reading Brain Rage!

Leslie Parsley said...

I refer to 'em as Tea Buggers on a good day.

With Freedom of Speech comes responsibility.

I guess you don't consider throwing bricks through windows a violent act or cutting gas lines?

Anonymous said...

That's interesting. I had read her parenthetical "yet" in reference to the potential violence... not the elimination of free speech.

The teabaggers can say whatever they want. It's the teabagees who should be gag-ordered!

JBW said...

"The teabaggers can say whatever they want. It's the teabagees who should be gag-ordered!"

Booyah, one L! I officially dub that the comment of the day.

Stop Touching Me said...

I have to say, I love, love, love when people justify violence & love to shove their point of view down others throats but not even willing to look at all perspectives of the situation. The problem with people in this country is they are so quick to tell everyone else what they should be doing, but too lazy to do anything themselves, other than flapping their gums. The problem with politics is not the politicians themselves, its the American people who give the power over to politicians then want to get pissed off because they mess it up. Teabaggers are the epitome of passing the buck instead of taking responsibility for their own choices. You blame Obama for the economic mess, but there was 8 years of Bush running our country into the gutter & you sat there drinking your tea. But of course its not Bush, but Im willing to bet had it not been a black man elected, the teabaggers would be bagging something else. I agree to freedom of speak, but not to the freedom to pass the buck on to someone else because we didnt do our job as American citizens. The funniest part, is most of the teabaggers are part of the lower income range & because they are so biased they would rather be broke & destitute than to support a president who regardless of whether he succeeds or not, is at least trying something different. Im sure you will have plenty to say on this one, but really, I dont care. I can see things from all perspectives & can respect other peoples points of view. I believe opinions are like assholes, everyone has one & they usually stink. Im just giving you a whiff of mine.