Thursday, February 3, 2011

A RI Yankee's Tea Party

Obviously, I am an unabashedly liberal conservative in the strict-constructionist camp of non-revisionist history, geography and baseball hagiography. Certain things mystify me; others just bewilder me. Really, I just do not understand. As Elvis Costello sings, “I used to be disgusted, now I’m just amused.”

Well-off, educated, employed, older mainly European-Americans (so-called white folks) are the vast majority of Tea Party members and call themselves “Patriots.” The “system” has worked for them: they are well off, educated and employed or retired! They want to take “their” country back… from themselves? If the Tea Partiers that I see on TV or those who watch Fox (not really the) News, or Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity, were aboriginal native Amerindians I would say “Go For It!” No, the Tea Party members are the actual Caucasian winners; so they want what? A bigger, better victory? A Marcus Garvey solution? A return to ante-bellum times?

The governors of Virginia (Bob McDonald) and Mississippi (Haley Barbour) are celebrating the memories of Confederate veterans. Virginia and Mississippi are part of the southern USA, an area that currently claims to be more American and patriotic than the east coast, west coast or the (Yankee) north. The Civil War (or The War Between the States, in the southern idiom) was not about slavery or rebellion against the greater United States, it was about “states rights.” In a narrow way I agree: a state’s right to allow slavery within its borders. Slavery is/was wrong, therefore the Confederacy was wrong to insist upon slavery as a state’s right and was wrong to rebel against the federal government. The Civil War was a treasonous, terrorist act against the United States. Treasonous, terrorist acts against the United States are sometimes punished with execution (see Eddie Slovik, Sacco & Vanzetti, and Timothy McVeigh, amongst others). The treasonous Confederate rebels were compassionately pardoned (for the most part) and went on to found such stalwart American patriotic institutions as the Ku Klux Klan, the spiritual antecedent to many of today’s militias. They believe that the second amendment is gospel but want to repeal the fourteenth amendment. They believe that the founding fathers were perfect, a group that thought that slaves were worth only 3/5 of a human being for representation purposes, but not human for moral purposes. WTF, indeed.

Many of these American Patriots that are members of the Tea Party believe that Barack Obama is a Muslim. It should make no difference what folly a person believes in, so long as that person is performing their duties. Many of the same folks believe that Obama was born in Kenya and is, thus, not an American citizen. Many of the same folks equate Obama with Adolph Hitler, while calling Obama a Marxist. (OK, they are not that well educated, confusing a Marxist and/or a Nazi with a centrist Democrat. If you listen to Hannity and Beck religiously enough, anything is possible.) This as they shout out to Obama to “keep the government hands off my Medicare!” Many of these folks are screaming about their taxes, without realizing that they are paying less in taxes than they did under their fiscal god Ronald Reagan and his illegitimate acolyte George W. Bush. Hey, Ayn Rand used Medicare and collected social security.

The common thread here, to me, seems to be racism; similar to the racism that dominated baseball and caused the game to be restricted between the careers of Moses Fleetwood Walker and Jackie Robinson. How could a black man play baseball with a white man? How could a black person be president over white people?

And now, Sarah Palin has a WTF moment (she said it, not me) and gets it all wrong about sputnik; Michelle Bachman just gets it all wrong and misinterprets her own chart. I rather like this Tea Party stuff. Reminds me of the Know Nothing Party of the mid-1800’s.

Damn, that rant felt good!