Friday, March 26, 2010

Teabagger Terrorists

I was trying not to comment on the ridiculous reaction of the teabaggers to the passing of the new health care laws. I thought it was just sour grapes, but I can understand that. There have been political battles that I didn't feel good about losing, and I did my share of complaining. But now certain elements in the teabagger movement (if it can be called a movement) have gone too far.

Consider some of the things that have happened:

-Bricks were thrown through the windows of Democratic congressmen in Arizona and New York.
-Black congressmen were called racial epithets and spit upon.
-A homosexual congressman was called a vile sexual epithet.
-Several Democratic congressmen were threatened with death.
-A Missoura congressman had a casket placed on his front lawn.
-In Virginia, someone tried to cut the gas line to a congressman's house (but had the wrong address and did it to his brother instead).

This goes far beyond political discourse -- even passionate political speech. This behavior has crossed the line into criminal behavior. It's political terrorism, reminiscent of al Queda-style politics. They lost a political battle, so they're trying to win that battle through threats and fear. That cannot be tolerated in a democracy.

I believe in free speech. People in this country have the right to demonstrate and put forth their views. They even have the right to do that in an offensive way. After all, if you've never been offended, then you don't live in a free country. But they don't have the right to behave in a criminal terroristic way, and anyone who does that should be arrested and punished.

Some Republicans have spoken boldly against this criminal behavior, while others seem afraid to make their teabagging base angry (or they agree with them). I have to think that some of them have fed into this unacceptable behavior with their over-the-top rhetoric -- "socialism", "Hitler", "the end of democracy", "government takeover", "death panels", "re-education camps", "return to slavery". None of these things are true, and they are used just to egg-on their followers.

Things have gone too far, and it's time to scale back the rhetoric. If not, there's going to be a tragedy somewhere. There's an element of the teabaggers who already think they can take the law into their own hands. They don't need any further encouragement.

In a democracy, it's just a fact of life that you'll win some battles and lose some others. That's the nature of the beast. But win or lose, we must keep the political discourse within the bounds of the law (and hopefully common decency). We live in a great country. Let's keep it that way.


  1. "A homosexual congressman was called a vile sexual epithet."

    I'm certainly not defending this kind of name calling, but I find it a little ironic that you chose to title this post "Teabagger" Terrorists.

  2. Are you making a funny joke about teabagging and homosexuals Curious Texan? I didn't know you had it in you, no pun intended.

  3. I'm actually a pretty funny guy, Chris. I managed to get a lol out of Andrea.

    (Hmmm, is it "a" lol, or "an" lol?)

  4. Except that I was laughing *at* you, not *with* you. But don't take it personally, I'm just confrontational like that.

    And the tea party people were the ones who coined their own 'teabagging' title last spring (as dutifully reported on Fox News, natch). It was up to the rest of us to point out how stupid, yet funny, that name is.

  5. Andrea,

    Regarding my comment about "obsessing over Sarah Palin," this is the problem with the written language. There was no way you could have seen my tongue placed firmly in my cheek when I wrote it. Likewise, I interpreted your "lol" and your ":D" to mean that you got the joke.

    Regarding the use of "teabagging" or "teabagger" to refer to the Tea Party movement, it's my understanding that Anderson Cooper of CNN was the first to use it in that context, on April 15, 2009.

    Here's a link to a video of his comment (for which he later apologized).

    In his apology, Cooper claimed that the tea partiers had referred to themselves as teabaggers before he did. But whereas they did mail teabags to themselves and to politicians prior to April 15, 2009, I've never seen any such use of the words "teabaggers" or "teabagging" by tea partiers predating Cooper's comment.

    If you can post a link to to such a reference by Fox News (or anyone else) that preceeds Cooper's comment, I'll be glad to admit I'm mistaken.

  6. Doesn't really seem to matter much. Regardless of what they call themselves, they act like a bunch of dimwitted jerks. If they want anybody to take them seriously, they need to check the spelling on their signs and try to at least appear to be something other than backwards homophobes/racists.

    Also, taking the teabag name is disingenuous. The members of the original Boston tea party were being taxed by England without representation. The teabaggers have representation, they are just currently outnumbered/outvoted. They are certainly represented as well or better than true liberals like myself are (yes, even by the current administration).

  7. That rocked! I didn't know Cooper made that comment but that was hilarious.

    Sorry to burst your bubble but it's true, they did coin the term, for its new political usage, anyway: top picture -

    This is more than a year old and predates Anderson's joke but you can see how easily us horrible people on the left picked up on the funny haha.

    About the Fox News angle, it seems their resident 'hipster' reporter Griff Jenkins understood the term and used it correctly in some taped segments

    Aaaand this is officially the most time I've spent on a comment about 'tea partiers,' who have plenty of representation in govt.

  8. Andrea,

    Pretty impressive research! I stand corrected.

    For what it's worth, the inspiration for the tea party movement is generally attributed to Rick Santelli of CNBC. Here's a link to his rant of February 19, 2009.


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