September 13, 2009

Decoding the teabagger code

For those who still don't understand what the conservative teabag movement is all about, here's a helpful guide:

  • "Socialism" = "They" are taking away our money and giving it to "them."

  • "Big government" = "They" are taking away our money and giving it to "them."

  • "Too many taxes" = "They" are taking away our money and giving it to "them."

  • "Too much spending" = "They" are taking away our money and giving it to "them."

  • Welfare programs = "They" are taking away our money and giving it to "them."

  • Obama's school speech = "They" are trying to turn our children into "theirs."

  • Healthcare reform = "They" will get something and we will lose something.

  • "Public option" = "They" will make decisions that may hurt us.

  • "Death panels" = "They" are coming to hurt or kill us.

  • Approval of torture = We need to hurt or kill "them" before "they" hurt or kill us.

  • War on terrorism = "They" are trying to take away our way of life.

  • English-only laws = "They" are trying to take away our way of life.

  • Illegal immigration = "They" are coming to take away our way of life.

  • Gun control = "They" want to take away our protections so "they" can hurt or kill us.

  • "Activist" judges = "They" want to take away our protections so "they" can hurt or kill us.

  • "Original intent" = We make the decisions; "they" don't.

  • Birth-certificate questions = Obama is one of "them," not one of us.

  • Jeremiah Wright protests = Obama is one of "them," not one of us.

  • Obama as a Muslim = Obama pretends to be one of us, but he's really one of "them."

  • Obama as a "half-breed" = Obama pretends to be one of us, but he's really one of "them."

  • Obama as a witch doctor = "They" are charlatans, scammers, quacks.

  • Obama as a monkey or gorilla = "They" are savages, beasts, animals.

  • Obama as the Joker = "They" are criminals, brutalizers, madmen.

  • Obama as Hitler = "They" are conquerors, killers, evildoers.

  • On the pure economic issues, the key indicator is that there wasn't a single march or rally when Bush massively increased the size of the federal government and the national debt, launched massive new expenditures including two wars, and instigated a massive bailout of the financial industry. If there's a rational explanation for why the protests happened only after Obama became president, I've yet to hear it.

    These protests aren't about the issues. If they were, you'd hear specific, fact-based claims. For instance, "Bush's $3 trillion budget was just right, but Obama's $3 trillion-plus budget crossed the line." Or, "We support Method X to ensure that everyone can afford health insurance, but we oppose the so-called public option." (Note: Method X is a fiction since conservatives haven't presented a viable alternative to healthcare reform.)

    Instead, what you hear at these protests is irrational paranoia and fear. You hear scary sound bites such as "Socialism!" and "Death panels!"--which the people uttering them can't even define. You see scary signs such as Obama as the Joker, Hitler, or a "half-breed Muslin." The protests usually veer into rants against gun control, illegal immigration, or whatever it is that conservatives claim to loathe.

    In short, these protests aren't about anything real, concrete, or specific. They're about conservatives' fear of the unknown--of "them."

    Who are "they"?

    As for who the "they" and "them" are, look at the composition of the so-called Tea Parties. As previously noted, these people are 99% white. Lower middle class. Middle-aged men with either military crew cuts or biker tattoos. Too many people who watch Fox News and not enough people with college educations. Heck, not enough people who can write or spell correctly.

    "They" is everyone who isn't a teabagger: a Palin-style "real American." In other words, liberals, socialists, One-Worlders, poor people, minorities, immigrants, feminists, homosexuals, atheists, intellectuals, "elitists," et al. Basically, anyone who isn't a white male Christian who loves God and country in roughly that order.

    Given the teabaggers extra credit for inspired use of the term "half-breed." In old Westerns, the half-breed vied with the Indian as the villain. One could argue that the half-breed was worse. He was white enough to know how society worked, how civilized people acted. He could live and move among "real Americans" without fear of detection. But he was really a spy for "them," the forces of evil. He was a traitor to his race, a backstabbing Judas. Inside the facade of civility lurked a monster.

    Not convinced? After you're done explaining why there were no protests against Bush, explain why the Tea Parties are overwhelmingly white. Are minorities too stupid to understand that conservatives are trying to help everyone, not just themselves? Or have minorities correctly read the Tea Parties as a pure expression of white privilege? As patriotic, God-fearing white Americans who are trying to protect themselves from anyone who's "different"?

    White teabaggers vs. brown "others"

    As I've shown, the teabagger mentality is little more than "them vs. us." America vs. the rest of the world. Good guys vs. bad guys. Cowboys vs. Indians. White skins vs. brown skins. White vs. black.

    In other words, it's a xenophobic, racist fear of the other. This has been a driving force in America ever since the first colonizers saw Indians and deemed them "savages" and "heathens." It's still a driving force, but now the "savage" is a Harvard-educated black man--i.e., a radical, socialist "half-breed" who's turning the White House into a black house.

    Note to conservative idiots who don't understand hyperbole: This entire posting, especially the paragraphs directly above, consists of gross generalizations. Please don't waste my time listing exceptions that you think disprove my claims. Unless you can come up with a general theory that explains the teabagger movement better than my general theory, don't bother responding.

    Any questions? If you need any other teabagger code-words decoded, feel free to e-mail me. For more on the subject, see America's Cultural Mindset.

    Below:  Some "real Americans."


    Rob said...

    Enjoy some pictures of the Tea Party rally in Washington DC:

    I especially like the Confederate flag, a longstanding symbol of white supremacy. And the poster directly linking Obama with Islamic terrorists. Thanks for making your feelings plain, people.

    Rob said...

    Maureen Dowd nails the racism inherent in the recent right-wing protests. Some excerpts:

    Surrounded by middle-aged white guys—a sepia snapshot of the days when such pols ran Washington like their own men’s club—Joe Wilson yelled “You lie!” at a president who didn’t.

    But, fair or not, what I heard was an unspoken word in the air: You lie, boy!

    The congressman, we learned, belonged to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, led a 2000 campaign to keep the Confederate flag waving above South Carolina’s state Capitol and denounced as a “smear” the true claim of a black woman that she was the daughter of Strom Thurmond, the ’48 segregationist candidate for president. Wilson clearly did not like being lectured and even rebuked by the brainy black president presiding over the majestic chamber.

    I’ve been loath to admit that the shrieking lunacy of the summer—the frantic efforts to paint our first black president as the Other, a foreigner, socialist, fascist, Marxist, racist, Commie, Nazi; a cad who would snuff old people; a snake who would indoctrinate kids—had much to do with race.

    But Wilson’s shocking disrespect for the office of the president—no Democrat ever shouted “liar” at W. when he was hawking a fake case for war in Iraq—convinced me: Some people just can’t believe a black man is president and will never accept it.

    “A lot of these outbursts have to do with delegitimizing him as a president,” said Congressman Jim Clyburn, a senior member of the South Carolina delegation.