Memo to Tea Party: Actually, I Want My Country Back


Rising Star
Super Moderator
<font size="5""><center>
Memo to Tea Party:
Actually, I Want My Country Back</font size>
<font size="4">

Want respect tea partiers?
Here are five words you can lose,
and five things you can do.</font size></center>

Getty Images

The Root
By: David Swerdlick
April 18, 2010

<font size="3">Memo to the tea partiers, et al: We'll be cool—really—if you just stop using that phrase.</font size>

You know what I'm talking about. The five words that you deploy accidentally on purpose to tell the president and a whole lot of other Americans that they're not really Americans: <font size="3">"I want my country back."</font size>

<font size="3">"I want my country back" = Insulting Shorthand:</font size>

  • It's shorthand for the way Sarah Palin described Boston tax day tea partiers as "These hard working, good, equality and liberty loving, good, everyday Americans."

  • Shorthand for: Tea partiers are real Americans and everyone else is a socialist, atheist mongrel scrounging for handouts while "palling around with terrorists."

It's worse than "love it or leave it"—which at least had the benefit of a point of view; and worse than "show us the birth certificate"—which at least means that you've got a goal.

People don't have to don Revolutionary War costumes to prove their loyalty to the Constitution; there are better ways to demonstrate how much you love this country other than quitting your job as governor of Alaska. Tea partiers seem to feel like they've been dismissed by the federal government and the mainstream media. (Never mind that their rallies get 24/7 coverage on cable news outlets.) But they haven't done what people do when they want to be taken seriously.

Want respect?

Here's what you do:

<font size="4">Embrace Disco</font size>

Tea party events still have a whiff of those "Disco Sucks" rallies from the late ‘70s.

When tea partying, just keep in mind that there's someone out there who thinks your music sucks, too. If you display too much glee while burning BeeGee records or effigies of your congressman, what do you expect other people to think of you? Don't like being treated like a lynch mob? Stop acting like one.​

<font size="4">Shun The Birthers</font size>

Even some of President Barack Obama's supporters probably wish he'd break out his original birth certificate, just to put an end to birther madness—but it won't work. Anyone who questions the bona fides of a certified copy can question an original just as easily. If tea partiers want to be seen as spirited, engaged civil libertarians picking up where Ross Perot left off, and not fringe separatists, then they should swiftly and publicly purge their ranks of birthers and fringe separatists.​

<font size="4">Taste Your Own Medicine</font size>

For 50 years, the "patriotically correct" crowd preached to people of color, gays and lesbians, pacifists, feminists, urban dwellers, Sierra Club members and other "politically correct" "elites" that America was an egalitarian capitalist nirvana set on auto-pilot. Attempts to rock the boat were not welcome. Concerns were to be taken to the ballot box.

Now that they're in the streets, the far right has to suck it up and take a little bit of the heat it dished out.​

<font size="4">Get Mad Sooner</font size>

But the real rap on tea partiers isn't that they're street rabble. It's that they're only just now getting riled up over issues that have been here for years. Seventy-six percent of tea partiers polled by Politico after tax day rallies believed that President Obama is "pursuing a socialist agenda." But where were they before?

Any tea partier who voted Nader/Badnarik/McCain in the last three presidential elections can lay claim to the moral high ground. But anyone who voted to reelect George W. Bush in 2004 pretty much cosigned the Iraq war and an unfunded Medicare Part D. They helped pave the way for Katrina and TARP. It's pretty fishy now if your default stance is to man the barricades just because Barack Obama hasn't ended two wars, eliminated the national debt, fixed the schools and smacked down bankers in his first fifteen months.​

<font size="4">Be For Something</font size>

And it makes sense if you're against healthcare reform. But why not say what you're for?

If you call stimulus funds and bailouts generational theft, just think how your kids would like to inherit a world where they don't inherit anything because the Dow dropped to 3000 and your 401(k) is empty. And then explain why a banking collapse would have been better.

If you're tired of taxing and spending, pledge that if your taxes are cut, you'll never file for unemployment, Medicare, Social Security, an SBA loan, a Pell Grant, a farm subsidy, a U.S. Passport, drive on an interstate highway or mail a letter.

More than anything, it should be the tea party movement's goal to dispel the perception that the real source of their outrage, their—pardon my French—raison d'être is that they simply can't accept the results of the last election. So far, they've been unconvincing.

RedState's Erick Erickson gets it. Last week, the increasingly prominent conservative blogger wrote to fellow conservatives that after tax day protest events, "I hope you'll leave the tea party protests behind and engage in the process." It's pretty good advice.

One of the greatest things about this republic—along with the First Amendment, apple pie, and digital cable—is that when it comes to elections, there'll always be another one.​

<font size="3">That's how we do it in our country.</font size> So, tea partiers, next time you stage a rally or disrupt an otherwise orderly town hall meeting, if you leave your musket and your powdered wig at home, lose the posters with the president made up as Hitler and abandon cries of "get your government hands off my Medicare"—you'll get some respect. Really.

<SPAN style="BACKGROUND-COLOR: #ffff00">But lay off "I want my country back." No one took it away—and it never just yours in the first place.</span>

David Swerdlick is a regular contributor to The Root. Follow him on Twitter.,0


Rising Star
Super Moderator
<font size="5"><center>
Tea Party supporters want to
'take their country back'. To where?</font size>
<font size="4">

The party they are voting for and the candidates
they back have actively worked to undermine what they really want</font size></center>
Gary Younge
Sunday 10 October 2010

<p>The city emerges from the Arizona desert like a sprawling conurbation in search of an environmental impact assessment. Over the last 20 years Tucson's population has grown by 27% as thousands came looking for land, work and retirement. The two major demographic forces here for more than a generation have been those who came to start their lives over and those who came to die.</p><p>The surrounding desert became a blank canvas for new building. Coachloads of speculators were driven in from&nbsp;California to buy a piece of the real-estate action. Between 1998 and 2006 house prices doubled. When economic gravity intervened, parts of the country like this fell hard. House prices in Tucson are down to the level they were in 2004. Since foreclosures in the state now account for almost half of all home sales, they have much further to fall. A&nbsp;state that was never very wealthy now&nbsp;has the <a href="" title="">second-highest poverty rate</a> in the country. One in five are poor: roughly the same proportion that have no health insurance.</p><p>When the <a href=";NR=1" title="">CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli became the first to call for a "tea&nbsp;party"</a> to prevent the government bailing out the "losers' mortgages" in February 2009, these were the kind of losers he was referring to: those unlucky enough to have just signed on the dotted line when the good times stopped rolling. "This is America!" he yelled from the floor of the Chicago stock exchange. "How many of you people want to pay for your neighbour's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills?" The traders booed.</p><p>The only thing more stunning than the contempt that Republicans in general and the Tea Party in particular have shown for working- and middle-class Americans during this recent crisis is the propensity of those same Americans to back them.</p><p>The issue here is not false-consciousness – the notion that people do not know what is right for them. There are legitimate philosophical reasons why people – including the poor – might be in&nbsp;favour of lower taxes and less government. But polling shows that <a href="" title="">when it comes to poverty, the elderly and education, if anything people want to do more rather than less</a>.</p><p>But that is not what they are going to&nbsp;get. It is the Democrats' failure to sufficiently deliver that has provided the&nbsp;fertile ground for this cynicism to grow. But it has been the right that has&nbsp;been providing the manure and tending the plot. In terms of policy and rhetoric the country has moved beyond a stage where reasonable people might differ, to the realms of fantasy, calumny and idiocy.</p><p>The Republican governor of Arizona, Jan Brewer, is opposed to the stimulus bill which, among other things, is weatherising homes for the poor and putting solar panels on government buildings in her state – creating work for thousands of people in a place that has 271,400 fewer jobs since the recession. But <a href="" title="">nine out of 10 dollars of stimulus money – about $443m – remains unspent</a>. When asked for her opening statement during a televised debate, <a href="" title="">Brewer stopped halfway through, stared blankly into the camera and started giggling</a>. Yet, she holds a double-digit lead over her Democratic challenger.</p><p>In West Virginia the Republicans were&nbsp;recently exposed putting out <a href="" title="">a call for actors with a "'hicky' blue-collar look" who could appear in an ad as "coal-miner/trucker types"</a> trashing the Democrat, Joe Manchin, for his affiliation with Obama. Manchin, currently one of the most popular governors in the country, is trailing his Republican opponent by three to five points.</p><p>In a political culture where basic, verifiable facts cease to matter, political debate is inevitably debased. Add to that a polarised media, in which people access the truth they seek, rather than the one that exists, and it has given rise to bespoke realities: people don't just think different things, they know different things. And some of the things they think they know are just wrong.</p><p>For all his faults, if Obama can only convince a third of Americans he is a Christian and less than half that he was definitely born in the US, then what chance does he have of convincing them of his plans for healthcare or revitalising the economy.</p><p>A short drive from Tucson, Jesse Kelly, the Tea Party Republican candidate for Arizona's 8th district, takes his&nbsp;place in the Vail town parade. This would seem like unpropitious territory for a candidate who favours eliminating the minimum wage, privatising social security on&nbsp;which the elderly rely, and paring government down to its bare essentials.</p><p>However, with less than a month to go before the midterm elections, Kelly is in serious contention against the incumbent Democrat, Gabrielle Giffords. She is a moderate Democrat who supported healthcare reform, the stimulus bill, and carbon trading – all lightning rods for Republicans. Nonetheless, Giffords' team were delighted when Kelly won the primary against a far more moderate candidate, claiming in an August memo that "their prospects for re-election had brightened significantly" with the selection of a more extremist candidate.</p><p>The fact that Giffords and Kelly are locked in such a tight race – the respected Nate Silver gives Giffords a <a href="" title="">51.7% edge over Kelly</a> – raises two contradictory questions about the current electoral moment in the US.</p><p>The first is why Kelly is not doing better. This district voted for George Bush twice – in 2000 and 2004 – and John McCain in 2008, and had a Republican Congressman until 2006, when the Democrats took the seat. That year was hailed as a landslide for Democrats. If this were also going to be a landslide, the Republicans would have sewn up the district by now. But they haven't – at least not yet. So while large numbers of Democratic seats are in play, <a href="" title="">Republicans have put fewer beyond doubt at this stage than they had hoped.</a> The situation is incredibly volatile and could well be decided by slender margins in several places.</p><p>The second, more enduring, conundrum, is why Kelly is doing as well as he is. Giffords is a strong candidate with a lot of money. In a constituency where around 40% of the voters are 60 or over, Kelly has derided Medicare – the government programme that assists seniors with their healthcare – as the <a href="" title="">"public dole"</a>. That alone should have thwarted his chances. Moreover, Arizona's 8th district would appear to need government more than most. Sprawling over 9,000 square miles, it has a population less than two-thirds the size of Birmingham in an area considerably bigger than Wales. Left to its own devices, no market would build schools, roads or sewage works here.</p><p></p><p>Back in Vail, Kelly's supporters stand outside the Guns and Ammo store with two flags flanking a banner bearing his name: the first is the stars and stripes, the second the Tea Party emblem of a coiled snake and the words "Don't Tread on Me". Kelly takes his place in the parade behind a family in period costume and ahead of some men on Harley Davidsons. His positioning is apt.</p><p>When Tea Party supporters talk about "taking our country back", they are – in part – expressing nostalgia. They literally want to take it backwards to a past when people had job security, and a couple on a&nbsp;middle-class wage could reasonably expect their children to have a better life than their own. The party they have been voting for and the candidates they are supporting now have actively and openly worked to undermine those aspirations. Their frustration at the Democrats' inability to deliver on their promises should be eclipsed only by their fear that the Republicans do manage to deliver on theirs. No wonder they are so angry. They keep treading on their own toes.</p>



Rising Star
Super Moderator
<font size="4"><center>
An Open Letter to the White Right,
On the Occasion of Your Recent,
Successful Temper Tantrum</font size></center>

T i m W i s e
November 3, 2010



For all y’all rich folks, enjoy that champagne, or whatever fancy ass Scotch
you drink.

And for y’all a bit lower on the economic scale, enjoy your Pabst Blue Ribbon,
or whatever shitty ass beer you favor.

Whatever the case, and whatever your economic station, know this…

You need to drink up.

And quickly.

And heavily.

Because your time is limited.

Real damned limited.

So party while you can, but mind the increasingly loud clock ticking away
in the corners of your consciousness.

The clock that reminds you how little time you and yours have left.

Not much more now.

Tick, tock.

Tick, tock.



I know, you think you’ve taken “your country back” with this election — and
of course you have always thought it was yours for the taking, cuz that’s
what we white folks are bred to believe, that it’s ours, and how dare anyone
else say otherwise — but you are wrong.

You have won a small battle in a larger war the meaning of which you do
not remotely understand.

‘Cuz there is nothing even slightly original about you.

There have always been those who wanted to take the country back.

There were those who, in past years, wanted to take the country back to
a time of enslavement and indentured servitude.

But they lost.

There were those who wanted to take us back to a time when children
could be made to work in mines and factories, when workers had no legal
rights to speak of, when the skies in every major city were heavy with
industrial soot that would gather on sidewalks and windowsills like volcanic

But they lost.

There were those who wanted to take us back to a time when women could
not vote, or attend any but a few colleges, or get loans in their own names,
or start their own businesses.

But they lost.

There were those who wanted to take us back to a time when blacks “had
no rights that the white man was bound to respect,” – this being the official
opinion of the Supreme Court before those awful days of judicial activism,
now decried by the likes of you – and when people of color could legally be
kept from voting solely because of race, or holding certain jobs, or living in
certain neighborhoods, or run out of other towns altogether when the sun
would go down, or be strung up from trees.

But they lost.

And you will lose.

So make a note of it.

Tweet it to yourself.

Put it on your Facebook wall and leave it there so you’ll remember that I
told you so.

It is coming, and soon.

This isn’t hubris. It isn’t ideology. It is not wishful thinking.

It is math.

Not even advanced math. Just simple, basic, like 3rd grade math.

The kind of math that proves how your kind — mostly older white folks
beholden to an absurd, inaccurate, nostalgic fantasy of what America
used to be like — are dying.

You’re like the bad guy in every horror movie ever made, who gets shot
five times, or stabbed ten, or blown up twice, and who will eventually pass —
even if it takes four sequels to make it happen — but who in the meantime
keeps coming back around, grabbing at our ankles as we walk by, we having
been mistakenly convinced that you were finally dead this time.

Fair enough, and have at it. But remember how this movie ends.

Our ankles survive.

You do not.

Michael Meyers, Freddie Kreuger, Jason, and that asshole husband in that
movie with Julia Roberts who tracks her down after she runs away and
changes her identity–they are all done. Even that crazy fucker in Saw is
about to be finished off for good. Granted, he’s gonna be popping out in
3-D to scare the kiddies, so he isn’t going quietly. But he’s going, as all
bad guys eventually do.

And in the pantheon of American history, conservative old white people
have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic
and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American
with others on equal terms.

Fine, keep it up. It doesn’t matter.

Because you’re on the endangered list.

And unlike, say, the bald eagle or some exotic species of muskrat, you are
not worth saving.

In forty years or so, maybe fewer, there won’t be any more white people
around who actually remember that Leave it to Beaver, Father Knows Best,
Opie-Taylor-Down-at-the-Fishing Hole cornpone bullshit that you hold so
near and dear to your heart.

There won’t be any more white folks around who think the 1950s were the
good old days, because there won’t be any more white folks around who
actually remember them, and so therefore, we’ll be able to teach about
them accurately and honestly, without hurting your precious feelings, or
those of the so-called “greatest generation” — a bunch whose white
contingent was top-heavy with ethical miscreants who helped save the
world from fascism only to return home and oppose the ending of it here,
by doing nothing to lift a finger on behalf of the civil rights struggle.

It’s OK. Because in about forty years, half the country will be black or
brown. And there is nothing you can do about it.

Nothing, Senõr Tancredo.

Nothing, Senõra Angle, or Senõra Brewer, or Senõr Beck.

Loy tiene muy mal, hijo de Puta.

And by then you will have gone all in as a white nationalist movement — hell
you’ve all but done that now — thus guaranteeing that the folks of color,
and even a decent size minority of us white folks will be able to crush you,
election after election, from the Presidency on down to the 8th grade
student council.

Like I said, this is math. And numbers don’t lie.

Bottom line, this too shall pass.

So enjoy your tax cuts a while longer.

Go buy whatever you people buy when your taxes get cut: a new car or two,
a bigger house, an island. Whatever.

Go back to trading your derivatives, engaging in rampant financial speculation
that produces nothing of value, that turns the whole world into your personal
casino. Whatever.

Play your hand, and for the love of God play it big. Real big. As in, shoot for
the moon big. As in, try to privatize Social Security, and health care, and
everything else. Whatever.

At least that way everyone will be able to see what you’re really about.

We’ve been trying to tell them, but nothing beats seeing it with your own
eyes, so “Go big or go home,” Bubba.

“Git ‘er Done.”

“Cowboy up,” or whatever other stupid catch phrase strikes your fancy.

Just promise you’ll do more than talk this time.

Please, or as one of your celluloid heroes might put it, “make my day.”

Do whatever you gotta do, but remember that those who are the victims of
your greed and indifference take the long view.

They know, but you do not, that justice is not for the sprinters, but rather
for the long distance runners who will be hitting their second wind, right
about the time that you collapse from exhaustion.

They are like the tortoise to your hare.

They are like the San Francisco Giants, to your New York Yankees: a bunch
that loses year after year after year, until they finally win.

You have had this confidence before, remember?

You thought you had secured your position permanently after the overthrow
of reconstruction in the wake of the civil war, after the elimination of the
New Deal, after the Reagan revolution, after the Republican electoral victory
of 1994. And yet, those you thought you had cowed and defeated are still

Because those who have lived on the margins, who have been abused,
maligned, targeted by austerity measures and budget cuts, subjected to
racism, classism, sexism, straight supremacy and every other form of
oppression always know more about their abusers than the abusers know
about their victims.

They have to study you, to pay careful attention, to adjust their body
armor accordingly, and to memorize your sleep patterns.

You, on the other hand, need know nothing whatsoever about them. And
this, will surely prove politically fatal to you in the end. For it means you will
not know their resolve. Will not fear it, as you should.

It means you will take their greatest strength — perseverance — and make
of it a weakness, called losing.

But what you forget, or more to the point never knew, is that those who
lose know how to lose, which is to say they know how to lose with dignity.

And those who suffer know how to suffer, which is to say they know how to
survive: a skill that is in short supply amid the likes of you.

You, who could not survive the thought of minimal health care reform, or
financial regulation, or a marginal tax rate equal to that which you paid just
10 years earlier, perhaps are under the illusion that everyone is as weak as
you, as soft as you, as akin to petulant children as you are, as unable to cope
with the smallest setback, the slightest challenge to the way you think your
country should look and feel, and operate.

But they are not.

And they know how to regroup, and plot, and plan, and they are planning
even now — we are — your destruction.

And I do not mean by that your physical destruction. We don’t play those
games. We’re not into the whole “Second Amendment remedies, militia,
armed resistance” bullshit that your side fetishizes, cuz, see, we don’t have
to be. We don’t need guns.

We just have to be patient.

And wait for you to pass into that good night, first politically, and then,

Do you hear it?

The sound of your empire dying? Your nation, as you knew it, ending,

Because I do, and the sound of its demise is beautiful.

So know this.

If you thought this election was payback for 2008, remember…

Payback, thy name is…



Rising Star
Super Moderator
<font size="5"><center>
Tea Party supporters want to
'take their country back'.
To where ?</font size>

Arkansas State Senator Jason Rapert
speaks to the issue

<iframe width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>