My wife and I just finished watching a DVD rental of a dark, quirky Spanish psychodrama entitled “Sleep Tight.” It’s about a guy who suffers from lifelong depression that leaves him unable to experience happiness unless he can make somebody else profoundly unhappy. The plot revolves around the pursuits of making life miserable for occupants of a Barcelona apartment. His repellent deeds are the handiwork of an awful human, Cesar, who works in the building as a combination desk clerk, doorman and handyman. The film has a happy ending for the antagonist; not so much for everybody else who crosses his demented path.
The Tea Party is our Cesar. Like Cesar, Teapublicans are only happy when responsible for making most of America unhappy. Let’s see what makes this ridiculous and destructive collection of billionaire puppets tick.
From the beginning the birth of the Tea Party has been woven into a fanciful tale of Trevor Leach, a right-wing young protester activist in New York, being the catalyst for this “grassroots” movement in early 2009. A national movement was supposedly born days after Barack Obama’s inauguration with a couple of dozen fuzzy cheeked college students dressed in Native American garb and dumping water from soda cans into Binghamton’s Susquehanna river in reaction to a proposed tax increase on soft drinks. The protesters (most of whom were living off of ma and pa’s money I assume) claimed to be “taxed to death” (I doubt any of them had ever paid taxes). It was the coming out milestone for the official introduction of a movement that had been in the planning stages for a decade or so before its warm and fuzzy public debut.
And molding its narrow stable of Tea Party policies and philosophies were the self-serving ‘captains of cancer’ tobacco industrialists and a handful of pampered, filthy rich power-mongers bent on shaping this country in their greedy image. The Binghamton temper tantrum was followed by numerous well-orchestrated protests around the country.
The current Tea Party universe is somewhat splintered. Some chapters are whirlwinds of activity, others use their membership as an excuse to get together on occasion, bitch, listen to radical right-wing speakers, beating the government out of taxes by doing nothing that a 501(c)3 is obligated to do and little else.
What we really have is a loose confederation (how appropriate) of people under the overarching banner of the Tea Party, but with a great assortment of names. Just about any outfit with Liberty, Patriot, Citizen and Constitution in its name can be considered either directly linked to the Tea Party or a fellow radical traveler. These organizations philosophically allied with the Tea Party are in every corner of our nation.
There are also sub-sets of groups, mostly militia, that represent the scary and generally heavily armed wing of the movement. The Southern Poverty Law Center has a list that I believe you’ve see before on this site. It shows the militia presence in this country; militias for whom every day is a reenactment of the Civil War and most of these trigger-finger, faux-constitutionalists wouldn’t hesitate a nanosecond to put a bullet in a progressive brain if they thought they could get away with it.
So the base crowd that elects the nuttiest people ever to populate a modern-day Congress, can easily coalesce into a blast email, social media flash mob of pitchfork wielders in a matter of days, if not hours. And they’ve all been fed the same political pablum/ pabulum (either will suffice): Unyielding opposition to all things ACA (known to low information, racist as Obamacare), opposition to any federal program that helps the poor (feeding starving children for instance) and any and all “entitlements.” Speaking of the wee ones, the TPers and their ilk want to pull them all out of public education so parents can pay through the nose to profiteering privateers (PPs) who have found schools to be a potentially huge markup profit center. Free Markets are a great favorite of the right.
The talking TP heads need only reduce economics to “Taxed to death” and “Trickle down” and “Redistribution of Wealth” and “defund Obamacare” and “Uncle Sam as the devil” and “Impeach the President” (the ultimate right-wing wet dream) to get Teddy Tea Party’s attention. As a typical Tea Party disciple, he’ll be one of the great numbers who still turn out in droves to hear the latest irrelevant drivel of Sarah Palin (no rational person takes her seriously), Oliver North and whichever homophobic boob might have a free afternoon to spend at the podium.
In their latest ploy to discredit the president, the Tea Party seems to have originated a story about Michelle Obama graduating in the same year, 1985, from Princeton as one Toni McCall Townes-Whitley. You see Mrs. Townes-Whitley is Senior Vice-President at CGI, the Canadian company that’s taking all the heat for the HealthCare.gov insurance exchange marketplace sign up website problems. She joined the company in 2010. Not only did these two accomplished black women graduate in the same class, they’re both (GASP) members of the Association of Black Princeton Alumni Association. Holy Chicken Livers!!! I’ve got to look into this monumental piece of implied White House ethical mischief.
So, dammit, I started looking and looking and looking. The first thing I discovered was that the story was generated by either the “Daily Caller” or a website called “Tea Party” (teaparty.org) or the online publication “Washington Examiner”, owned by the right-wing billionaire, Philip Anschutz. Fox News jumped on the story and Glenn Beck’s “The Blaze.” Tiny extremists blogs and sites also rubber-stamped the malarkey, but no legitimate news or pundit sources seemed remotely interested in the story.
That’s probably because nowhere in any account of the coincidence of the same graduation year was there even a hint that the two women knew each other or had ever met. Ergo, no story!
BuzzFeed has a wonderfully objective portrait of CGI’s government contract background. Nothing Obama-suspicious to see here folks.
Nonetheless, ever the fair-minded progressive, I decided to further pursue the truth from the Tea Party source about Michelle’s role in striking such a mauvaise affaire with her close pal’s company, CGI Federal. I called a 24/7 phone number listed under “contact us” on the TP website. A nice lady answered and seemed to have no knowledge of what the hell I was talking about when I inquired whether Michelle and Mrs. Townes-Whitley had ever known each other. It turns out she was just a hired hand from a company that is paid to take messages and phone numbers. I left a number and thanked her for her time and trouble.
Will I hear from the Tea Party and if so, will there be more to the story? And if there’s not more to the story, will the Tea Party spokesperson admit the implied assertions were artificially pumped up to make the White House look bad?
Will pigs fly? I’ll let you know on all counts.
Raised rural & small town, then lived in N.Y., Chicago & LA. Widely traveled. Returned from world wandering to pursue media life of anchorman/reporter and major, medium and small market talk radio. Highly active in politics. Once worked as orderly & security in Mens Lock Ward for the Criminally Insane at a state institution. Much more rational population than current Teapublicans. Great concern for country run by and for the extreme wealthy. The inhumane current running through this country has no precedent in modern history.
Follow me on Twitter @demwriter
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