This letter to the editor appeared in Monday's Laconia Daily Sun.
The author, one E. Scott Cracraft managed to use every single discredited and bigoted cliché in the book in his effort to paint the TEA party and its activists and supporters as the next Nazi Party. Originally I thought to just post it and my reply and leave it at that. But after rereading Mister Cracraft's diatribe, I realized what it really deserved was a complete fisking to show what a clueless and unthinking "useful idiot" he has become.
In spite of the efforts by the Tea Partiers (and the corporate media) to make the "Tea Party" movement
appear "mainstream," the movement's "core" is far from mainstream. This movement includes people who arm themselves to overthrow a legally elected government. In some states, they have advocated succession from the Union. Some anti-Obama activists have even gone as far as calling for a military coup against the Obama administration.
This guy has tried to tie just about every fringe group he can think of to the TEA party movement. I'm surprised he hasn't tried to include the Weather Underground. Oh. Wait. It's President Obama
who has ties to members of that domestic terrorist organization!
Cracraft's accusations ring hollow if for no other reason that there's been absolutely no evidence tying any of the militia groups to the movement. The "core' as he calls it has no desire to overthrow the government except by the same means the present government came to power - the ballot box. But there will be one difference: we won't need to stuff ballot boxes or commit massive voter fraud in order to throw the bums out.
The Tea Partiers also include religious conservatives who have forgotten that the U.S. Constitution does
not make the American Republic a "Christian Country" but rather separates church and state while providing the most religious freedom possible. Others want to ban a woman's right to reproductive freedom. Interestingly, these same people who cry out against abortion also judge "welfare moms" for having too many babies! And yes, in spite of the movement's public rejection of racism, there are
some racists in that movement These people cannot accept the fact that the American people (and the Electoral College) elected an African-American President with a "foreign" sounding name. Many of these are "Birthers," who even question President Obama's right to be president even though he won the election fairly and legally. No mainstream politician of either party has supported this lie but this urban legend persists, largely due to some of whom are in the Tea Party movement or who support it.
This country was first settled by religious refugees seeking to be free to practice their religion without interference from either their rulers or the established churches. Cracraft seems to forgotten this as well as the Constitution states there is a freedom of
religion, not just freedom from
religion. Over the past 50 years or so too many in this country have done their best to drive free expression of religious belief underground as if it were a dirty little secret to be hidden away from prying eyes. They have used the courts to redefine the meaning of the First Amendment in such a way as to ban almost all public displays of belief. Being a person of faith is not a disqualifier
for holding public office, despite what Mr. Cracraft would apparently like to believe.
He also seems to believe that only the TEA party has racists. I hate to disillusion him, but there are far more racists within the Democratic Party than the TEA parties. He also ignores the fact that quite a few TEA party supporters voted for Obama and have since come to see him for the disingenuous big-government socialist he is. That isn't racism. That's regret. The only similarity between the two is that they both begin with the letter 'r'.
Then too, the anti-immigrant sentiment on the part of many Tea Partiers can be construed as racist. I rarely hear those opposed to immigration reform talking about white, European immigrants. It is usually about Asians, people from the Middle East, and Hispanics. Racist or not, there does seem to be and element of the "politics of meanness" among the Tea Partiers.
We aren't anti-immigrant. Many of us are
immigrants or children of immigrants. We are anti-illegal
immigrant. There's a big difference between the two. It's possible Cracraft is incapable of telling the difference because to him all the illegal immigrants are future Democrat supporters...once they can figure out a way to grant them amnesty and a short ride to citizenship. Never mind the legal immigrants such a move will screw over.
Conservatives have frequently criticized liberal presidents in the past, including President Clinton, but no conservative has gone so far as to question their qualifications to serve. "Red-baiting" has become common on Tea Party signs and at Tea Party gatherings. No liberal candidate has been called a "communist" or a "traitor" to his or her country in a long time. This includes people that are more liberal than Obama. The Constitution, in order to protect our political freedom, narrowly defines what
"treason" is and I fail to see how our current president fits this definition. Thus, I cannot help but believe that there is a strong racist element in the movement against President Obama.
As the old saying goes, "You shall know them by the company they keep." It is Obama
who has consorted with known and self-avowed anti-American terrorists (Bill Ayer and Bernadine Dohrn, just to name two). It is Obama who, for almost 20 years, attended an unabashedly racist church with a pastor who spouted bigoted, racist rhetoric and called upon God to damn America, much like any radical Muslim cleric.
Of all our previous Presidents, only Obama
has worked so hard to conceal his past, the details of his upbringing, his scholarship, and his vital statistics. Every other President's life was an open book. But not Obama's. We know nothing of his academic achievements. We know nothing of any articles or papers he might
have authored while editor of the Harvard Law Review
. And what we do know of his time at HLR is not flattering, with more than one colleague of his from his time there saying he was basically a do-nothing editor-in-name-only, deigning to grace the others working there with his presence from time to time and not much more.
The Tea Partiers are not engaging in "mainstream" talk. They have an extreme reactionary agenda which should be a concern of every American. They are using violent language, arming themselves, and even calling themselves "right wing terrorists." I have to laugh when a self-commissioned
militia "colonel" spoke of defending themselves against leftists at a recent Tea Party in Washington.
In case you have not heard, armed left-wing groups in the United States pretty much died out with the
Weather Underground in the 1970s. It is not the liberals or progressives who are dressing up in camouflage and conducting field maneuvers utilizing automatic weapons (I think the Second Amendment calls for a "well regulated militia" with a chain of command subordinate to the elected
civilian authorities and not a bunch of grown boys playing army in the woods). Nor is it the liberals and
progressives who are making death threats to members of Congress with whom they disagree.
There he goes again, painting a picture of the TEA party supporters as fringe militant wackos. Well guess what? All these guys are are fringe element wackos, but they aren't TEA party folks. They have as much to do with the core of the TEA party movement as you do, which means none.
If all he knows of the TEA party is what he's seen on TV or from the New York Times, Washington Post, the Huffington Post, or the Daily Kos, then Cracraft is so mis- and un-informed as to be laughable. Not one of these 'sources' is reliable, unbiased, or without a political agenda that does not have the good of the American people as their focus. Like any media source, left or right, they can't be trusted.
The fact that he appears to do so shows he's become incapable of thinking for himself and can only parrot what these sources have programmed him to say.
Some Tea Partiers, in their literature and websites, even call for employers to fire liberal employees
simply because they are liberal. It does not matter what the employee's work performance is like. They also want to remove liberal teachers from our schools whether or not they are good teachers. They even encourage their followers to break off social relations with liberals and to totally marginalize them. And they accuse liberals of "intolerance?"
I've heard this claim, but I haven't seen a shred of evidence. He's made the claim. It's up to him to prove it.
I know I don't want the good teachers to be fired. But what I don't want are educators that aren't teaching what they're supposed to be teaching and are instead indoctrinating our children, teaching them what
to think, not how to think, how to reason things out on their own. These days far too many of our kids are coming out of school totally unprepared to make it in the real world. They haven't been taught the critical thinking skills that will allow them to succeed away from the indoctrination centers we call schools. All they've been taught is how to allow others to think for them and to not question what they've been told.
As far as tolerance is concerned. The most intolerant people I have come across in my life have all been liberals. For them, tolerance is something other people must have, not them.
The Tea Partiers and their ilk protest and claim that as a "grass roots" movement, they are not responsible if there are some "wackos" in their ranks. But, while urging the American people not
to "paint them with the same brush," the Tea Partiers seem to paint all liberals and progressives as Marxists, communists or terrorists, if not worse. And, I am not sure that they are even using these terms accurately. Therefore, it should not come as a surprise that many of their opponents tend to paint them as "racists" and "fascists."
When a large majority of the liberals/progressives in power spout Marxist/Communist ideals and support leftist/fascist dictators over democratically elected governments, then yes we'll call them Marxists and Communists and fascists.
When our President insults our staunchest allies and embraces our enemies with open arms, then yes, we will paint him with the same broad brush. To quote yet another old saying, "By their actions you shall know them." So far our President's "smart diplomacy" has done more damage to America's foreign relations in a little over a year than eight years of Dubya's presidency.
One also has to be cynical about the "grassroots" label: the Tea Partiers and their Tea Parties are being funded by some very wealthy conservative interests. Some of these interests do not want banking reform. Others have a personal stake in seeing that meaningful health care reform is eventually
defeated. How else could Sarah Palin pull down $100,000 per speech? Also, one look at a typical Tea Party website shows the movement's close association with extreme right-wing national movements and organizations.
Oh, really?Just who is financing the TEA party movement? I notice he didn't name names. He made the claim, it's up to him to prove it.
On the other hand, the Democrats, and particularly the extreme left-wing of the party, has been heavily financed by multi-billionaire George Soros, an unabashed socialist (his claim, not mine) and someone who is not a friend of the American people. Like most on the Left, he believes we aren't capable of making our own decisions and he's willing to spend his billions to make sure our ability to do so will be stripped from us, one step, one right at a time. Also, much of the Hollywood elite are willing to support political causes most Americans find repugnant. They pour millions into the Democrat party to help elect candidates that are more than willing to dismantle the Constitution because we're too stupid to understand that we need the morally bankrupt progressives to tell us what we need.
As to Sarah Palin's $100,000 speaking fee: So what? When she speaks at TEA party functions she has given that money to help fund the movement on more than one occasion. Bill Clinton pulls down that much for the same thing, but Cracraft hasn't asked who's financing his speaking engagements, has he? It's a specious point. Get over it.
I have no doubt that there are well-meaning members of the "silent majority" in the Tea Party movement who are simply afraid of government and who came blame them? The Federal
Government can be scary to all of us! After eight years of George Bush, who turned a federal budget surplus into a deficit through his wars and giving tax breaks to rich Americans, who would not be suspicious of the federal government and its motives? The well-meaning Tea Partiers should consider who their real "enemy" is: the "Military/Industrial Complex" (a term, incidentally, coined by a Republican, not a liberal Democrat) which has received more taxpayer money than every "welfare cheat" combined.
First, a good part of Clinton's budget surplus was funded by borrowing money from the Social Security Trust Fund, which has not been paid back and never will be.
Second, Bush didn't give tax breaks just to the rich. He gave them to every tax payer...unless Cracraft's definition of 'rich' is the same as that of the Democrats in Congress - Anyone with a job.
Third, at least one of those wars was not started by us, not by George Bush. It was started by Osama Bib Laden after his follower committed an act of war against the United States, one that was greater than the attack on Pearl Harbor back on December 7, 1941.
Fourth, the other war was started by Saddam Hussein in 1990. We merely got around to finishing it.
Initially, this anti-government movement included a large number of libertarians. While not always agreeing with them, I have always respected the libertarians more than the Republicans who seek to hijack their movement. The libertarians oppose government intrusion into any aspect of our lives. While they are against taxation and "big government," at least they are consistent. They may
oppose taxation but they also are champions of personal liberty and oppose government
interference in what one smokes or who one sleeps with.
I have to agree that the GOP has been trying to hijack the TEA party, trying to 'bring it into the fold', as it were. But we're too pissed off at the GOP, and particularly those within the party that we call RINOS, - Republicans In Name Only. The GOP betrayed its libertarian roots and became a somewhat less liberal version of the Democrat Party with the same spendthrift tendencies.
As we have seen, the RINOS had no problem spending money the American people didn't have. But that's no excuse for the Democrats to double down and create a deficit in one year that was bigger than Bush's deficit over eight years. (And we must remember these two things: the Democrats
controlled Congress during the last two years of the Bush Administration - a time during which the two biggest budget deficits occurred - and that all spending starts in the House of Representatives.)
Mainstream America is sick and tired of being ignored by our employees, who spend without our leave, impose programs upon us we neither want or can afford to pay for, and forget that they work for us, not the other way around.
Unfortunately, the Tea Party Movement seems to have been taken over by extreme GOP conservative hypocrites who are committed to protecting corporate interests. While they whine about government interference in terms of regulating business, they seem to have no problem with regulating a person's
personal lifestyle choices. While the Tea Partiers oppose government getting involved in health care, they seem to have no issue with banning same-sex marriage or medical marijuana. I hope the "well-meaning" Tea Partiers eventually realize which side they are really on.
Oh, and the Democrats haven't been doing just that, and rather blatantly while they're at it? They haven't passed legislation that created 'regulations' and 'rules' and laws whose sole aim is to cripple competition and lock out the small guy. They aren't pandering to those same corporate interests?
Cracraft has attributed far too many motivations to the a vast majority of TEA party supporters and activists. Mostly, we want to be left alone by government, want government to get its financial house in order, want the government to start following the Constitution, want the government to stop spending money it doesn't have and won't have in the future. Abortion, gay marriage, and a host of other social issues aren't even a blip on our agenda.
The resistance to health care has nothing to do with denying people health care, but does have to do with its unsustainable cost, its intrusive nature, and its destruction of one of the best health care systems in the world all in the name the overused and purposely misdefined term 'fairness'. My question is, fair to who?