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Tea Party Protesters Are Not Patriots

Recently, a friend posted a link to a Flickr photo site called Teabonics on Facebook. It features signs made by Tea Party protestors who have exhibited a creative use of the English language. Anyway, my friend posted the link without comment. I looked at it briefly and then went on with my life.

Since my friend and I went to school in a deeply conservative portion of the country, we have some classmates, and now Facebook contacts, that tend toward the ultra conservative. Speaking for myself, I consider my political views to be middle of the road. For example, I have no problem with background checks for gun owners, and have happily completed the form each time that I have purchased a gun; I want to own a gun, but I do not want criminals and crazy people to own them. That sentence will cause aneurisms in people to both the far left and right.  Anyway, one of our more vocal former classmates responded to the Teabonics link post with a rather remarkably insane rant that linked the Tea Party signs with the use of the word retarded (not mentioned by the Teabonics site or either my friend or myself) and went on to link Tea Party protestors with veterans and the founding fathers. The word "Patriots" was used. In other words, The Tea Party protesters lack of skill with the English language is patriotic because people in he 1700's might not have been good at spelling, either, and anyone who makes fun of them hates America. That would be the Real America(tm), obviously.

When people make statements like that it makes me think that universities should be required to offer a money back guarantee. I would like to submit that poster's comment to his university and request a full refund on his behalf. Clearly, he was cheated. Fox News started the Tea Party movement and they continue to promote it. It has nothing to do with patriotism. This is a ratings ploy and it is not new to the news business. The Spanish American War of 1898 was essentially started by Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolf Hearst so they could sell more papers. They whipped the American Public into a frenzy so they could profit. Rupert Murdoch does the same thing with Fox News. The commentators stick to a very strict set of talking points, and are not particularly bothered about fact checking. Presenter after presenter reads these talking points day after day and they convince people that they are correct. They are following the practice of making people believe it if they repeat it enough times, and unfortunately, it works. Fox News announces that there will be a protest at a given time and place, and people show up, and good golly they have a new story. Would you just look at these protestors? What an amazing coincidence that we told people to come to the rally so they could see themselves on TV, and then they came to the rally.

Everyone has the right to free speech and the freedom of assembly. If they want to march around with badly worded signs so they can get their 15 minutes of fame, then go for it. Awesome. They are not my concern. My concern is what this is doing to the country. A college educated classmate with a good job and a nice family actually believes that these protestors are Patriots on a par with the people who fought in the American Revolution. This opinion is often shared and repeated by people who are interviewed at Tea Party rallies. People are starting to take this Patriot label seriously and they are using it to justify illegal and even treasonous behavior. If an otherwise law abiding, 70 year old man snaps and tries to run someone off of the road because they have an Obama/Biden bumper sticker, or a Christian Militia plots to kill police in an attempt to start an uprising against the government, then we have a problem.

These people who have crossed the line between protesting and breaking the law probably have some kind of issue that has nothing to do with Mr Murdoch, but the climate of animosity created and exploited by Fox News is not helping. As another friend so wisely said, at some point they're [Fox News] going to cross the line between being a sideshow barker and shouting "fire" in a theater. One thing is certain: Tea Party protestors are most definitely not patriots.

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