To the Editor,
Joining the chorus of Fox-sponsored Tea-parties are voices belonging to none other than members of our homegrown hate group, the Patriot’s Voice. In his 5.19 Op-Ed, “CEO” Robert Runyon announces a July 4th Tea Party scheduled for Bloomsburg Town Park. He invites American citizens who are “mad as hell.” Apparently citizens of other nations aren’t welcome at the park on July 4th.
Stay home you Canadians!
No Mexican citizens allowed!
You French folks stay away!
Runyon does, however, insist that the event is non-partisan, and that no political signage will be permitted—though I wonder on what authority he could actually keep me from holding up such a sign (perhaps one that reads: “Just say NO to Torture”)—in a public space—where my first amendment rights are fully protected—but let’s not quibble about silly things like rights. He wants a Tea Party. Fine. Now let’s see what he really means.
To discover this, you have to go to the “Obama Nation” page of the Patriot's Voice website where you’ll find a number of unsubstantiated claims directed at the Obama administration.
So much for non-partisan!
In fact, here you’ll find the full measure of the far right’s shrill, nationalistic, and patently racist Anti-Obama propaganda. No criticism of the Bush administration graces the website (although these are the same folks who posted their “Yeah for Joseph McCarthy!” page until it threatened to upset their runs for school board seats).
They claim that under Obama Americans will see the end of marriage, the imposition of Communism, the end of capitalism, the dictatorship of environmentalists, and global domination via the United Nations. According to the Patriot’s Voice, Obama will take away your guns, tax you into the grave, release terrorists onto U.S. soil, and make decisions about your healthcare that used to be your doctor’s.
They consistently refer to the Democrats as Democrat-Socialists. Makes you feel welcome to their party, doesn’t it? They go on to applaud Fox’s Glenn Beck who routinely compares the Obama government to the Nazis, and insists that you cannot be an American without being a Christian. I can only wonder where Runyon got the 76% of Americans who think we’re going in the wrong direction—since Obama’s approval ratings are sky-high.
But I suppose citing sources might distract from the fear mongering.
And a vacuous fear-mongering it is, since the 5.19 Op-Ed itself says virtually nothing about what we’re to be “mad as hell,” what “insanity” they oppose, what job-saving alternatives there are to the bailouts, which inalienable rights the government is threatening to reppress, what “empty promises” we’ve been sold, or what they mean by “social engineering.”
They simply parrot the scary—but utterly vacant—platitudes fed to them by the likes of Beck. If this is your idea of patriotism, by all means head out on Independence Day for the PV-Tea Party. But if you think that being a citizen means becoming engaged not merely at the level of hate-mongering propaganda, but rather in the critical evaluation of what Obama really says, what his proposals and policies really stipulate, what his appointments really represent, and what direction your country is really taking, skip the Tea Party.
It’s an easy thing to allow ourselves to be manipulated by patriotic-sounding slogans like “We’re mad as hell!” The challenge, however, is to be a citizen who can think for themselves. Nothing less than our democracy hinges on this thinking. The tea parties are, simply, a cynical attempt by a flailing far right to fire-up a mob in hopes of saving an ideologically waterlogged Republican Party.
That Patriot’s Voice members would be readily suckered by such a strategy is hardly surprising—but YOU don’t have to be.
Wendy Lynne Lee