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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tea-Bagging Stupidity at its Best

Conservatism is fracturing between two opposing forces: rationalism and stupidity. On the one side, you have the intelligent voices of reason from people like Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty and the Late Milton Friedman, while on the other you have the ignorance, hype and downright stupidity of Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and 99.9% of the tea-bagging, Paul Revere wannabe, Gadsden Flag-waving idiots of the "Tea Party."

Case in point: Therese Cooper, an eighth-generation descendant of Revolutionary War leader and orator Patrick Henry and devout Tea Party activist. She is "100% certain" that her ancestor would be leading a tea party demonstration if he was alive today:
If Patrick Henry were alive, he would be coordinating a Tea Party today...I remember my great-grandmother talking about our family history. I am very proud. Patrick Henry gave everything to fight for his freedom. Why should it be any different now? We all need to be willing to give everything for the country we love.
Yes, Ms. Cooper's chest-thumping, tear-jerking sense of devotion to her country is inspiring but sadly, her history and understanding of her ancestor's heritage has much to be desired. As Ed Brayton points out on his blog:
[Cooper] apparently suffers from irony deficiency. With all the grandiose talk from the tea baggers about upholding the constitution, does it not occur to them -- or to those descendants themselves -- that it's a bit strange to be claiming the legacy and mantle of a man who refused an invitation to attend the Constitutional Convention and then vociferously opposed the passage of the constitution?

Patrick Henry is the one who said of the passage of the constitution, "I conceive the republic to be in extreme danger." The new constitution, he said, would mean the "utter annihilation of the most solemn engagements of the States." If Henry had had his way, Virginia would not have ratified the constitution and it would likely have failed.
And if that's not enough, take the case of Mr. Bill Whittle who believes that modern day tea nuts are the "direct heirs to the founding generation" and that the Founding Fathers would "all be marching with us." Mr Whittle goes on to suggest that George Washington would have declared war on Barack Obama for his economic bailout and that Jefferson would have joined him, based on Thomas Jefferson's infamous quote that, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it's natural manure."(A quote, incidentally, that inspired the likes of Timothy McVeigh)

Well, sadly Mr. Whittle's history is every bit as lacking as Ms. Cooper's. First off, it's unlikely that Washington would "declare war" on Obama for the bailout since he himself allowed his Secretary of Treasury, Alexander Hamilton to do something similar. And as for Jefferson's infamous "Tree of Liberty" quote that Whittle tosses around, well, he forgot to mention this part:
The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon & pacify them.
Gee, what a novel concept. Set people right as to the facts. Sounds like something the tea freaks are desperately lacking.

And while skeptics will point out that these are just two random examples of stupidity that hardly represent the "mainstream" Tea Party movement, I would remind you of the COUNTLESS number of examples of misspelled signs, ignorant protests, misguided ideas and demonstrations of pretended patriotism that permeate the movement at its core. Besides, one really cannot call himself/herself a patriot without a basic understanding of this country's history and heritage. Like the fanatical religious zealot who is so certain of his/her church's validity without having ever read or understood the church's basic doctrine, these Tea Party fanatics insist that they are the sole guardians of America's history and the heritage of the Founding Fathers by simply throwing out obscure quotes and dressing up in old colonial robes. But sadly, their patriotism is hollow and shallow.

As Martin Luther King once stated, "There is nothing more dangerous to the world than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."