No group can be as uncivil as the Tea Party
From Grady Warren’s incredibly racist and insulting video rants to Joe Wilson screaming out “You lie!” during a State of the Union address in 2010 to a few people booing an Army officer serving in Iraq, we are inundated on a daily basis with crass and insulting behavior from Tea Party members, pundits and politicians.
Most recently, this rudeness was evident on Sean Hannity’s Fox program. Friday, June 21st, right wing radio host Bill Cunningham attacked Tamara Holder, a Democrat, during a conversation about Eric Holder (no relation). Cunningham pointed his finger in Holder’s face, called her a “stooge” and told her to “know her role” and “shut her mouth.” Ms. Holder released a very calm and professional statement regarding the exchange, while Mr. Cunningham has remained mum about the entire event.
There are other moments, captured on video and in print that point to the obvious disrespect and disregard members of the Tea Party hold for their fellow Americans. One of the most infamous came during a town hall meeting about the affordable healthcare act in New Jersey. A woman in a wheelchair attempted to share her story and was heckled, jeered and screamed at by attendees against Obamacare. Some even cheered when she stated she might lose her house because of her escalating medical bills.
We had someone yell out “Let him die” during a Republican presidential debate, reacting to a question about a man who cannot afford to keep his health insurance and is diagnosed with cancer. And then there was the scene outside a protest, again about the ACA, when a man with Parkinson’s disease had Tea Partiers charge him while he was sitting on the ground, screaming into his face. One man actually threw money at him while another told him he was in the wrong place for a handout.
Tea Party politicians have recently begun aggressively attacking the millions of children, elderly, disabled and working poor who use SNAP or food stamps. Louie Gohmert was quoted on June 20th as saying “From the amount of obesity in this country, by people we’re told do not have enough to eat, it does seem like we can have a debate about this issue without allegations about wanting to slap down or starve children.”
What Mr. Gohmert chooses to ignore is that fact that obesity is not necessarily caused by an overabundance of food; it’s caused by an overabundance of the wrong food, IE; cheap, processed food containing large amounts of sodium, fat and high fructose corn syrup. In other words, the same type of food the majority of SNAP recipients can afford.
The most disturbing evidence of the Tea Party’s incredible lack of empathy, tact or politeness occurred at a rally in New Hampshire for gun control. A man named John Cantin, who lost his daughter Melissa to gun violence was giving a speech during the rally when a man in a red tee shirt suddenly walked up and stood next to him.
That man, Daniel Musso, began to heckle Mr. Cantin, interrupting him, making fun of him, and calling both the death of his Cantin’s daughter and the slaughtered children in Newtown “propaganda.” Musso was detained by police, at which point he verbally abused and pushed or shoved a police officer, who was forced to use a Taser against Musso in order to arrest him.
Yes, an LGBT activist shouted at Michelle Obama during a private fundraiser. Yes, that was incredibly rude and tasteless. It also made no sense. Our First Lady does not set policy, she has no say in when ENDA will be signed, so what was the point of heckling her? But if you pick apart the most offensive moments in politics since April of 2009, you will find an overwhelming number of them can be traced right back to the Tea Party.
Are liberals often rude? You betcha. A shameful moment on my side was liberals making fun of Sarah Palin’s developmentally challenged son. That was horrible to read and watch. Whatever I think of Sarah Palin, I would never make fun of a child with Down’s Syndrome.
I’ve also stopped making jokes about Ann Coulter’s supposed Adam’s apple. Others have not, and continue to use language that borders on transphobic and bigoted. You would be hard pressed, however, to find a liberal screaming down a woman in a wheelchair or verbally attacking a man who lost a child to gun violence.
When you have an entire political party refusing to engage in any sort of respectful dialogue, you have a problem. While I will I admit liberals tend to vent a lot, I think many of the people I know would welcome an intelligent conversation with moderate Republicans.
I’m not sure there are any moderate Republicans left in America because all we ever see on television are people like Michelle Malkin, Ted Cruz, Louie Gohmert and Steve King. Think about it: when was the last time you saw anything in the media written or spoken by a moderate Republican?