No group can be as uncivil as the Tea Party

tea party diversityOver the past few years, America has been introduced to a new level of rudeness thanks in no small part to 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.

rude tea party peopleThe 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?

I’ll wait…

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37 COMMENTS

  1. I’ll say it again and again… to say both sides are the same and/or just as bad just tells me you are NOT paying actual attention. Liberals treat their extremists as they should be treated: the crazy person on the corner you should ignore. We then put our most articulate and informed out on the foreground to do the speaking. Conservatives put their crazies out in the foreground and rally like nutcases at every extremist word, while tearing their moderates like traitors and shouting over any ounce of reason. I’ll never fear the extreme left as much as I do the most moderate Republican, for I’ve seen their ideas in practice, and we’re all suffering even now, after constant conservative concepts rule over nearly everything. Yet liberals get all the blame all the time in crazy, kneejerk assumptions. Trillions of debt from bad wars spurned by hatred and xenophobia from flag-waving nutcases? Nah, we’re in debt because of teachers, unions, and poor people wanting to eat. If you still think both sides are the same, keep your ignorance to yourself, thanks.

  2. What most people are missing is that these are white upper middle class white men in middle age ( most, but not all of them). The demographics of the country are changing and they don’t know how to react to it. So they act like their parent or grandparents did during desegregation. And yet have no understanding that their short term wins will mean that their long term goals will ultimately fail.

  3. I think it was Tea Partiers who spat on my congressman, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., and another 1 or 2 African-American gentlemen as they were walking in public past a Tea Party protest–this was about 2 years ago. The N word was hurled as well, and this made news, but was not given much attention. Just another documented instance of filthy, bigoted behavior that has no place in our country. It’s OK to disagree, just be civil about it!!

  4. on the bright side, all these aholes are gathered in one place…the ignorant, intolerant, paranoid, racist hellscape that is the tp

  5. It’s more than just rudeness; it’s cruelty, hatred, ignorance. I think the people on talk radio in particular have made it acceptable to express meanness, racism, cruelty that, while people felt it, was not really “acceptable” to express 20 or 25 years ago. So without any checks, the hatred and racism has grown exponentially in these people since then, somewhat like what happens to weeds when you don’t keep them in check… They get out of control.

    • The internet is also responsible. Just like talk radio has made it acceptable to be mean, the ease at which someone can leave anonymous comments online has contributed also. If people had to post their name and address everytime they made an online comment most of the hate would probably disappear.

  6. Let’s not forget the Barbara Boxer “call me Senator” incident or the many protests against George Zimmerman for defending himself. Oh yes, and the recent attacks against the Constitution itself, but then such ignorance is the natural consequence of gaggle of idiots who take a degree in political science and are actually stupid enough to think they are scientists.

    • The issue against Zimmerman was his history of bigotry and his continuing to pursue a teenager after having been told to back off because response was on the way. Those items strongly showed intent. Oh yes; be specific about what recent attacks on the Constitution. Blanket diatribes show your weakness on such issues. Try learning what makes a country work well.

  7. You were making good points until the end when you state that some liberals were making fun of Palin’s youngest child. Could you point out when that happened?

    Much has been discussed as to whether she really did give birth to that child, especially since her book where she describes going into labor in Texas and then giving a speech, then flying all the way back to AK bypassing the Anchorage hospital with NeoNatal ICU to go to the little community hospital an hour away.

  8. Erin, You have hit the nail on the head.

    “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.”

    Much of what is reported about the Tea Party and much of what the Tea Party says about itself points to the conclusion they just plain flat don’t like the rest of us, not do they have compassion or understanding of people who do not agree with them.

    Oh well, forward we go to a better America.

  9. Is it just being rude? To me rudeness is picking up a soup bowl and drinking from it in a restaurant. What’s described here is what I call bullying. Their tactics are to bully the people who disagree until they bend to their will. It’s wrong when young children do it – even worse when it’s people old enough to know better.

  10. You can’t have an intelligent conversation or discussion with people that are uneducated, illogical and filled with hate. You can thank Palin for a lot of this. She is the frontrunner on rude and illogical as she can’t make an intelligent or thruthful argument for anything whatsoever.

    • I agree, she has been so rude in the past,,encouraging jokes at times when the subject matter has been serious, who is she to criticize?

    • I don’t think the harbinger of hate was Palin. I think it was talk radio. Rush started his program about 25 years ago, and the national rhetoric has become much, much worse since that time. Palin just fit in with all of those hate-mongers and they loved her small-mindedness.

  11. From my experience (living in the Southeastern USA), I would tend to agree with this thought-provoking article. Not all, but some Tea Party folks are just plain rude and unwilling to engage in a discussion of views. Others will debate, but are caustic. Thankfully, some will engage in humorous repartee. Takes all kinds, but it is definitely hard to have meaningful discussions with a lot of them.

    • Hard to have a meaningful discussion?

      How about impossible and a complete waste of time?
      What could we possibly have to discuss with them anyway?

      We’re moving forward without them. They’re not welcome to join us.
      There’s no place for them in America’s future.
      End of story.

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