Thursday, April 16, 2009

A BIG rule

Rule #90: Tea standing up
Conservatives need to take some time off and learn how to protest. This is what the curriculum should cover:

1) How not to dress. You may think you look like Thomas Paine, but I'm concerned that you're going to pitch me Colonial Penn insurance.

2) How to spell. Yes, conceding to spelling norms is elitist - secular education and all that. I understand. But if you're going to portray yourself as smarter than the government (and, really, how hard is that?), then it helps to make sure you don't devote yourself to fighting "facism" and other nonexistent entities.

3) Relevance. Throwing teabags into a river is so 1773. It also has jack to do with today's tax unrest, which apparently boils down to, "I don't like paying them." I don't know how to signify that ideology, but that's where your private-sector innovation, synergy and genius comes into play.

4) Perspective. After eight years of being labeled "unpatriotic," "treasonous," "un-American" and every related epithet for objecting to Bush administration policies, people like me are confused. Suddenly, not only is it OK to criticize the government, but it's already reached a boiling point? Suddenly, runaway government spending is bad? Suddenly, greed is killing us? Suddenly, we're on the doorstep to fascism? Man, that Barack Obama is good!

5) Sense of timing. When protesting Obama administration policies, it helps to wait until those policies have had minimal impact. Also, it helps if what's being protested aren't actually the very things that George W. Bush foisted upon us.

6) Nuance. Your protest shouldn't be so shallow as to be able to be debunked in a single sentence, such as: "If you make less than $250,000 a year, you will be receiving income tax cuts under the Obama administration, and most will get a payroll stimulus as well." Otherwise, you'll come off as defending those who least need (or deserve) defense. And, not to mention, one-dimensional.

Oh, one more thing...this class on effective protest cannot be taught in a classroom, or anywhere accessible via public roadways. Don't want to be hypocrites, after all.

More rules


rhonda said...

i admit that i didn't think this silliness would swell to the proportions that it did. i thought that it was a ridiculous, the notion that people would really waste all kinds of money protesting, um, the perceived wasting of money. this is usually what i get for being optimistic.

Jack said...

I love your blog.

Chris said...

Bush started this mess, Obama's accelerating it all, IMHO. If these folks they would have protested the first bailout (the Bush one), their protests would have a lot more credibility than the one the other day did.

But, ya gotta let the people speak.

It's always interesting when the shoe is on the other foot because liberals whined and fussed and in many instances even violently made their feelings felt when Bush was in office, and yet these largely peaceful protests that you mention are derided through many types of mass media and blogs such as yours. I find it very hypocritical that people can openly deride Bush for his wrongdoings, but not allow people to have a similar opinion of Obama.

Be it known that there were a few Democrats at the tea party protest here as well who felt disenfranchised by their own party. You just can't paint with a broad brush, Ian.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I was a Republican until about 2003 when I adopted a mostly libertarian philosophy after seeing the GOP ruthlessly use 9/11 as an excuse for creation of a large government. I personally hate the vitriol and spite associated with both political parties and believe it to be true that as long as Reps and Dems are allowed to run things, our country can't accomplish anything.

My father once told me that it doesn't matter who is in the White House, the end result of us being screwed out of our basic rights as human beings will come no matter who is in the Oval Office.

Our country was attacked in 2001 by terrorists but we've been attacked by dingbats on the Beltway long before that. It is a sad thing the protestors just only now began protesting, but you have to at least understand their point of view of a government out of control.

Ian McGibboney said...

Chris, when you say that the protesters would have more credibility if they spread blame more equally, you echo what I'm saying. Everything else is a different issue.

Nowhere have I said that these people don't have a right to protest, or that big government isn't an issue that should be discussed. What I'm saying is, it's hard to take these protests seriously for a variety of reasons: incoherent and often-contradictory claims; the muddled historical parallel; the fact that Fox News and other media outlets/personalities sponsored these in many cities; the fact that one speaker in Pensacola got booed for suggesting this wasn't all Obama's fault (see today's video); and too many other reasons to count.

Talk about painting with a broad brush: I have many of the same complaints about progressive protests. Any time your method of communication overshadows your message, there will be a problem.

Case in point: conflating U.S. politicians to 9/11 terrorists. Not cool, Chris. Perspective...

Chris said...

You don't think that we have been afflicted in our nation by totalitarian tactics for years by our government? Even though it might not be on a physical scale like 9/11 it is certainly affecting our quality of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I know you would agree with me on the points that the Patriot Act is senseless, the Dept. of Homeland Security is mostly a crock and we are have for too long subscribed to a doctrine of pre-emptive striking that causes a ripple effect not just in the Mideast world, but in the court of opinion of the US in general.

To state my stance on the protest more clearly I do agree with you in principle that the protests didn't have the credibility they would have if they had done so when Bailout I was enacted (as you referred back to above), but my question to you is would you have the same questions and reasoning if this were liberals protesting in the exact same manner, and the current administration was decidedly conservative?

Ian McGibboney said...

I do despise the PATRIOT Act and the preemptive strike policy, as well as our longstanding policies that basically prompted 9/11. No argument there. I'll even give you that our policies are responsible for far more deaths than 9/11 ever was. But to equate politicians with terrorists, as you seemed to do, shows me the same lack of perspective that marred the tea parties.

I support any grass-roots protest, even if I disagree with the end. That's the point of free speech. When millions took to the streets all over the world when Bush invaded Iraq, there were no corporate sponsors. It wasn't started by Michael Moore or Al Franken crying on TV; it was real. Real enough to have to be corralled into so-called "First Amendment Zones." You know, so no one in power ever actually had to see them.

Compared to all that, some Fox News-abetted false outrage over tax falsehoods just doesn't pass muster. You ask if I would feel the same way if liberals were doing it. Probably, but I don't see that happening, not over this.

Chris said...

We can't speak for other people and call it "false outrage." Maybe for some it was false outrage and something simply to get involved in, and maybe for others it was legitimate and a way for them to express a level of frustration that things are getting out of control.

Those who protest have a voice, the same voice you do on your blog and those who report for the "news" networks out there. There does become a moral high road issue with the bathroom humor about the whole thing, though (referencing Anderson Cooper here).

I guess I'll end by saying that people are frustrated and even though it might have been bad timing, each individual person has their own reasons for protesting. As long as it's peaceful, whether we agree with it or not, we need to respect the right granted us to assemble peaceably and simply respect that.

Chris said...

And my last sentence of my last comment was brought to you by the Department of Redundancy Department. (my apologies)

Ian McGibboney said...

I do think it is false outrage. Why? Because the right is very, very good at it.

Am I really supposed to believe that there's this sudden uprising against government spending, that somehow doesn't involve the people who protested Bush's policies for eight years? Let's face it; this was mostly a conservative and libertarian crowd. Why would a crowd like this suddenly take a stand against government spending? New president, perhaps?

Oh, and there was Rick Santelli losing his mind on CNBC. That's about when this started, and many pro-tea party participants have credited him for it. Fox anchors hosted parties in numerous locations across the U.S. Is that even ethical? I doubt it seriously.

And if it weren't such a show of lockstep outrage prompted by the talking points of right-wing news outlets, maybe someone would have realized that the entire premise of the protests is severely flawed.

They're protesting against their own interests, and against a budget from an outgoing president they largely supported and accused others of treason for not supporting. It's pathetic all around.