So… evidently, quite a few folks take offense to me using the word “Teabagger” to refer to the “Tea Party.” Well, y’know what I take offense to? As an American who happens to be living about 15 to 20 minutes from where the ACTUAL “Tea Party” took place? I take offense to one of the defining moments in American and indeed World history – an act of disobedience against actual tyranny by actual freedom fighters – being co-opted by a “movement” that can’t even be bothered to form a coherent ideology outside of “irrationally infuriated.”
So, yeah… I’ll probably keep on using that particular word here and there – just like I’ll keep calling liberal walking-jokes like MoveOn.org, Code Pink and Cindy Sheehan (remember her?) “nutters” and worse. Because it puts a sharp point on things, and gets a “rise” out of people. I make dismissive, bad-taste jokes about things that are comical to me… it’s kind of my “thing.”
It also occurs to me that, fairly or not, the preponderance of similar-style mockery in the current political world means that my meaning may be taken more “broadly” than I intend it. So I should probably put this on the record:
I don’t hate “conservatives.” Or “liberals” for that matter. And I’m not an especially big “devotee” of President Obama at this particular point. In fact, I think that Obama – or at least the initial “Obama Phenomenon” – has to shoulder some of the blame for the “Tea” business: Nothing in politics comes into being without bringing an opposite-number with it, and Obama proving that you can build a functional coalition on vauge emotional appeals to “hope and change” meant that you can ALSO build one on vauge emotional appeals to “fear and anger,” and hence, well… you get the idea.
Frankly, I’m fairly “situational” when it comes to ideology – which I suppose falls under “relativism” but my ego keeps telling me to call “thinking on my feet.” There’s a copy of Atlas Shrugged within walking distance of my desk here, and it’s on the same shelf as “Dude, Where’s My Country?” During my daytime commute, the car-radio is almost always tuned to an overwhelmingly-conservative local talk station, and if this were any other night but Friday I’d be typing this with MSNBC on in the background (Rachel Maddow runs the best show on Cable, hands down.) I’m happy to talk, debate, converse and be friends with conservatives, liberals, libertarians, socialists, whatever.
My disdain for the “Tea Partiers” – and thus use of “Teabaggers” – is NOT a disdain for rational Republicans, conservatives, libertarians, etc. I don’t even necessarily have anything specifically against individual people who turn up at the damn rallies… at least not in theory, after all I don’t know ALL of them. My GENUINE disdain lies for the self-proclaimed “public faces” and “leadership” of this thing. Mrs. Palin, Mr. Beck, the various D-list celebrity hangers-on and the “real” politicians who’ve signed on either out of a cynical short-term power grab or because they actually buy it (not sure which is worse.) THOSE are my “Teabaggers” and, no, under the circumstances, I don’t feel particularly bad about giving them a risque nickname.