Here's what happened. Someone wrote a letter to the editor of our local daily comparing the tea party to the Taliban. A tea party member (possibly) or sympathizer (obviously) respondeded by saying:
"Robert J. Joubert's eloquent comparison of the tea party and the Taliban shows how ridiculous an argument some will put forward to demonize this group. My experience is they are a group of Americans who want to get back to the principles this country was founded on, like financial responsibility. There is a huge difference in a country founded on Christian principles like love, charity and respect and a religious state run by people who want to kill innocent people who don't believe the same, as you suggest.
"Then the issue of women, most tea party people stand up for the rights of the unborn and traditional families, which is far from the oppressive actions of the Muslim extremists you compare them to. So if you see standing up for your pinciples as being obstructive, so be it. I see it as being patriotic rather than going along with a ridiculous, progressive point of view." /S/ Steve Childers.
Here is my take, issue by issue.
1. Note the cavalier flattery preceding the word "ridiculous" indicating deceitful obsequiousness, spoon-feeding the reader with syrup before excoriating the opinion under consideration. How can anything be "eloquent" and "ridiculous" at the same time? 2. Early on, we see how Childers, the letter writer proves Mr. Joubert's point: even if "financial responsibility" was a "principle this country was founded on," the nation most definitely was not "founded on Christian principles," as anyone familiar with Adams, Madison, Jefferson, and others can attest. Mr. Childers apparently gets his "facts" from tea party historian David Barton, who has been thoroughly disgraced and by the publisher of his own book about Jeffersonian Christianity. In fact, the First Amendment proscribes union of church and state so that its president, bicameral legislature, and judicial branch cannot run the country by Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or any other religious principles.
Love, charity and respect are not Christian principles at all but moral imperatives of sentient social animals, things we have in our DNA. (I'll wager Mr. Childers knows very little about DNA and biological hard-wiring for social interaction incorporating the "principles" he cites as "Christian.") One sees very little love and charity in the platform of the tea party, generally speaking a misogynistic, racist, homophobic lot. They support legislation, including the Ryan budget, that would gut social programs or privatize them so that the Koch Cabal (my term for the 1%) can practice a type of laissez-faire capitalism that renders the poor and working class serfs, setting progress in equality back to pre-20th century Russia or England up to the Industrial Revolution, France before the storming of the Bastille, and Mexico even today to some extent.
That tea partiers are misogynistic is seen in their views on birth control and abortion. The most draconian state laws only recently enacted to limit the latter procedure to less than two full trimesters in contravention of Roe v. Wade is reflected in fundamentalist biblical treatment of the female sex as "help-mates" to men, in effect Stepford wives with religious dogma instead of a pill taken to keep them pregnant and in the kitchen. Tea partiers would have pregnant women giving birth to unwanted babies, then setting them adrift in a society with no social or economic support, "pro-life" only protecting the unborn, not the offspring of unwilling parents often ill-prepared to raise children, their poverty leading to crime and punishment: Mr. Childers should check out the racial makeup of our prisons.
In a democracy it would be a crime to force women to carry to term incest babies, babies with gross deformities, and babies whose births would take the life of the mother. Make no mistake, tea party women are the willing genderslaves of the kind of masters envisioned by the dystopian SciFi novel, The Handmaid's Tale. What's next, depriving the female sex of any enjoyment they might have during coitus by forcing them to undergo labial circumcision? Familiarity breeds contempt, and groups who despise the religious laws of other groups often do so because their own religious laws are so despotic. If the tea party pushes for laws to ban imposition of Sharia law, perhaps it's because they prefer laws based on Christian dogma. The Devil is the God of people one personally dislikes.
What group of voters pushes for vouchers designed to fund private education for those who can afford it, depriving public schools of much needed funding so that the poor remain relatively ignorant and therefore unable to rise up through the middle class, which is, itself, slowly disappearing from the American scene? Who pushes for phony fraud-prohibiting election plans favoring wealthy precincts working disenfranchisement of anyone but angry white people? Tea partiers despise, rather than love, the minorities, both racial and sexual; they show no charity toward them, thwarting even raising the minimum wage to a point of escape from poverty level, and they disrespect them constantly by permitting stop and frisk, stand your ground, and unchecked ownership of weapons of war, including semi-automatics. What a phony hypocrite Mr. Childers is.
3. Phil Russo, a Florida radio host and campaign consultant, early member of the movement, calls the tea party the "religious right in tri-cornered hats." He maintains that the party was, early on, hijacked by the Cabal, which I could have told him when I found out that former Rep. Dick Armey headed up one of its PAC's. Russo argues that the tea party supports the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and has "deteriorated to racist name calling, fear of anyone with brown skin, and an irrational focus on Sharia law," says Huffpost. 4. "Ridiculous, progressive" speaks for itself. Other web sites that have labeled the tea party a religious right movement either as it was intended or has become include ABC News ("More than 7 in 10, or about 70 percent, of Americans who are part of the Tea Party movement are white Christians, compared with 53 percent of the general public") and NPR ("[A tea party rally-goer described their push for] a 'civil religion'...the idea that America was a divine experiment, that the Founding Fathers were Christian men who created a nation on biblical principles").
Seems to me it is not only fair to compare the tea party to the Taliban, it is a logical conclusion based upon an abundance of evidence. The two have one horrifying goal in mind: theocracy. That political "ism" is antithetical to democracy. Mr. Joubert wins the argument hands down.
Bear in mind, Dennis, studies show that most bible thumpers know less about what is in their "good book" than most atheists and freethinkers: familiarity breeds contempt. If their Jesus Christ (Reb Yeshua?) stood for anything (and I believe such a person once existed, just not by any name we know now: the Levant was chock full of magicians claiming to be messiah at the time, else why, in the Book of Acts, is Simon Magus so lambasted -- a rival perhaps?) it was charity and empathy toward all. The evangelicals who flock to their "prosperity gospel" megachurches are completely at odds with their own religion's principles. (So are many Muslims, though Allah, via the Prophet, stressed charity as the highest virtue.) When the people you mention complain about "give-aways," they mean the entitlements, which is precisely what the T.P-influenced GOP House carps about year 'round. How do these people go to church on Sundays and look themselves in mirrors, going to hell on Mondays hording their riches and kicking the poor in the teeth?
Came across this article in Salon this morning and immediately thought of your discussion James.
An excellent and well-thought-out article, John. Thank you for posting it.
Cruz has an ivy league education. He only learned one thing: how to make money in politics. I live in South Texas. I did not vote for him because he ran as a Repub and I figured that any Latino who runs as a Repub is selling his own people down the river. Oh, I know, many Latinos are switching parties these days, but the rest of them fall into one of two categories: those who would not vote Republican and might commit infanticide if their offspring did, and those who couldn't care less and don't bother to vote, thus shooting themselves in the foot. Cruz might not have been elected had the tea party not come up with enough oil and insurance money to back him, perhaps via Rove's PAC. Add to that the DeLay-engineered gerrymandering of districts to the advantage of the GOP by watering down the minority vote and pumping up the rural vote, which means rednecked farmers and ranchers. And what do you get: Cruz. I thought the senior senator, Cornin, was about as bad as it could get. Boy, was I wrong. Cruz is an evil man. Not only is he beholden to the Koch Cabal, he doesn't mind stabbing his race in the back by, e.g., support for the Ryan budget, which hurts the poor and the elderly, among other things by pushing for privitization of social security, which will only make Wall Street brokers rich. So I guess you could say I despise Cruz. I am almost ready to pray he'll be a one-term senator, but I am not willing to start believing in order to do it.