Wednesday, April 14, 2010


In a sadly predictable development, adversaries of the Tea Party movement have hatched a scheme to "infiltrate" Tea Party events, and deliberately disseminate and perpetuate their carefully-nurtured stereotypes of those groups. Specifically, they aim to "Propagate [the Tea Parties'] propensity for paranoia and suspicion...we have already sat quietly in their meetings and observed their rallies." UPDATE: The page is gone, leaving only an appeal to buy a tee shirt to support the "Crashers" founder. Yah. I'll get right on that.

Side question: if you actually have enemies sitting in your midst, posing as friends while collecting intel for an attack against you, do you still qualify as 'paranoid?'

Anyway, they go on:
"Whenever possible we will act on behalf of the Tea Parties in ways which exaggerate their most unappealing qualities (misspelled protest signs, wild claims in TV interviews, etc.) to further distance them from mainstream America and damage the public's opinion of them. We will also use the inside information that we have gained in order to disrupt and derail their plans."
Well, it's certainly inspiring to see people who are so confident in their arguments and in their own ability to persuade others to see things their way. I mean, seriously? This is the most constructive use for these people's time? This is the political equivalent of kicking over another guy's sand castle because yours came out lame...and everyone knows it.

Bob Owens, over at Pajamas Media executes a proper take-down of this misbegotten tactic (and of its not-entirely un-pathetic creator):
Smears and deception have been part of politics from the beginning, but the proud, brazen nature of those who embrace this sort of activity is a direct affront to the sort of civic involvement we need to have in a healthy republic. These are vile tactics by any moral standard, championed by individuals and groups that care not for debate and dissent, but instead thrive on creating a climate of mistrust and fear. Perhaps this is the kind of world they desire to live in, providing they have the power in that world. 
One has to question the character of individuals involved in such an effort, and their trustworthiness in any endeavor. They create stereotypes and perpetuate them for media consumption in order to demonize and alienate their fellow Americans from one another. And to what end? 
The website exists for one reason and one reason only: to stifle the voices of those with whom they disagree and to render mute a rising chorus of dissatisfaction with a government that is acting in ways that deeply distress a growing majority. It is a censorship plot. It is an attempt to stoke anger and distrust, and it is as insidious and distasteful to the hearts of free men as any book-burning or pogrom.
Emphasis added to shine a light on the crucial factor here: the misguided souls who engage in these sorts of  eliminationist antics believe, like the Operative in Serenity, that they are tasked with creating a Better World. Toward that noble end, they believe, even such wanton acts of subversion of the national dialog are justified. After all, if you feel that you have a pretty good bead on how the world ought to be, and the only thing standing in your way is a noisy rabble of fly-over denizens in bright tee shirts and tri-cornered hats, then no holds are barred. Goes to show even the most noble aspirations are not immune to the blight of arrogance, and the bullying which it spawns.

One can grant that there are pure intentions behind their opposition to the Tea Party vision of small, accountable, fiscally responsible and federalistically decentralized government. But even if they start out with a good-faith vision of a government which takes upon itself the duty to provide for its citizens and to oversee the distribution of this Nation's wealth in a just and equitable fashion, even if they truly feel that theirs is the more humane and responsible course for this Republic, these particular individuals have ended up in a far darker place. The moment they arrogate to themselves the right to deceptively discredit their political opponents (rather than engage them in issue-oriented, constructive and informative debate), they have ceded not just the high ground and the low ground, but the upper levels of the sewer system to boot. They have declared, in effect, that they have too weak a case to risk making it forthrightly...or that the American public is too stupid to comprehend it and make the "right" choice if they did...which is not an especially promising indicator of their faith in the democratic process or in the citizens for whose welfare they purport to stand. Standard Scenario: Imagine if a group of Tea Partiers had created a web site promoting plans to attend Coffee Parties with the intent of covertly discrediting them [Sidebar: I'd just as surely be slamming them if they pulled this nonsense] is worth reflecting for a moment on the fact that this has not occurred.

I derive no small comfort from the ease with which this puerile plot was pulled into the purifying sunshine  (owing, in large measure, to the amateurishness and sloppiness of its founder). It's a twofer, really: not only will it very likely fail (no doubt despite the best efforts of a host of friendly media outlets to slather the airwaves with decontextualized 'reporting' of these schmucks' shenanigans), but it will expose the sheer intellectual and moral bankruptcy of these Teabag-slamming agents provocateurs.

It would be a delicious irony and a fitting cautionary tale if it should come to pass that the very public Epic Fail which all-but certainly awaits this bunch of juvenile party-crashers should play a part in the crashing of their Party.

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