Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

Aging Tea Partiers a Jaw-Dropping Example of Stupidity and Ingratitude

Its the same with narrow-minded people as it is with narrow-necked bottles: the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out.
— Anonymous, from Planet Proctor 2010-7.

Most of the gray-haired Teabaggers are snapping, snarling and filled with rage but, like a dog driven mad by rabies, they are mindless in their wrath and blinded by their disease. They should stop and think who they have to thank for that Social Security check they receive at the beginning of every month. (Hint: it’s not the pretentious pecksniffs of the faux-populist GOP or the bedeviled bellowers of the Right-Wing Noise Machine they so assiduously follow.)

Steve Benen’s piece below is consistent with my own anecdotal exposure to the Teabaggers they are mainly retired whites who watch Fox News and then gripe bitterly about the government from the comfort of their La-Z-Boy loungers while they collect their Social Security checks, pay their doctor bills via Medicare, and take advantage of housing and other discounts for seniors subsidized by the taxpayer. Many are also ex-military and not only received a government check while they were on active duty, but live off vets benefits provided by the government they despise. They especially loathe the evil liberals who proposed and passed that legislation so that they wouldn’t be eating out of garbage cans, dependent on their children, or dying in poor houses in their old age. All of the things that provide them a relatively comfortable and independent life in retirement were vehemently opposed by conservatives in the past, and the cynical Talk Show Hosts and crass Republican Politicians they currently worship would be against every single ‘socialist’ program Social Security, Medicare, etc. — that keeps them going were it presented for a vote in Congress today.

Instead of hating liberals, they should be thanking them. Theirs is arguably the most colossal case of ingratitude in American history, and they should be ashamed of themselves rather than enraged.

Unaware of the Contradiction

Steve Benen
Political Animal
The Washington Monthly
March 28, 2010

Theres an old joke that goes something like this: my neighbor went to public schools before joining the military. He went to college on the G.I. Bill, bought his first home through the FHA, and received his health care through the V.A. and Medicare. He now receives Social Security.

Hes a conservative because he wants to get the government off his back.

I mention the joke because a surprising number of right-wing activists dont seem to appreciate the humor. We talked the other day, for example, about a radical libertarian activist who encourages his allies to throw bricks through the windows of Democratic offices to protest the Affordable Care Act. He hates government involvement in the lives of citizens but his main income is taxpayer-financed disability checks sent to him every month by the federal government.

This is not uncommon. The NYT reports today on some of the well-intention[ed] folks whove been caught up in the Tea Party nonsense. Take Tom Grimes, for example.

In the last year, he has organized a local group and a statewide coalition, and even started a bus czar Web site to marshal protesters to Washington on short notice. This month, he mobilized 200 other Tea Party activists to go to the local office of the same congressman to protest what he sees as the governments takeover of health care. […]

If you quit giving people that stuff, they would figure out how to do it on their own, Mr. Grimes said.

When Grimes lost his job 15 months ago, one of his first steps was contacting his congressman about available programs that might give him access to government health care. He receives Social Security, and is considering a job opening at the Census Bureau. But in the meantime, Grimes has filled the back seat of his Mercury Grand Marquis with literature decrying government aid to struggling Americans.

The same article noted the efforts of Diana Reimer, considered a “star” right-wing activist in her efforts against government programs, a campaign she describes as her “mission.” Reimer, of course, currently enjoys Social Security and the socialized medicine that comes with Medicare.

The cognitive dissonance is rather remarkable. They perceive the government as the source of their economic distress which itself doesnt make sense and then rely on the government to give them a hand, all the while demanding that the government do less to give people a hand. Their reflexive hatred for public programs is so irrational, they dont even see the contradiction.

After a year of angry debate, the Times article noted, emotion outweighs fact.

Thats no doubt true. But that doesnt change the fact that were talking about a reasonably large group of people who are deeply, tragically misguided.

This is important to the extent that there are still some who believe the political mainstream should do more to listen to the Tea Party crowd and take its hysterical cries seriously. But how can credible people take nonsense seriously and hope to come up with a meaningful result? How can policymakers actually address substantive challenges while following the advice of angry mobs who reject reason and evidence?

The bottom line seems inescapable: too many Tea Party activists have no idea what theyre talking about. Their sincerity notwithstanding, this is a confused group of misled people.

Pecksniff: A canting hypocrite, who speaks homilies of morality, does the most heartless things ‘as a duty to society,’ and forgives wrong-doing in nobody but himself. (Dickens: Martin Chuzzlewit.).”
— Webster’s Online Dictionary definition.

2010 RS Janes.


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Ana Grarian
14 years ago

It is a conundrum isn’t it. Without those federal programs they wouldn’t have the time to attend these tea parties because they’d be too tired from working two jobs trying to make ends meet. I wonder how many live in subsidized Sr. housing or have property tax relief because they are seniors.

RS Janes
14 years ago

For five years, about three decades ago, I worked in a facility for retired folks. Of course, many of these people remembered the hard times of the Great Depression so they were grateful for FDR’s ‘socialism.’ They remembered the bread lines; ketchup soup as the only meal of the day; the various charities out of food with lines around the block; old people picking food out of the garbage cans of fancy restaurants; the elderly wasting away untreated in horrible filthy retirement homes and three generations forced to live in small apartments because grandma and grandpa had nowhere else to go; they vividly remembered all of that misery that the GOP apparently wants to revisit. Unfortunately, some of these graying tea partiers don’t have the historical memory of their parents and grandparents and, in some cases, take their history lessons from know-nothing corporate windbags like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh. (I actually had one 60-something retiree tell me the country was in better shape before BEFORE FDR’s social programs — he admitted he got that nonsense from Limbaugh.) Is it any wonder conservative Republicans are trying to rewrite history textbooks? Read with a clear eye, the history of conservative policies have been a monumental failure in this country for all but the wealthy elite.

I don’t think most of these outraged Teabaggers would be holding down two jobs — they’d probably be dead or languishing sick in some relative’s cramped apartment — worked to death by uncaring bosses who imposed 16-hour days, six days a week, at low wages set by the employer and tossed out without a pension or benefits when they could no longer keep up. If you think I’m exaggerating in that description, read about how the average worker was treated at the beginning of the 20th century in this nation, before labor unions and the ‘big govt socialism’ of FDR. Sad that the Teabaggers are being deceived and led by the same kind of rich corporate despots who would happily return them to those conditions. That’s not freedom — it’s wage slavery.

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