Sticks and Stones: Americans Behaving Badly

Americans have just witnessed an important moment in our history with the passage of President Obama’s health care reform bill. It seems that there is a smidgen of awareness of the American Commons and the people’s welfare starting to stir and manifest in the national psyche, thank the gods.

Naturally, the GOP is licking its wounds and pointing fingers at each other, as well as at Tea Party people, aka Teabaggers, for the failure to stop this egregious “socialist” scheme. Recently, Republican officials were feverishly trying to distance themselves from the Tea Party, after some very nasty behaviors by Tea Partiers toward Members of Congress in the days leading up to the health care bill’s passage. Rep. Cleaver from Missouri (D) was spat on, Rep. John Lewis from Georgia (D) was called the “n” word by Tea Party protesters, and out gay Rep. Barney Frank (D) from Massachusetts was called a faggot. What was the right’s response?

Tea Party Protesters Behaving Badly

Clearly, all three of these people are in need of a serious reality check, which I am delighted to provide. Ms. Kremer: bullying and name-calling is what the Tea Party is about, as it has been reported at other protests. Mr. Steele: the Tea Partiers are the well-nourished offspring of the stingy and short-sighted Republican worldview and the GOP is  indeed reflected in their words and deeds. As for Mr. Boehner, this is a man who had the audacity to wave a copy of the American Constitution while speaking to a Tea Party rally, all the while denouncing a government takeover of health care. Boehner, by the way, is a rabid supporter of the Tea Party birther-guns-no taxes at all-we ain’t socialists dammit crowd: you know, the all white fraternity of those who think they are more privileged than others. They are ready and quite willing to accept Social Security, Medicare, disability benefits, unemployment benefits, but not universal health care, ’cause, you know, it’s so socialist: go figure.

So, what in the hell does this have to do with gay rights, you might ask? The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), in their annual report on hate groups, “Rage on the Right: The Year in Hate and Extremism”, is reporting a dramatic surge in hate groups and hate actions in 2009: a 244% increase in anti-government “Patriot” groups alone, and that’s not including racist groups, anti-immigrant groups, and other  groups. The language used at many anti-Obama rallies is outright racist or thinly veiled for deniability. Protest signs at Tea Party and other rightist gatherings endorse or tacitly approve bloodshed in the pursuit of a white-washed America.  Where there is such blatant racism and hatred, there is also always homophobia, for fear of the Other (xenophobia) is the  part of the same mentality that dominates rightists now proudly carrying guns into Starbucks. you know, just in case they need to use it in a coffeehouse. When there is this much churned up anger against the government, especially in the middle of such a huge work-life-economy paradigm shift, people are easily manipulated through their fear and need to feel safer and more secure. Sadly, some people feel a need to exploit the human condition at these times.

Riddle me this, dear reader: with what other periods in history does our current situation parallel? Pre-Nazi Germany springs to mind and so does the time leading up to the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, when the government was targeted by the American Right as Enemy Numero Uno of the people. Now, Rasmussen Reports says 71% of those polled don’t like how Congress is doing. SPLC is reporting that these numbers are nearly the same as those preceeding the 1995 bombing. I don’t know about you, but this makes me quite uneasy.

The people who used inexcusable language in an attempt to demean some of our African-American and gay Members of Congress should be ashamed of their behavior. It shows just how low the right has sunk in its pursuit of ideology over humanity. Bullying, demonizing, and inciting to violence are characteristics of those in need of some serious time out. Intimidation through bullying and derisive, hateful name-calling seeks to polarize, divide, agitate, and negatively manipulate others. Let us remember that when the Nazis came for the Jews, they also came for gays, religious minorities, the Romany, and numerous other socially peripheralized groups.

This time, may Americans be the people who gather around the largest feasting table in history, and feed each other good, nourishing, and necessary things. Let us unequivocally denounce  real evils in the USA, like homelessness, sickness, poverty, violence, and stop behaving like assholes, for we have tremendous work yet to do. Yeah, Representative Barney Frank is gay: get over it, for your name calling will not lessen his impact or his presence one whit. Grow up, already.

P.S.: After this article was posted: a wave of window-breaking at Democratic offices in three states has occurred, apparently instigated by a blogger and former militia leader called for America’s own Kristallnacht; Sarah Palin declared: “Don’t retreat. RELOAD”; Associated Press is reporting Democrats are expressing concerns regarding their safety; anti-choice Representative Bart Stupak (D-MI) has received numerous and disturbing threats for voting for the health care bill: listen to some of the vile comments from callers; a brother of Rep. Thomas Perriello (D – VA) had his propane gas line cut and the FBI is investigating; and yet more violence is being reported here. For those readers who thought my comparison to Nazi actions of violence, these acts of violence confirm that American extremists are closely mirroring patterns of violence and intimidation that the Nazis used.

Editor’s Note: Please follow James Lovette-Black on Twitter, and The News Junkie Post to stay updated on all of our articles.

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48 Responses to Sticks and Stones: Americans Behaving Badly

  1. Vote -1 Vote +1Phillip
    March 24, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Why would anyone call themselves teabaggers? Do you people not understand the more common meaning of what that is?

    • Ole Ole Olson
      +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Ole Ole Olson
      March 24, 2010 at 11:01 am

      Actually, it is a name they gave themselves early on after the staged Santelli rant. I think this photo is from late March 2009: http://rsiasoco.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/2009-03-18-tea_bag_dems.jpg

    • +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Dan
      March 24, 2010 at 11:49 am

      the tea party is a bunch of old white folk that do not know the modern meaning of tea bagging and tea baggers.

      They are just lingering around and will be gone in a decade or 2, along with the “good ole’ white days”.

      • Vote -1 Vote +1CJ
        March 26, 2010 at 12:53 pm

        Well guess what…? Brian Jennings was the first vacuum brained, editorializing nitwitt on national tv to add “teabagging” to the frey (wonder how he knew?)! Hell, I didn’t even know what that meant and I’v been around for a long time! As for all the bashing that’s going on, look upon yourselves, you are causing it with all this Nazi crap. If you don’t get it, look what happened to Austria, their economy and how Hitler took it over. Deja Vu, people! “We are bound to repeat our mistakes, if we don’t learn from our past”!

    • Vote -1 Vote +1Lowell
      March 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm

      are you NEW? they don’t call THEMSELVES teabaggers. and this Lovette-Black’s decrying other people calling others names?

      • Vote -1 Vote +1Lowell
        March 24, 2010 at 6:27 pm

        one more thing: your ignorance of who makes up these groups is proven by your comment, Dan. they’re not primarily old, they’re not all white, and they certainly know what it means to get called a teabagger.

      • Ole Ole Olson
        +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ole Ole Olson
        March 25, 2010 at 11:19 am

        The original libertarian Tea Partiers never called themselves Tea Baggers, but after the infamously staged Santelli rant when the conservatives started invading the movement, they were the ones who started calling themselves Tea Baggers. March ’09 I believe was the first mention of it, just google the sign.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1Dave
      March 25, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Tea Party members do not refer to themselves as “teabaggers”. Rather, it is the derisive, derogatory name Democrats and other liberals use for Tea Partiers.

      It is hate speech, plain and simple, designed to dehumanize, degrade, and insult those referred to.

      Lovette-Black is just a hate-filled, hypocritical talking head doing the same thing he decries.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Shana
    March 24, 2010 at 11:16 am

    the only response you have is typical of a teabagger. Can’t disagree with the logic so you make fun of him and then say logic doesn’t hold water.

    • -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Matt
      March 24, 2010 at 11:47 am

      Why not just say – “Yea, what he said!” It would make as much sense, and you could still defend the guy who has absolutely nothing constructive to add either!

  3. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Shana
    March 24, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Classy.

  4. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Bill Lindley
    March 24, 2010 at 11:24 am

    These responses prove the writer’s point.

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1888
      March 29, 2010 at 8:38 am

      dur dur dur dur

  5. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1888
    March 24, 2010 at 11:25 am

    dear writer, i guess this time period somehow reminds me of the LBJ/ Nixon years with the protests and civil unrest, the ‘sticks and stones’ and bombs (weather underground etc). it reminds of the WTO protests in Seattle. Reminds me of race riots in LA. straight out of the left playbook is the technique being used. it is weird how tables turn and am sure they will again.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1Ex-Californian
    March 24, 2010 at 11:38 am

    The writer accuses conservatives who are against socialism as being the new Nazi’s. That’s odd since the term Nazi stands for the National Socialist German Workers Party. Interesting: socialism and labor unions. Sounds like the new Democrat party to me, not the conservatives.

  7. Vote -1 Vote +1Matt
    March 24, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Jessica – nicely done!
    You managed to become the poster girl for the article by:
    1. Name calling – very TBag!
    2. Demonstrating your ignorance of the issue, and very likely quoting the Tea Party demi-god (or is it demagogue?) Glenn?

  8. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Iris
    March 24, 2010 at 11:46 am

    This discourse reminds me of 3rd graders pointing the finger at each other, not taking responsibility, wiggling out of what can’t be proven. Kids doing this are thought too immature to vote. No wonder teachers punish both parties to the fight. But it does seem that trouble breaks out where the Tea Party goes. That’s how they get publicity. So my idea is, ignore them (press) and when they don’t get attention they’ll stop acting out. Works with 3rd graders.

    • +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Hgus
      March 24, 2010 at 11:49 am

      Looks like you and i think alike.

      Stomp your feet, make wild acusations, hold your breath, make up conspiracy therories, hold on to the belief that only bumper sticker politics is relevant and that your BELIEFS are actually FACTS.

      That the Foxpublicans (AKA Tea Parties, AKA GOP).

      • Vote -1 Vote +1888
        March 26, 2010 at 10:15 am

        HGUS, your accusations are frighteningly similar to the behaviours of the left during the Bush years, right? You have to admit that or you are simply no different than those you are pointing at with your comment above. The left has certain beliefs about society, they have their conspiracy theories and they have their activist groups and news stations, no?

        • Vote -1 Vote +1Hgus
          March 29, 2010 at 11:00 am

          Honestly i have no idea what you are talking about.

          I don’t remember any time where republican elected officials were being spat on or called racist or anti-semetic names. (Okay, i agree this isn’t fair, since there are no black republican senators and only one Jewish senator).

          And to be fair, since Bush only did “friendly” town halls and restricted access of democrats from even caravan routes and refused to hear the position of those on the other side- it is qute possible that “libs” would have been this hostle, but alas we will never know.

          I don’t remember a campaign by left wingers to break windows of republican party offices.

          It is important to remember, that the biggest issue that the left was vocal about was the war in Iraq. BTW- We were right, there were NO WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION.

          Now we have spent over a trillion dollars of our tax dollars.

          Being right should count for something, don’t you think?

          • Vote -1 Vote +1888
            March 29, 2010 at 2:51 pm

            momento man

    • -1 Vote -1 Vote +1contributor
      March 24, 2010 at 11:56 am

      I agree with you, but I do think their disturbing behaviors must be publicized, so civil society can call them on it and stop it from escalating.

      • Vote -1 Vote +1jz
        March 24, 2010 at 6:02 pm

        not only that, but criminal prosecutions are necessary where sufficient evidence is found.

      • Vote -1 Vote +1888
        March 25, 2010 at 9:34 am

        please give links to your articles “publicizing” groups on the other side that contribute the same ‘disturbing behaviours’ to our civil society. (although i suspect that you may not call them disturbing). thanks

        • Vote -1 Vote +1Hgus
          March 29, 2010 at 11:10 am

          Where are your links that document the uncivil behavior on the “other side”.

          Listen, i find your post disturbing, because it sounds like a comment my 5 year old daughter uses. “He did it first..” (Which has been the theme of most of my posts… WE (not just republicans) are acting like children. We need to stop it.

          I think it is wrong for PITA to use vandalism or violence to advance their agenda. I think it is wrong when WTO protestors break windows and loot.

          That is not acceptable behavior and they should stop it.

          Will you say “They did it first.” and continue this silly cycle of childish behavior? or will you act like a grown up and say… ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

          • Vote -1 Vote +1888
            March 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm

            This author’s analysis points at one side in order to rally like-minded people. You yourself admit it is a much broader problem? All i am saying is that when someone gets on their soapbox to point fingers then while I am around I will insist that that person does it honestly and includes all the guilty. being able to point out the bad on the left and right. . . thats what being grown up is about.

      • Vote -1 Vote +1888
        March 26, 2010 at 10:16 am

        thats certainly what i thought contributor, nothing

  9. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Hgus
    March 24, 2010 at 11:46 am

    The anger in these people is shocking and because of the power that they have over the GOP their hate mongering and childish behavior has infected their leadership.

    John McCain has become the poster child for this movement. Once known as a man of courage (Maverick) who realized that democracy was the most important priciple that this country was founded on and demonstrating that iIn order for democracy to succeed we need to work together and comprimise.

    For a man who demonstrated such courage in war, to act like a petulant child know pledging not to work at all wtih the democrats now, is a perfect picture of cowardice.

    Thank the Lord that John McCain did not win the white house. If anything bad happened he would likely stomp his feet and hold his breath hoping that people would cave to his childish antics.

    As parents we wouldn’t tollerate this type of behavior from our 2 year olds, as employers we wouldn’t tolerate it from our subordinates, why in Gods name would we tolerate this from an elected official.

    Obviously, the country got it right. McCain is NOT the type of personality any sane person would want controling the most powerful military the world has ever seen.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1888
      March 26, 2010 at 10:10 am

      huh?

      • Vote -1 Vote +1Hgus
        March 29, 2010 at 10:51 am

        What part didn’t you understand?

  10. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tom
    March 24, 2010 at 11:47 am

    This article would be a lot better if you hadn’t fallen victim to Godwin’s Law.
    I was with you right up until the Riddle Me This paragraph.

    Unfortunately, your mention of the Nazis really has nothing to do with the rest of the article, and only serves to divide and repulse.

    Further, I must remind you that Correlation does not imply Causation. Poll numbers are really horrible metrics to use AND they are not an indicator of much of anything.

    Your article would have been much stronger, had a more powerful impact, had you not resorted to classic internet tropes by (falsely) equating the people you dislike with the Nazis. Pity, because it was a good article.

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1contributor
      March 24, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Gee, thanks, I guess?

  11. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1AW
    March 24, 2010 at 11:48 am

    We’ve got it good so let’s not ever try to improve. It’s good enough right? If that were the case we wouldn’t need any form of government because we would have self government. Guess what people steal less here than other countries as well, Should we get rid of the police? We have better fire and buildign codes, should we stop improving fire equipment? It’s a strawman argument that doesn’t hold.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1Jr. LL beans.
    March 24, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Teabaggers know Middle Class Americans is heading bankruptcy. They got layoff from their job, more jobs cuts, etc. They are sick of hearing bail outs and more finanical crisis. It’s driving them nuts to cut more vacation and spend less money.

    Millions American jobs went to brazil, china, india, and third world countries.

    • Vote -1 Vote +1Jim Richels
      March 24, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      haha no they didn’t

  13. Pingback:

    +2 Vote -1 Vote +1uberVU - social comments

  14. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1yomama
    March 24, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I dont get it, our nation economy is spiraling down while the chinese commie is up, and they are playing the US like a stupid fool, and here we’re infighting because of all the self interest and ignorant fears. Wake up America it’s the chinese commies are our enemy, not among us citizens.

  15. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1robert c
    March 24, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    The boorish behavior is coming from both fringes. The progressive left is just as guilty and reprehensible in their behavior as the right. ( btw the term ‘teabaggers’ was coined by Anderson Cooper on CNN, who was very well aware of the double entendre being well practiced in the art himself ) . During the election, Obama’s minions spared no tactic to get him positioned. The bribery and tactics to position Obamacare in the House is shameful and probably indictable. Just watch MSNBC for a short time to see the nasty verbalizations of equal hatefullness from the uber left. As a gay Democrat, I have found myself in the uncomfortable position of feeling alienated from my party of decades after it was hijacked by a self righteous clique of imperious prostelitizers. I can no longer tolerate the “racist’ epithet any longer, since it means nothing anymore, and I believe it is now doing more damge to real civil rights than the outying boorishness could ever do. The fact that Barney Frank is gay is secondary to the fact that he has become a bloated manipulator of the highest order and is the poster child for term limits. It will not be until American politics veers back towards the firm foundation of the middle that civility will once again become the order of the day.

    • Ole Ole Olson
      +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ole Ole Olson
      March 25, 2010 at 11:24 am

      Tea Bagging was first used by the Tea Baggers themselves in February 2009: http://washingtonindependent.com/31868/scenes-from-the-new-american-tea-party

      As for your assertion that both sides are just as guilty, I would like you to demonstrate where there was a deliberate campaign of window smashing, death threats, and racist/homophobic slurs from the left after an important legislative vote.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1nora
    March 24, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    “Let us unequivocally denounce real evils in the USA …”

    1. President Obama
    2. House of Representatives
    3. Senate

    Let’s fire them all.

  17. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1nora
    March 24, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    And please stop the “teabagger” thing … it’s so sophomoric …

  18. Vote -1 Vote +1Anon
    March 24, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Having been a denizen of the net for quite some time, I think that the best title for this is “When Trolling Meets the News”. Just the right amount of inflammatory language and media, with little argument of substance to grip on to for either support or rebuttal despite asserting a clear position.

    Well done indeed. . .except for falling to Goodwin’s law. . .which lapse regrettable for any man who majored in history specializing from 1900-1950 to read. . .

  19. Vote -1 Vote +1TonnaBronzee
    March 24, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Race and sexuality have nothing to do with this health care bill. This just shows that BIGOTRY is still alive and well in 2010. Way to go, America!

  20. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Novenator
    March 24, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Did you feign the same outrage when the gays and blacks were calling each other the same names in California over Prop 8?

    • Vote -1 Vote +1Hgus
      March 25, 2010 at 10:39 am

      I live in California, and i didn’t hear that stuff happening. But had i, I would also share the same outrage at biggots and racists.

  21. Vote -1 Vote +1Lowell
    March 24, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    what a crock, that someone somewhere did a bad thing and it’s all the Tea Party’s fault.

    if that’s true, it must equally be true that ALL liberals go around spiking trees, burning down university horticulture buildings, marching- with bandanas hiding their faces- through the streets, throwing rocks through store windows, burning stuff, defacing property with Anarchy symbols, throwing bottles at police…

    OWN IT, or choke on your own double standard.

    • +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Hgus
      March 25, 2010 at 10:45 am

      By your same silly logic, What a crock, 19 people did somethign bad on 9/11 and its Al Quedas fault.

      Of course it is Al queda’s fault. They fomented this anger, distributed lies and conspiracy therories, created a wedge between themselves and others, isolated and demonized media sources that we not in perfect harmony wtih their BELIEFS, tolerated and encouraged the step by step evolution of anger, and added fuel to the fire.

      When you make a bed that entices the angry, weak, vulnerable and even the crazies, should you be surprised when someone sleeps in it?

      Tell me how w

  22. Vote -1 Vote +1888
    March 25, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Dear writer (contributor), Where were you when people were throwing things in protest of WTO, Bush and Cheney (or anything else that you are not for)?? I see in your comments that what you are concerned about is ‘calling out’ the uncivil behaviours. Is that across the board, or are you just unhappy about the stolen playbook?