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Posted by on Mar 20, 2010 in Health, Politics, Society | 26 comments

Behavior Unbecoming Protesters—No Matter What the Cause

It has become almost a fait acccompli for some readers to complain when a contributor brings to readers’ attention some unpleasant or unflattering news about members of the “other party.”

And perhaps the number and type of such reports tilts more one way than the other.

It is also true that members of the party that “made the news” will often not only point such unbalance out, fact-check it, bring up mitigating or extenuating circumstances, but will also counter with some balancing “but the other party does it, too” stories. (One report has already called the following incident “the manufactured outrage of the day.”)

Having said all this, I was shocked to read today that a gathering of Tea Party HCR protesters subjected Democratic member of Congress passing through the Longworth House office building to disgraceful heckling and epithets. One member of Congress was allegedly spat on.

Two of the members are black and one is gay, thus I will leave the epithets to the reader’s imagination.

It is truly a shame that some protesters feel they have to use such tactics, and I hope that readers—of whatever political affiliation—will strongly condemn such.

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Copyright 2010 The Moderate Voice
  • SteveCan

    “It is truly a shame that some protesters feel they have to use such tactics, and I hope that readers—of whatever political affiliation—will strongly condemn such”

    Duly condemned … Just like I condemn the idiot that wrote “In – DUH – Visible – Teabagger Wingnut Congressman Flubs Pledge in Front of Crowd Estimated by Fox at 3 Million” and when Chucky Schumer said “Martha Coakley is running to fill the rest of Ted Kennedy’s term, and her opponent is a far-right tea-bagger Republican.” and when CBS resident jerk Mark Knoller tweeted “Obama’s motorcade arrives at Capitol Hill. Boos and jeers passing tea bagger protests.”. All of these people are cut from the same cloth.

  • tidbits

    Dorian,

    You are correct. This behavior can be condemned on its own, unconditionally and without reference to any other actions by anyone else.

  • ProfElwood

    Shameful, and counterproductive.

  • gcotharn

    Here’s what I don’t understand: what does this prove?

    Assuming the crowd included some racists and homophobes: does that invalidate the anti Obamacare message of the protest? It does not. Does anyone wish to claim the presence of bigots equates to invalidation of the reasoning behind opposing Obamacare? I would be embarrassed to make such fallacious claim.

    Second: I’ve been to a Tea Party protest: the crowd was filled with decent and wonderful people. I have friends who have been to a couple of other Tea Party protests: the crowds were filled with decent and wonderful people. Your grandmother was probably there and toting a sign. Jazz Shaw has been to a dozen Tea Party protests: he reported the crowds were filled with decent people. Ann Althouse’ husband, Meade, was at the protest in Washington today: he reported to Ann Althouse that the crowd was filled with wonderful people. [Update: Kathryn Jean Lopez attended today, and saw zero indications of racism in the crowd. link] A Tea Party protest is not a beard for racists; does not amount to cover for a covert meeting of a racist crowd.

    Something else, completely separate: in the current climate, how do we know SEIU didn’t plant people in the crowd who would create the appearance of bigotry (esp. considering that SEIU called on members to intimidate and to quell opposing voices at August town hall meetings)? In the current climate, I’m unimpressed by reports of anonymous persons shouting epithets. If media want to do actual reporting, i.e. want to get the names of the alleged bigots, interview the alleged bigots, track the aliases of the alleged bigots back to their alleged home towns, thence confirm with people in those towns that the alleged bigots actually oppose Obamacare (as opposed to, for instance, having ties to SEIU), THEN I would at least believe in the high probability of bigots at the protest who shouted epithets. Which would then prove … exactly what?

    Would media do such actual reporting? They would not – and here’s part of the reason: IT DOESN’T MATTER. It’s dog bites man: there was a crowd, and some excitable bigots were in it. Dog bites man is not news. Some media might report it as if it is news – which indicates to me that those media outlets are not primarily interested in reporting news. What are the odds any major media would lift a finger to do actual reporting about the individual alleged bigots, i.e. would commit actual journalism regarding these incidents? O.J. DNA odds against. State lottery odds. Actual journalism ain’t gonna happen (unless someone gets a tip that SEIU actually did infiltrate the protest: THAT would be a story worth chasing).

    • SteveK

      gcotharn wrote: “Here’s what I don’t understand: what does this prove?”

      Didn’t your mama ever tell you that you’re judged by the company you keep?

      • CStanley

        If people were held to that standard with regard to their political affiliations, no decent person could express any political views whatsoever because there are despicable (and indefensible) characters in all political movements.

    • rudi

      When the Conservative movement embraces the John Bircher’s, Bill Buckley’s life’s work is disgraced. Guess who was a sponsor at CPAC…
      http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/35371_John_Birch_Society_to_Cosponsor_CPAC_2010

      If anyone is still wondering why I want absolutely nothing to do with what the so-called “conservative” movement has become, please note that one of the cosponsors for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2010 will be … the antisemitic, racist, conspiracy theory-promoting John Birch Society.

      If the Kossacks were sponsored by the Weathermen imagine the crickets volume on the Web.

      • gcotharn

        I disagree with CPAC’s decision to allow the John Birchers to set up a table. I don’t know if the CPAC person who made that decision was standing on free speech principle, or was oblivious to the misguided actions of many inside the John Birch Society. Either way, poor decision, imo.

        That said, Rudi, your assertion is embarrassingly fallacious. You say: “When the Conservative movement embraces the John Bircher’s, Bill Buckley’s life’s work is disgraced.”

        First, CPAC doesn’t equate to “the Conservative movement”.

        Second, “the Conservative movement” hasn’t embraced the John Birch Society.

        Third, do you REALLY want to defend your assertion that John Birch at CPAC equates to “Bill Buckley’s life’s work is disgraced”? I don’t know where or how one would even start to defend that assertion.

  • CStanley

    I’ll condemn the behavior of the individuals but will reserve the right to believe that it doesn’t seem to represent the sentiments of the majority of the protestors (just as the despicable behavior of some leftist protestors isn’t representative of the majority of them either.) Moderate liberal/progressives see no reason to distance themselves from environmental causes even though there are radicals within that movement that show up at rallies, and ditto for antiwar protests, etc. Methinks that the current attention being given to the misbehavior of some individuals at tea parties is given is done because it serves a purpose (an attempt to discredit, and thus silence, the whole movement) and not just because we don’t like to see protestors behaving badly (if it was the latter, then over the past years we would have seen many articles in the MSM and left/center left blogs about how awful it was that people were burning effigies, slandering elected officials, etc.

  • vey9

    I was at a meeting once where someone made a racist remark.
    His own people turned on racist and booed him down.
    THAT’S how REAL condemnation works.
    Not head nodding now, expression of regrets later.

    • CStanley

      I agree, vey, that’s the way it should be handled. In some of the cases of conservatives acting badly recently, that has happened (at CPAC, for instance, the guy was booed for making anti-gay comments at the podium.) It probably isn’t occurring as often as it should (the censuring of unacceptable conduct and rhetoric) but when it does occur, the reports about the incidents should include that information to make it clear that the crowds are not supportive of that behavior in a lot of cases.

      Since some of these reports are anecdotal and not captured on video, it’s hard to know what the reality is, whether the epithets are being cheered on by the crowd or censured by the majority.

      • vey9

        I don’t think they allowed video at that real or not real tea part express meeting. Reports from all sides were that the crowd was cheering, not jeering at Tancredo’s speech.

        This is the kind of stuff that turns independents away. They may agree with some of the things the tea party people say, but when the crowd cheers racist statements, typical independents wake up again. ‘Course the echo chamber is stone deaf to that sort of thing.

        • gcotharn

          vey9,

          You are asserting that Tom Tancredo’s reasoning (about, I assume, illegal immigration) is generated out of racial ignorance or hatred.

          I’m not expert on Tancredo’s ideas. However, isn’t Tancredo recommending that persons follow the laws of the United States? Am I missing something about Tom Tancredo? If not, and if Tancredo is recommending that United States law be followed: how have we come to a point where following U.S. laws is characterized as being racist? Further: how have we come to a point where having a different opinion about immigration is racist?

          You assert that cheers for Tancredo’s speech “is the kind of stuff that turns independents away”. I assert that characterizing good faith disagreement as being motivated by hatred is the kind of thing that creates Tea Party protesters.

          On the same subject: I am no longer impressed by imprecise references to a speech. Do you know the subject matter of Tom Tancredo’s speech? I don’t. How do we know his speech, which was delivered at an antiObamacare rally, even mentioned immigration? Even if Tancredo’s speech mentioned immigration (which: why would it have mentioned immigration?), how do we know the cheering of the crowd wasn’t in response to Tancredo’s thoughts on healthcare? How do we know the crowd wasn’t mute and dull in response to any thoughts about immigration? You assert some things for which you provide no evidence.

          • vey9

            I’m assuming that you are young and ignorant. If not that then you are old and the age has put you in a stupor.

            I grew up at a time when racism was not only accepted, but institutionalized. We had, in those days, something called a “literacy test” (wink, wink) which was passing was a requirement to vote. In fact, a literacy test had nothing to do with literacy or testing. It was just a matter of co-incidence that black people were so illiterate (after graduating from our “equal” schools) that they were unable to pass this test. The term literacy test became a code phrase and we had lots of others such as “coon hunt” where we would go out and shoot at raccoons, of course.

            So when Mr. Tancredo uses that very phrase — no other — I must assume what he means? That he really didn’t mean what he said? C’mon. Pull the other one.

          • gcotharn

            vey9,

            You have accomplished a thing which Tom Tancredo never did: you motivated me to learn something about Tom Tancredo and his ideas.

            Tancredo defends himself in an interview conducted a day or two after the Feb Tea Party “civics literacy test” speech. Alan Colmes conducts an excellent interview: Colmes presses Tancredo hard, and repeatedly, about “civics literacy test” and about other Tancredo ideas and statements. When you press someone hard, as Colmes did, you are doing that person a favor: you are allowing that person to understand public perception of them, and you are allowing that person to set the record straight. Colmes’ 15 minute interview does an outstanding job of drawing out Tom Tancredo’s principles and philosophies. Tancredo:

            “I would certainly not want to return to that [1950s-1960s era literacy tests] in any way, shape, or form. … To suggest, by the way, that a civic literacy test is a racist concept, is, well I think thats a racist idea, because are you assuming that the only people who would flunk this kind of a test would be minorities? Of course not. There’s no racial component to it. Stupidity runs across color lines.

            ****************

            To tell you the truth, I never thought a thing about the racial implications of that statement [civics literacy test], because this is not an issue in my mind on any of these things that we talk about. It seems to permeate the left, however. It seems to be the only thing they think about. It’s incredible. Everything that comes up has got to be viewed through this prism of racial issues.”

            Tancredo’s reasoning is that we already give a mild yet definite civics test to applicants for citizenship. Therefore, a precedent is set for giving a version of that same civics test to voters. Tancredo:

            “What it [civics literacy test] would do, Alan, it seems to me, is it would focus attention on the need – especially of our public schools – to actually DO SOMETHING in terms of literac – civic literacy. ~~~~~~~~ If you can’t figure out a test that an immigrant has to pass – he or she isn’t allowed to vote, why should you be?”

            IMO, Tancredo is neither a racist nor a “nativist”. Tancredo appears to be a “civics-ist”, or a “Constitutionalist”. He is apoplectic at what he perceives as civics ignorance, i.e. constitutional ignorance, amongst voters. In Tancredo’s opinion: if voters had greater understanding of civics, the abomination which was the election of a socialist POTUS never would have occurred. Tancredo’s opinion is comparable to the left’s opinion that Americans would support Obamacare if Americans were more knowledgeable about Obamacare. And Tancredo goes a step beyond mere complaining: he proposes a solution – “civics literacy test” – which he hopes will put pressure on the education system to improve the quality of it’s classroom teaching of the subject. I disagree with Tancredo’s proposed solution. Yet, Tancredo is not racist: he is a citizen taking action. The nation needs more Tancredo-style enthusiastic citizens, not less.

            Also, a related observation: Tancredo supports the melting pot concept and opposes the “salad bowl” concept which, for instance, is championed by Justice Sotomayor. Stated another way: Tancredo supports traditional cultural standards – which is pure conservatism. Robin of Berkeley:

            “Conservatives are alarmed at the breakdown of traditional values. If the basic structure of society goes … what remains? If everything becomes fluid, what is there to hold onto? Without any moral structure and traditions, a society descends into anarchy and mob rule….”

            This is not racist thinking – except insofar as some on the left define conservative thinking as racist thinking.

            Tancredo goes further than mere navel gazing: Tancredo proposes solutions which are designed to promote a strong basic structure around which society can organize itself and lean upon. Fantastic: Tancredo is an active and enthusiastic citizen. Kudos. Yet, sadly, Tancredo’s enthusiastic citizenship thus makes him a larger target to be misrepresented and demonized as racist. One can disagree with Tancredo (and I already do disagree with him in a couple of places) without asserting that he is racist. It’s not difficult to understand where Tancredo is coming from. It’s not difficult to understand he is not coming from a racist place. You can refuse to see where Tancredo is coming from; you can call him racist; you can assert that every cheer for Tancredo’s ideas is a racist cheer. I believe you are reaching: your evidence is underwhelming and your reasoning is overwrought (at best).

          • vey9

            “IMO, Tancredo is neither a racist nor a “nativist”. ”

            Then you are a dupe. ALL racists (except Klan members that don’t care) deny being one. Don’t you know the code words and the rules? Son, where have you been all your life?

            My experience has been that all the people on on each end of the fringe hate democracy. The voters are always too stupid to vote. Only THEY are smart enough to be allowed to pick the correct people. Left or Right, it’s the same tune.

            In this case, the people too stupid to vote would be Tancredo and all the people that cheered his statement for being so ignorant of recent history that they have no knowledge of the Constitution.

            Let’s look at what he said the first time, not what he backpedaled into saying:
            “Mostly because, I think, that we do not have a civics literacy test before people can vote in this country, people, people who could not even spell the word ‘vote,’ or say it in English, put a committed, socialist ideologue in the White House, name is Barack Hussein Obama.”

            Obviously people agreed with him.

          • gcotharn

            I looked at that, and addressed it in my previous comment:
            “[Tancredo] is apoplectic at what he perceives as civics ignorance, i.e. constitutional ignorance, amongst voters. In Tancredo’s opinion: if voters had greater understanding of civics, the abomination which was the election of a socialist POTUS never would have occurred.”

          • vey9

            He should be apopleptic considering how little HE knows about it.
            I’d rather not type out a long explanation of the equal protection clause and how that was denied to people for a hundred years.
            Apparently he is so ignorant about it that he shouldn’t have the right to vote.

  • ksb43

    Hey, I just found a great video where we can ALL learn to speak Teabagger (minus “n****r”, “f****t”, and spitting, of course):

    Check out “Learn to Speak Tea Bag” on youtube.

    • SteveK

      That was fun Vera… Here’s the link: Learn to Speak Tea Bag

    • $199537

      Hey, I just found a great video where we can ALL learn to speak Teabagger

      I would say there’s a fine line between calling Tea Partiers “teabaggers” and the use of other sexually charged negative epithets.

      • ksb43

        “Tea Partiers” were quite happy to be called “Teabaggers” for a time.

        And I am quite happy to oblige them, even now.

        • $199537

          “Tea Partiers” were quite happy to be called “Teabaggers” for a time.

          African-Americans were quite happy to be called negroes or “colored” for a time as well. Times change.

  • gcotharn

    reposted as a reply

  • DLS

    “Here’s what I don’t understand: what does this prove?”

    It proves there are some misfits who would behave this way (I made this behavior known on this thread yesterday; I knew there would be multiple threads on this site about it, eventually), as well as sore losers (to the extent people have accepted that the Dems are going to pass this legislation this weekend).

    It also is an another bogus excuse for the Left, which features as bad or worse behavior to a much greater extent, to mischaracterize the whole Tea Party and mainstream rejection of excess government and Dem misconduct this year, and engage in other related misconduct of its own, which we’re predictably seeing.

  • DLS

    “there’s a fine line between calling Tea Partiers ‘teabaggers’ and the use of other …”

    Double standards, don’t forget. The hypocritically admissible stuff even may have the PC seal of approval.

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