America, You Frighten Me.

19 04 2010

We have three TVs in my office, all turned to different news stations so that we can alternate which one we pay attention to.  Last week, on tax day, the volume was turned up on MSNBC, which kept playing the same God-awful clip of Sarah Palin shouting in her squeakiest, most grating voice: “Is this what their ‘change’ is all about?  I want to tell ’em, nah, we’ll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion — and you can keep the change.”

I swear, they played this clip approximately 43 times throughout the day, and nobody would turn the damn thing off, so I finally had to blast music in my ears in order to keep from strangling myself with my iPhone charger.  Then today, I arrived at work to see this article in the Washington Post about a “militia rally” happening in Virginia today:

“Daniel Almond, a three-tour veteran of Iraq, is ready to ‘muster outside D.C.’ on Monday with several dozen other self-proclaimed patriots, all of them armed. They intend to make history as the first people to take their guns to a demonstration in a national park, and the Virginia rally is deliberately being held just a few miles from the Capitol and the White House.

Almond plans to have his pistol loaded and openly carried, his rifle unloaded and slung to the rear, a bandoleer of magazines containing ammunition draped over his polo-shirted shoulder. The Atlanta area real estate agent organized the rally because he is upset about health-care reform, climate control, bank bailouts, drug laws and what he sees as President Obama’s insistence on and the Democratic Congress’s capitulation to a ‘totalitarian socialism’ that tramples individual rights.”

Haha, speaking of “trampling individual rights,” wasn’t it Bush who stuck a big middle finger up at the Constitution by wiretapping phone calls without a warrant?  Right, just checking.  The article continues:

“On the lineup are several heroes of the militia movement, including Mike Vanderboegh, who advocated throwing bricks through the windows of Democrats who voted for the health-care bill; Tom Fernandez, who has established a nationwide call tree to mobilize an armed resistance to any government order to seize firearms; and former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, who refused to enforce the Brady law and then won aSupreme Court verdict that weakened its background-check provisions.

Those coming to the ‘Restore the Constitution’ rally give Obama no quarter for signing the law that permits them to bring their guns to Fort Hunt, run by the National Park Service, and to Gravelly Point on the banks of the Potomac River. Nor are they comforted by a broad expansion of gun rights in several states since his election.”

…Um, does anyone else see the absurdity of this situation?  These people are bringing loaded guns to a rally that has nothing to do with gun rights, which Obama has been pretty lenient on.  They’re “packing heat” because they’re pissed off about health care reform, bank bailouts and drug laws… aaand this makes sense because the guns will remind us of… our rights… although none of those rights as stated in the Constitution are currently being violated?

I’m sorry, this “Constitution” rhetoric drives me NUTS.  “Nah, we’ll keep clinging to our constitution.” That is an utterly nonsensical thing to say.  First of all, the Constitution was written over two centuries ago when the U.S. population was a fraction of what it is now.  Many major societal changes have happened since then, so the Constitution has required quite a good deal of amending to remain useful and relevant, and every president, Democrat or Republican, has participated in that process.

Second of all, correct me if I’m wrong, but Obama can’t do anything that is in violation of the Constitution because there are two other branches of the government that exist to make sure that he doesn’t (you know, the whole “checks and balances” deal).  He can’t even amend the Constitution without their permission and compliance. There is nothing in the Constitution that forbids any President from reforming health care or bailing out banks, or those bills wouldn’t have passed.

So, Tea Partiers, if you’re listening, please put away your loaded weapons.  You’re scaring me, you’re making asses out of yourselves, and you’re not accomplishing anything.  If you’re really unhappy with your elected officials, vote for different ones next time.  Isn’t that the beauty of democracy?

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13 responses

19 04 2010
graber

Solid. I’m in the mix with these nut jobs when they come to DC – I see it as my constitutional duty to take as much of their money as possible.

One of my “favorite” signs they make is the one that ends with “we left our guns at home THIS TIME.” I said to one of them once, even though it’s worthless to engage them, thanks for threatening to bring firearms to dc, I’m sure that’ll work out well for you…

19 04 2010
taylor's friend

Yea, from your fingertips to God’s ears, DistrictRamblings. And if any Tea Partiers out there know how to (1) read this article, left to right, top to bottom, and (2) know of any specific constitutional provision(s) which President Obama has violated, please respond. For now, I’ll preemptively respond to the constitutional violations alleged by Sarah Palin.

1st Amendment:

The 1st Amendment has two components — (1) the establishment clause and (2) the free exercise clause. The establishment clause states that the government shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion. This is a good thing. The free exercise clause states that the government shall not interfere with the people’s right to freely exercise their religion. This too is a good thing. However, as you can tell, there is often an antinomy between these two clauses; some actions/inactions of the government will inherently violate the plain letter of the law. For example, the government’s outlawing of school prayer arguably violates the free exercise clause. But, if school prayer were allowed in public schools, the establishment clause would be violated, because a religion would be recognized with governmental funding behind it. Ergo, a middle ground (moment of silence) has been deemed an acceptable and moderate conclusion. All this aside, ***this is key*** President Obama has had nothing to do with this. This issue — interpretation of the law of the United States — is resolved by the Judiciary (you know, that 3rd branch of government with a bunch of old white dudes and the occasional minority), not the President.

For a quick side note to the Tea Party movement, I have one question — if we should allow prayer in public schools, and things of that nature, based on the free exercise clause, whose religion should we follow? Christianity? Why? Because it represents the majority? Do you know that the Islamic religion is the fastest growing religion in the United States? How would you feel if the Islamic religion eventually replaced Christianity as the majoritarian religion? Would you want your children to be constitutionally obligated to participate in those prayers?

2nd Amendment:

The 2nd Amendment guarantees to the people the “right to bear arms” (and this is the most “pro-gun rights” interpretation — it could very easily be interpreted to solely provide that the “militia” has that right, not the people). However, no right is absolute. As the author of this article indicated, the Constitution, while an amazingly strong and flexible document that has withstood and will continue to withstand the test of time, was written over 200 years ago. In that time, the most powerful weapon that existed was a clumsy cannon; slightly more dangerous than Aaron Burr’s “piece.” Thus, the amendment was written with the “arms” involved during that timeframe in mind. To apply the “right to bear arms” to its logical extreme today would mean that we are all constitutionally vested with a right to an F-18 fighter jet, fully equipped with whatever missiles and guns we can find, because, “hey, I’m an American, God-dammit.” Now don’t get me wrong — it would be totally badass to be Maverick for a day. I’ve got this friend from high school who would definitely play Goose, too. But, with no due respect, are you f*cking kidding me?

Once again (as the author stated), any 2nd Amendment limitation is due to the Judiciary, not the President. However, the current Supreme Court has done little to strip the people of their guns — actually, it’s been quite the opposite. For example, in 2008, in the USSC case “D.C. v. Heller” held that D.C. anti-handgun laws and laws mandating installation of trigger lock devices were deemed to be UNCONSTITUTIONAL. That’s right. Despite the abhorrent crime rate in D.C. attributable to handguns, the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms was deemed to have been violated by D.C.’s gun laws, which, in my opinion, were restrictions that are arguably needed. Additionally, a subsequent Illinois case which escapes my memory held that the Heller interpretation of the 2nd Amendment is imputed to the STATES via the 14th Amendment’s incorporation doctrine, further exemplifying the Judiciary’s great respect for the 2nd Amendment.

The bottom line to Tea Partiers and Palinites is this — President Obama has not violated your freedom of religion nor your freedom to bear arms. And that’s not because he likes your religion or semi-automatic weapons. It’s because he has NO CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY to override the other branches of government. Just because your party’s name is historically irrelevant (the real Tea Party was a reaction to taxation without representation; we have represented taxes now – ’nuff said) does not mean your underlying message and platform has to be equally nonsensical. There are plenty of things wrong with the government today. I encourage you to highlight some of those wrongdoings and formulate an actual basis for your party’s existence.

Until then, people like me will be too immersed in your stupidity to notice anything else.

20 04 2010
DC's oto-san

Good stuff taylor’s friend. :handsclap:

19 04 2010
OKinAK

This is primarily a rural versus urban issue. Rural people have different needs for guns than urban people. Both can argue that they need a gun for self defense, but there are far more reasons to have a gun if you live in the country than if you live in the city. I can actually relate to gun ownership being important. I can’t relate to 100 round clips for AR15’s being available to the public, so there are nuances.

The bottom line is that there has never been the slightest chance that congress would vote to take away the right to own a gun. There is not the slightest chance that the supreme court would back that up either. So the ones who are protesting are not about protecting their rights so much as sending a message that they want “their” country back. “They” have not figured out that “they” weren’t tho only ones who voted. I’m not too worried about it though. It looks to me like only a couple hundred rednecks showed up to the rally in DC.

19 04 2010
geof

These guys are chickenshit idiots and put a bad face on gun ownership in general. I’m with OKinAK on the subtleties of types of firearms owned and the different lifestyles associated with them. One lifestyle is based primarily on delusions, such as having a snowball’s chance in hell of actually succeeding in some form of armed resistance/insurrection. It may also include going armed to public parks where tourists, school children, and senior citizens might be. On the other hand, someone might decide NOT to demonstrate a tenuous grasp on reality. this person might, for instance, use firearms responsibly to hunt delicious, overpopulated (because the alpha predators are gone thanks to chickenshits who like to shoot wolves and mountain lions) animals that were not raised in a filthy, inhumane factory, and not needlessly scare anyone while you’re doing it, and provide non-hunting friends with wholesome, tasty, sustainable meats.

19 04 2010
Gun tot'in Old Timer

I own guns, I shoot guns, I think that ALL guns should be registered.

The NRA has it wrong…”Guns don’t kill people, people do” is their mantra.

It should be, “Guns don’t kill people; PEOPLE WITH GUNS KILL PEOPLE.”

19 04 2010
J

ummm….. awesome hardball interview with one of the crazies RIGHT NOW. It will undoubtedly be archived on youtube, so if you’re looking for a laugh (or cry), watch it.

Chris Matthews to “skip” the village idiot from rural Michigan: “you’re an expert on the 2nd amendment, but you won’t tell me what it actually protects?”

“skip” to Chris Matthews: “ummm, ummm, ummm…”

“Scholar” from the Heritage Foundation to Chris Matthews: “Chris, let me relieve your curiosity…”

Chris Matthews: “I want to hear this from Skip…”

there’s more…and it’s better, but I can’t type fast enough (or contain my laughter).

America, you frighten the SHIT out of me.

19 04 2010
ArinJed

Apparently voting isn’t even important to a surprisingly large portion of America.

http://clubtroppo.com.au/2010/04/18/sanity-in-the-us-the-map/

19 04 2010
rockymtnhigh

The Teabaggers like to pass themselves off as defenders of the Constitution and protectors of liberty yet given the chance, exhibit the very fascist traits that they claim to be “against.”

I would stop wasting time trying to rationally speak with them. The more facts that you present contradicting their very position only serve as further girding of their faith and belief in what they *think* is going wrong with America. Thinking has nothing to do with the Teabaggers. Faith and belief are the two legs of their three-legged stool upon which they have built their arguments against all things Liberal and Progressive. The third leg of that stool is willful ignorance.

Teabaggers are not the party of the oppressed. Teabaggers are not the party of the middle-class or working poor. Teabaggers are the party of the privileged whom the thought of progressive change scares the shit out of them. I’m not saying their fascists…but the signs are all there.

Umberto Eco wrote a nice article about spotting the black-shirts. Check to see if you recognize any of the traits reflected in the Teabaggers and their chosen-one Sarah Palin.

http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt.html

And if you haven’t checked out the movie “A Face in the Crowd” please do so. It will give you a chill to think that Sarah Palin is a living version of Larry “Lonesome” Rhodes.

19 04 2010
OKinAK

I agree with rockymtnhigh that we are taking these people too seriously. Why do progressives get so wangered out over what is obviously a fringe group? How can we be expected to take the tea partiers seriously when they don’t even dress up as Mohawk Indians?

19 04 2010
AtoP

DR, I respectfully take issue with your assertion that these militia men are somehow representative of the Tea Party movement. Jumping to such conclusions does nothing to further informed public discourse. Media 101 tells us that you want the reader to think with their hearts not heads and thus, they’ll stay tuned. For instance, Rachel Maddow recently aired the repulsive “McVeigh Tapes” in order to suggest that his beliefs were common among those angry, racist, anti-government Tea Partiers. On the other hand Sean Hannity harped on Rev. Wright’s inflammatory sermons to discredit Obama. Point is, using video clips and photos of outliers of society in order to discredit the beliefs of a larger group merely distracts us from realizing big business, media, and crooked politicos continue to tag team “we the people”.

When the corporations (e.g. Gen. Electric, Halliburton, etc.), the media (FOX/NBC) and Washington Royalty keep the citizenry misinformed, it leads to confusion and fear. History tells us fear is one of the most effective means by which government usurps freedoms of its people. All too often these freedoms are not the governments to grant nor take away. When we are fearful, we are more willing to forgo freedoms in exchange for false notions of protection (e.g. PATRIOT Act). This creep of the federal government runs contrary to a primary goal of our founders who sought to prevent the tyrannical centralized power they endured under the royal scepter, by dispersing powers among the states who could most effectively cater to the needs of the individual.

Seems like yesterday when Halliburton influenced Bush’s foreign policy decisions–but the same can be argued today with this regime’s push for green jobs courtesy of our tax dollars. Much of the R&D monies are padding the pockets of GE who helped elect this administration, but it’s justified because we’re fighting “global warming” and after all–you don’t want to burn alive–do you?! GE and the White House even have its very own propaganda machine NBC/MSNBC whose peacock sacrifices its colorful plumes in favor of green ones–all to entice us to buy “eco-friendly” curly light bulbs (that are full of mercury). But, who cares?, the government will take care of it… It’s time to wake up and remember that politics is all about power.

I hereby double-dare D.R. readers to attend a Tea Party or listen to one hour of talk radio before you pass judgment on another’s beliefs… You may be surprised to learn that these people are your friends, family and neighbors. The fight is not between the people, it is toward those in power who seek to oppress our free will. We can agree to disagree, but without an informed citizenry, we remain slaves to the ole menage a trois. So go ahead, feel free to carry-on with the name calling, but in the end, we’re all in the same boat as those teabagging-birthers.

So from under my tinfoil hat I proudly say, America–I believe in you.

20 04 2010
districtramblings

AtoP– I’m not sure where to start, as you said a lot of things there, and I didn’t fully understand where you were going with some of them. But I’ll try.

You say “feel free to carry-on with the name calling,” but we’re all in the same boat as the tea-bagging birthers. No, I don’t feel like I’m in the same boat as them, and it’s their name-calling and threats of violence I take issue with (see this article, which documents Tea Partiers shouting racist and homophobic slurs at lawmakers http://motherjones.com/mojo/2010/03/tea-partiers-heckle-dems-racist-homophobic-slurs). I don’t feel like anyone in power is oppressing my free will– my free will is fully intact. And I think it’s fully within my right to disapprove of the tactics and completely false rhetoric Tea Partiers are using to express their political views.

As to the global warming/green jobs thing, can you clarify what you’re saying? Because it sounds like you are trying to cast doubt on the whole issue of global warming, which is a very real, scientifically documented threat to our ecosystems. I am in favor of the government pushing for any kind of jobs, especially green jobs– I think that’s a great idea. So your GE argument is lost on me.

The one thing you said that I agree with is that a great deal of American citizens are ill informed about politics, which is exactly the point I was trying to make in my post. The Tea Partiers’ arguments about “constitutionality” don’t make sense, and their threats are completely irrelevant.

I don’t mind people disagreeing with me– in fact, I welcome it. But show me a well-informed argument that’s grounded in reality. Don’t cry “socialism” and ‘freedom” and “free will” when you (the universal you, not you personally) clearly have no idea how those things relate to what’s actually occurring.

20 04 2010
swirlz

Saw a really big bow-legged dork at the bagel shop with a sidearm and I thought of you and this post. His wife seemed safe enough. Anywho, I love my .380 Elsie Pea and I appreciate doing things like checking it at the library.

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