Tuesday, September 15, 2009

teabaggers: lie down with fleas, you may catch more than an itch

Watching the recent "teabagger" protests, and glancing at their organizers' blogs, it becomes obvious that these people are new at the game. They have no real center for their message, and they welcome anyone who has any sort of protest to voice. The problem with not doing some kind of in-group policing is that you end up being held hostage by the fringes of your protest. That one jackass over there wearing the KKK hood, or waving the swastika or some other blatantly offensive sign, becomes the poster child for your protest. On the left, this hijacking was often accomplished by someone with kerosine and an American flag. That one photo took all the headlines and the content of the speeches never made the front page. It didn't take long for antiwar protest organizers to learn to help their protest sympathizers stay on message. If the teabaggers don't learn the same lesson, they will find their protests to be increasingly anti-productive. And if they are really not concerned by the fellow in the KKK hood or waving a sign that threatens the life of the president, then they don't understand that free speech and hate speech are two quite different things. They also confuse these on their blogs, which gives their sympathizers license to go out and do the same in public. Here is an illustrative video from CNN.
Every administration needs a loyal opposition, so nobody wins when the opposition is hijacked by jackasses.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/eikootje/209318417/  eikootje, used under CC license

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