I was going to let all this “teabagging” business slide, as it’s all, you know, too easy a target. Then I stumbled across the sign that changed my mind.
For those of you just joining this Republican epic fail in progress, the story thus far:
In the late 1700s, Britain was exporting tons of cheap tea to the colonies (meaning America), and the colonists were being forced to pay exorbitant taxes to Britain on that tea, much to the chagrin of the local illegal tea trade moguls who were considered upstanding citizens at the time. However, despite still being under British law, the colonies did not get a say in their parliament, meaning they weren’t represented despite being taxed. Thus the phrase “no taxation without representation”. A group of 7000 people (roughly half the population of Boston at the time) stormed the merchant boats and threw crates of tea into the water, during the Boston Tea Party, one of the most famous protests of all time.
Roughly 250 years later, Barack Obama inherits an economy in shambles, after eight years of Bush running up the national debt to unprecedentedly astronomical figures all while reducing the national income by dropping the tax rate on the rich to the insane low of 35%. He proposes to increase the rich’s tax rate back to where it was in the 90s under Clinton, 39.6%. This of course to the crazies that make up the GOP is socialism, because Republicans completely forget everything that came before Reagan. (Seriously, check that out — it peaks at like 93%!)
The plan also included reducing taxes on all those that fall below that fifth percentile of richest Americans, thus putting more burden on those that can afford it to shoulder some of the load for the burden that they and their cronies put on the country. That’s right, lower taxes for all but the top 5%, and end the tax cuts on the top 5% that were due to expire anyway, and that obviously makes Obama a socialist.
So along comes Michelle Bachmann, queen of crazyland, at CPAC, which is basically a crazyland convention, declaring, “I just wondered that if our founders thought taxation without representation was bad, what would they think of representation WITH taxation?” Obviously totally missing the point of the original protests — those being not about taxes being evil in and of themselves, but that if you’re going to be taxed, you deserve a voice in your government. And that’s a valid point, too. Taxes are a necessary evil, being “your part of the bargain” in the social contract you enter by being a citizen of a country (you know, in exchange for a voice in the government, roads, schools, public services, and military protection). Without taxes, you have no functional government, just a series of corporations competing to make money while providing a semblance, a mere shadow, of the original product they claim to be providing. We’ve all seen how well free market capitalism does with things that are geared toward public benefit rather than personal gain.
So if that wasn’t wild enough, a number of “grass roots” initiatives sprang up “spontaneously” (and I swear, totally not at the urging of rabid freaks like Glenn Beck), wherein they decided to protest raising the taxes on the rich back up to a reasonable level by — get this — buying and then discarding bags of Lipton tea. And they called these “teabag parties”, and called going to one of these protests “teabagging”, without the slightest clue that it meant something else.
Later they wised up and tried to call them just plain old “tea parties”, but it was too late, the name stuck. Not only did it stick, but the media is having an absolute field day with it — with remarks like that from, of all people, David Schuster: “If you are planning a simultaneous teabagging all around the country, you’re going to need a Dick Armey.”
So we come to the teabagging parties that are springing up all across the country, averaging probably 500 or so protesters per location, with guest speakers of all political stripes — no, sorry, I guess it’s only Republicans that speak to teabaggers. Oh well. At least we get the hilarity that ensues when illiterate mouth-breathers — folks who honestly don’t know the difference between “raising” the taxes for the top 5% rich to a reasonable degree, by letting expire Bush’s tax cuts which were actually already scheduled to expire, and socialism, the same folks who actually DO cling to guns and religion because they don’t know any better way of dealing with this crazy world, go marching for a cause they don’t understand, and write signs with slogans they don’t even know how to spell.
Seriously, where was this “descent” guy when all the Repubs were screaming that anyone who dissented with Bush was unpatriotic and should “love America or leave it”?