Saturday, July 4, 2009

Roanokers Meet for Patriotic Public Tea Bagging

The Tea Baggers from The Roanoke Tea Party are on the move again. The too-little-too-late whiners kept us busy yesterday at "Schminko's" printing up posters and fliers for their patriotic July 4th protest rally this afternoon at Roanoke's Elmwood Park, site of last week's "Rally for LGBT Equality". The event is part of a nationwide grass roots protest against the government's massive economic stimulus package.

Although they call themselves non-partisan, the group is made up mostly of Republican conservatives expressing their displeasure at the use of tax payer money to bail out failed mega-corporations. They believe in the free market and contend that when businesses, big or small, make bad decisions, they should be allowed to fail regardless of the impact on the global economy. It looks good on paper, not so much in the real world.

One poster had a graphic of a tea bag next to a pitcher of Kool-Aide with a caption that read, "Which One Will You Drink?" The question refers to the mass suicide that took place in Jonestown, Guyana thirty years ago when cult leader Jim Jones directed his dozens of followers to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aide, killing themselves and their children. The tragedy has become a cautionary tale about the dangers of blind faith and an overused cliche' among right wing politicos in the wake of the passage of the stimulus package.

The unemployment rate reached 9.5% nationwide this week and people are hurting. Nobody is happy about the state of the U.S. economy or the idea of spending hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to fix it, but most of us understand that to do nothing would be so much worse.

I'm all in favor of civil protest, community action, exercising free speech and freedom of assembly. But I have to ask, where were these folks five or ten years ago when they could have done some good?

During the years that led to this global economic mess, these free-wheeling free marketers were all nestled snugly up George W. Bush's butt. Why? Because a born-again christian president would never do anything to harm the good old US of A.

What galls me most is the group's repeated use of the words "patriot" and "patriotic" in their literature. These are the same words the Bushies shoved down our throats in the wake of 9/11, implying that if you don't agree with their policies or methods, you're un-American.

Let's not forget that President Obama inherited this economic mess from decades of deregulation and the bad policies of previous administrations from both parties. But that doesn't give him a free pass. The media scrutiny has been more intense with this president in his first six months than it ever was during W's entire eight years of secrecy and backroom politics. It is the job of the press to hold the government accountable for its actions and let's all hope they've learned their lesson and keep at it no matter who's in office.

Whether you call it tea or Kool-Aide, these patriotic tea baggin' tools gleefully chugged it down years ago. Now it's not sitting so well in their bloated bellies. If they're looking for someone to blame for our current state of affairs, maybe they should look in the mirror.

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