Thursday, April 22, 2010

On The Subject of Incivility

As I was settling into a comfortable chair in my local library to read yesterday's
edition of the "big city" newspaper in my metropolitan area, The Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel, a letter to the editor caught my eye. Someone wrote to the JS editor
decrying alleged acts of intimidation against people who disagree with Tea Party
activists regarding the domestic activities of our government.

The author, who described herself as a 63-year-old grandmother, alleged that she
had been threatened with vandalism to her car if she didn't remove an Obama sticker
from it. The threat was on a note which also contained foul language along with
accusations of being a "Communist" and was left on the author's windshield. She
went on to say that she read an article about the Tea Party Movement which
mentioned some supporters wearing T-shirts saying "Save a seal, club a liberal".
In her final paragraph, the author stated "Threats and intimidation are not
acceptable in our country. Totalitarian governments require uniformity of thought.
Freedom of speech applies to all of us, not just a certain segment of our population.
wake up and think before you speak or act, or we just might destroy what we hold so

Let us critically examine this woman's letter point-by-point, shall we? First,
your faithful Peasant condemns acts of violence against people and their property,
no ifs, ands, or buts. There are NO valid reasons for engaging in such thuggish,
bullying behavior. Hopefully the author promptly reported this incident to her
local police and gave them the threatening note as evidence. The Tea Party activists
neither engage in such low and cowardly activity, nor tolerate those who do. As a
matter of fact, the movement's activists weed out such miscreants from their ranks
as soon as they appear. This is one of the reasons why your loyal Peasant is proud
to be a Tea Party activist; quality control for the sake of keeping our movement
credible so as not to repel those law-abiding, responsible, respectable Americans
which we prize as the backbone of our movement! That being said, conservatives
and liberals who display anti-Obama and/or conservative/Republican candidate or
cause stickers on their cars find their vehicles quite often vandalized just for
their having these stickers on their cars. Sometimes they face far worse. Case in point: in Madison (the capital city of Wisconsin) during the sometimes heated
2008 presidential election season a man was both verbally harrassed and tailed
ALL THE WAY TO HIS HOME by a motorist of the left-wing persuasion for having the
temerity to sport a McCain sticker on his pickup truck. After pulling into his
driveway the latter pulled up, exited his car while continuing his verbal
barrage,then physically attackied him. By the way, the author of this letter
being discussed here gave her town along with her name; of course your responsible
Peasant won't reveal either but will say that the town is one that is close by
Madison, which is a citadel of liberal politics. "Mad City" is not a hospitable
place for conservatives nor anyone else who is not a solid lefty to the core!
And don't forget the threats and violence perpetrated upon conservative partici-
pants in the "town hall" meetings around the country last year, just for daring
to speak out against Obama's bailouts of banks and corporations, wild spending
eupemistically called "stimulus", and "Obamacare" --- the nationalization of our
health care!

Second, the T-shirts mentioned by the author are merely instances of political
humor, without any more seriousness to them than the T-shirts that say "Nuke the
whales!" which have been around for quite some years. No one is going to clobber a
liberal with a club any more than someone is going to blast a whale with an atom
bomb! Anyone who takes these humorous political messages seriously does not
understand absurdity as a component of humor!

Third, the author is correct to state that "totalitarian governments require
uniformity of thought". Have you noticed lately how the Obama administration,
the Democrat-controlled Congress, and former President (and Democrat) Bill
Clinton have been ratcheting up their hostile rhetoric against the Tea Party
activists, not to mention their pals in the laughingly-labeled "mainstram media"?
Just a couple of days ago I heard that one of the media mega-lefties accused
us Tea Party folk of sedition! Now, sedition is defined as being "incitement of
discontent or rebellion against a government" (The Random House Dictionary of
the English Language, Second Edition, Unabridged. We Tea Party activists are
doing neither; as we are not opposing the government itself but rather its runamok
growth, and merely want to effect positive, corrective change at the polls,
NOT through insurrection or like means. So what happened to Hillary Clinton's
declaration, "Dissent is patriotic!"? And where are the twentysomething lefties
who wore buttons and T-shirts urging us to "Question authority!" during the
George W. Bush years? Anyone who openly questions what Obama and the congressional
Democrats do is called "racist"; "hatemonger"; "domestic terrorist" and worse names
the likes of which would make a United States Marine blush! Apparently "dissent" and
"questioning authority" are things that are fine and dandy to engage in when the
Republicans are in charge, but are forbidden when the Democrats are running the
show. Now THERE'S your "uniformity of thought"!

Finally, fourth, the author is quite right that freedom of speech indeed applies to all of us. And it is incumbent upon all of us as citizens to engage in political
discourse to determine how our government should govern, doing so in a civil
manner. Therefore your humble Peasant offers this advice to the author of the
letter we have critiqued here today: you yourself should "wake up and think"
before being quick on the draw to condemn "a certain segment of the population"
for the misdeeds of a wild few. Every political movement in the history of our
country and that of the world which strove to do good regrettably has had a few
"loose cannons" in their numbers. What should be given moral weight to is not
whether a political movement has any such fools in its ranks, but what those in
the movement do to control them or, if control isn't possible, to expel and
exclude them. The Tea party Movement is most vigorous in policing its members;
it is our enemies which resort to confrontational and intimidating behavior
to advance their cause. They are the ones who "just might destroy what we hold
so dear" if they are not checked by an informed and vigilant citizenry. That is
what we in the Tea Party Movement are campaigning for. So if you want more
civility in future exchanges between your side and that of the Tea Party Movement,
then, Madam, police your side's ranks. As Mahatma Ghandi told the world, we must
be the change that we wish to see.


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