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Apparently there was a little dust-up between Mayor Michael Winters and some folks at a Tea Party rally over the weekend. Someone attending the Tea Party event was flying an American flag upside down – a sign of distress. Winters – a military veteran – was not amused and apparently used some choice language to chastise the person.

I understand Winters’ anger – as a veteran, it pains me to see our flag displayed improperly or shown disrespect. I might have said something to the guy, too, although likely not with foul language. I don’t think less of Winters for his actions; even as the Mayor, he’s entitled to opinions and to occasionally forcefully express them.
UPDATE: some good discussion over at Electric City Weblog. And no f-bombs!
UPDATE: Mayor Winters interviewed by KRTV about flag incident.

And speaking of the Tea Party rallies: I am SO SICK of the critics who believe that there is racism behind the movement. My general support of the Tea Party folks is based on the belief that government has gotten too large and controlling, and that sentiment really went into overdrive with the federal stimulus package last year – which is when the Tea Party folks began to rally. The year since then, with the healthcare reform debacle and “Cash For Clunkers” and more government spending, etc, only reinforces the sentiment.

My problem – and the same can probably be said of 99% of the Tea Party folks – isn’t that President Obama is black. I would love to have a black person as the President of the United States: J.C. Watts, for instance, or Condi Rice, maybe even Colin Powell. It’s not the color of their skin that matters. It’s their principles and ideals.

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12 Comments

  1. The racism of the Tea Party is only part of the problem (yes, I am refusing your denial, which is as disingenuous as the Republicans refusing responsibility for the embarrassing lack of civility from the right wing). What’s also a problem is the senseless laying of blame on the president for the government’s response to this recession, which was started by right wing deregulation – based on the myth that a “small” government leads to increased liberty. I have yet to see the American government do to its citizens what the unregulated market has just done to us. Devastation.

    The Tea Party is also against raising taxes AND against making cuts to Medicare and defense spending – just like almost every one of our elected officials. And that’s undeniably ignorant economics. If the Tea Party really wants reality-based politics, it can start by using reality-based rhetoric, by losing the sickening Gen X sense of entitlement (to low/no taxes, to unlimited spending on weaponry, to federal welfare for themselves and no one else [i.e. – Medicare, social security]), and by making some actual contributions to the political discussion, such as real policy suggestions.

    As of now, the Tea Party is the out-of-touch, obnoxious, embarrassing old man of American politics. (The crotchety grandfather who doesn’t realize he’s embarrassing his grandchildren with his not-so-subtle racism.)

    I’m 25 and I am ready for the current political generation to fade into retirement. We have some hard work to do, thanks to the serious failure of the American political system we’re inheriting.

  2. Jason: I too really hate all those racists that support old fashioned and completely crazy “stated” values of the Tea Party like:
    * Fiscal Responsibility
    * Constitutionally Limited Government
    * Free Markets
    We need change and of course it certainly should include much higher taxes and deep cuts in Medicare. We also need more people like you to mold this nation into something we can all be proud of. As a matter of fact, we should make new laws mandating all “embarrassing crotchety grandfather” types should be put to death. These old folks sense of entitlement should make everyone sick as they have just been cruising along in life and never really contributed anything good to and for this country. As I approach my retirement age, I bow to the extensive and all important contributions the under 26 crowd has made to this world so far.

    I’m ready for the Jason’s of this world to step up and put their ideas into action. Who’s with me??????

  3. Tim, this is a perfect example of the inane, nonconstructive talk that comes out of this movement. “Fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets?” Does any of that dreamy libertarian talk have any meaning, beyond a very concise statement of the obvious dreams of every working man and woman? No, because we’re at war, because our citizens are dying of preventable diseases simply because the freedom of “free market” health care does not apply to them, and because the only people who can do anything about it (the voters and their representatives) have been paralyzed for decades by Cold War paranoias and a Reaganomic agenda based on the generosity of the rich. Please.

    I never said that the retiring generation never contributed anything. But I am calling you out for your politics – the failure to evolve, to be generous and creative, to see beyond your own needs and problems. And I haven’t said that the younger crowd has done more for the world than the older crowd. Half of us can’t even pay taxes because we can’t find work – thanks for that!

    You reap what you sow. And we are reaping what you sowed. Your refusal to come to terms with the fact that you have already cashed in our future is duly noted. If anyone has the right to be angry, I think it’s us, the young people who have just recently walked out of American history classes that trumpet the American dream, only to find staring back at us, the Tea Party and their repugnant signs and no ideas and an old political class that can’t see the citizens for all the fat corporate checks on their desks.

    If you want policy specifics from me, I am a centrist Democrat, a la Barack Obama, who is doing a good (far from perfect) job. My people draft policy and debate it. It’s messy and half the time it irritates me, but it’s action. And it’s civil.

  4. I should add also that I’m a Christian, and so I note how far from Christ-like the Tea Party movement is. Now, granted, not everyone is going to behave like a Christian, but I suspect that, this being the United States, a large number of the people out there fighting to maintain the status quo – 45,000 deaths per year due to lack of insurance – identify as Christians. What would Jesus say to 45,000 deaths of His children every year?

    Maybe I should call the Tea Partiers the Cain generation.

    “Am I my brother’s keeper?”

  5. Just what is your point Jason?

    A total of 2,500,000 US citizens die each year, that means 2,455,000 WITH health insurance die each year.

    How about the hundreds of thousands that die because of lifestyle choices? How about the 100,000 each year that die because of medical malpractice? Or how about the 100,000 each year that die from prescribed drugs?

    What part of the economy and freedom shall the government take over to save them?

  6. Jason: First of all, I was being sarcastic. Why? Because you group Tea Party members into one ugly mess of people. Racists, old, uncaring and basically stupid. And this type of mass grouping is so much different than the racists that you claim to hate so much? Please rethink and maybe reread your post. It was rather ugly. Think about your statement “you reap what you sow”! I agree, now get out there, stop your complaining and start sowing. No one gave me anything in life. I worked hard to get where I am today and am still working hard to make a better life for myself. And you come in here and expect me to be happy with some of the policies that are being implemented by the current “centralist” government or President Obama if you will? Yeah, I’m a little bitter about having to share my tax dollars with people are not willing to work 2, 3 or 4 part time jobs to make ends meet. So when you get older and your back hurts constantly and your knees are worn out, tell me just how willing and excited you are about giving your tax dollars to people who don’t do EVERYTHING in their power to break out of poverty. In short, stop trying to convince me to give a little more or in your case throwing stats around about just how bad people need government support. You hit the nail on the head…”you reap what you sow”. And now you are ANGRY because I want to keep what I deserve?…the money I make? And who is the entitle one???? Get back to me in 25-35 years Jason and lets have this conversation again. My bet is that you will be a card carrying Tea Party member or still one of those angry folks who THINKS they got a raw deal from previous generations. My motto is: Life is what YOU make of it. Work hard, use your common sense and be proud of what you do. NEVER expect anyone to give you anything in life.

    Jason…You have some really big testicles by saying “But I am calling you out for your politics – the failure to evolve, to be generous and creative, to see beyond your own needs and problems”. Unless the “you” in this statement is directed only at me, I’d say you slept through history class. And then you are blaming me/us old folks because you don’t have a job? Wow…I get a daily e-mail with jobs in the Great Falls area. There are jobs available but maybe they are beneath you? Heck, I’m not only calling you out for not being able to find a job but actually being so full of yourself to actually blame someone else for your lack of motivation and/or initiative.

    NEXT ISSUE: You may not understanding this but I certainly have earned the damn right to be a “crotchety grandfather” and will embarrass my children as I see fit. It come with the territory of having raised them properly, supported them through many hard times and given them my unconditional love. Or is this one of those entitlement I have lost or maybe one of those entitlements young Democrats think they have earned?

    As far as the dreamy libertarian ideas like “fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and a free markets”? Well, there is little I can say about your possible disdain for these values and goals. If these values and goals are a dream of every working person as you stated above, then it shouldn’t matter if we are at war, in a depression or if people are sick, dying or unhealthy. They are our road map to a what some people think is a better future. Someone famous person made a speech a long time ago and it included the words, “I have a dream” about 10 times. Cannot remember what the heck was going on back then but I think things were pretty bad for a certain group of people. I think this was a time when many people were dying of preventable sicknesses, an unpopular war, one of the highest stress periods in the history of our nation and likely a period when not many folks had health insurance. And you dismiss the idea of “fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and a free markets” as something that doesn’t have any meaning? In the words of Jack Ryan “How dare you, Sir”.

    Then you state that the there is civility in “your” just out of history class type of politics? Holy smokes, you mean the civil way people (a lot of them young) were hanging or burning President Bush in effigy? How long ago was that?????? I’d say the ink hasn’t even dried on the history books that includes this type of your so called “sane and constructive” dialog. So please spare me your selective history of Democrats and civility. Not that I think the crap the Conservative did was right. Wrong is wrong no matter who does it…wouldn’t you agree?

    I thought we had a pretty good future with the younger generation taking over from us older folks. Maybe I am being way too optimistic.

    Jason…Do you think your parents would be proud of you for sharing your above ideas? If it was my children who wrote what you did there would be an old fashioned wood shed their future but I’m guessing you wouldn’t understand what I’m getting at.

    Enuf of this…have a great life Jason. I wish you luck in finding that job and hope you can fix the miserable world you live in.

  7. I come from a working class, union family. I was raised, for the most part, by a single mother, though later my Air Force stepfather came into the picture. I was educated by underpaid public school teachers and, while working part-time, earned a full academic scholarship to a university in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation (south central Los Angeles). I’ve spent my life surrounded by the poorest people (both white working class and non-white immigrant working class).

    Though it flies in the face of the entire foundation of your politics – that you, by age or nationality or circumstance, have the wisdom and the right to determine who does not “deserve” healthcare and other government services – I am not naive (my opinion comes from both experience AND education), nor will I sit back and shut up while thousands die because you and your group think taxation is outrageous, not untreated disease.

    Testicles, that I do have. And so do you, to insult Martin Luther King, Jr. by invoking him in support of a political affiliation that attempts to erase the social work he accomplished.

    I don’t live in Great Falls anymore. I had to leave my family behind because I couldn’t find work in my field. But I do have a job, and my work in attempting to fix this miserable world has begun (see: the election of Barack Obama, the charities I support).

    I absolutely agree that wrong is wrong no matter what, which is why fiscally irresponsible tax cuts are absurd under both Bush and Obama. Same with invasion of privacy and the tolerance of “too big to fail” banks.

    Like I said, I don’t live in Great Falls anymore, which bothers me, but it does come with certain blessings. Namely, exposure to things I’d otherwise never see in my life. It would be interesting to run your opinions by the poor Mexican Americans who take the same bus as me after work. The hardest workers I’ve ever seen are Montana contruction workers and California immigrant laborers. But what does their hard work earn? What do you say to the mother of three who is coming home exhausted from her second shift of the day, when she has to spend three days pay on doctor’s visit for just one of her children?

    On a personal note, after all that has been said, I despise politics. I want nothing to do with it, and come to it only by way of the suffering of people that is sinful to ignore. I don’t even know you, but clearly we are ideological enemies. But ideology is a sick measure of a human, almost as sick as by his economic situation.

    I wish you luck, and same to your kids and grandkids. There is nothing in your life, personally, whose greatness I doubt, even if I have no idea who you are. But I guess we have the split responsibility to stand for something, up against anything, and to be kind to each other individually. I’m sorry if I’ve muddled my responsibilities.

  8. In response to Lance: Jesus died for our sins. The least we can do is lend our hands to do His work. Living within a democratic republic, we cannot ignore the fact that the government is one way in which will becomes action. But will it be His will to love and life, or man’s will to earn that drives our government?

  9. Freedom of speech is something I exercise, and defend for anyone. Mr. Winters is within his rights to disagree with the person who had the flag. Just as the person with the flag has every right to make a statement by flying it upside down. No law..or protocol was broken.

    The power of the Tea Party is evident by the vitriol it garners from their opponents. Keep up the good work.

  10. It’s highly amusing to see the teabaggers characterized as some sort of movement when, in fact, they are merely the dregs of the Republican base, manipulated by the likes of Delay, Armey, Ailes and Murdoch. Since every “opinion” they claim to “take a stand on” is a wholly manufactured Republican talking point, and self contradictory to boot, there’s little reason to give any credence to them outside of the context that they truly operate in: hyper partisan, far right paranoia.

    The demographics of the movement skew heavily to people dependent on the very government they claim to opposed to. Thus, the “Keep the Government’s hands off my Medicare and Social Security” sentiments so prevalent at their astroturf rallies. I

    f any of these dupes were actually concerned about bloated government spending where were they when George W. Bush “the codpiece commander” was piling up huge debts to give tax breaks to kleptocrats and conducting his illegal, botched wars “off budget”? Didn’t hear a peep out of these “patriots” then, did we?

    It’s very hard to take such an obviously misinformed bunch of vague malcontents seriously.

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