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Commentary Last Updated: Sep 21st, 2010 - 00:25:36

Tea party talking points, translated
By Mary Shaw
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Sep 21, 2010, 00:18

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The tea partiers have their talking points, which they repeat loudly and forcefully (and often misspell). But I wonder if they�ve actually really thought about the points they�re parroting. I suspect not.

They rail against �Obamacare� and anything else that the White House (and Pelosi and Reid) might advocate, even though their protests fly in the face of their own best interests.

In repeating their talking points, here is what they�re really saying to the Obama administration and Congress:

  • How dare you force insurance companies to cover my preexisting conditions?

  • How dare you not allow the insurance companies to drop my coverage when I get sick?

  • How dare you try to regulate the financial industry that got us into this economic mess so that they�ll be less likely to repeat the same greedy mistakes?

  • How dare you pass a stimulus bill that has created some 3 million jobs so far?

  • How dare you expect the wealthiest 2 percent to pay their fair share of taxes even as you extend the tax cuts for us middle-class folks?
  • How dare my tax dollars be spent on your �socialist� agenda? (Of course I will gladly take advantage of our socialized fire departments, police departments, schools, roads, bridges, and clean water.)

  • How dare you try to restrict more offshore oil drilling that could lead to even more environmental disasters like the recent BP oil spill? (As our Saint Sarah says, �Drill, baby, drill!�)

  • �Illegal� immigrants are stealing all the great lettuce-picking jobs.

  • Oh, and keep your government hands off my government-run Medicare! (Huh?!)

Absurd stuff in an absurd political environment.

Which is what makes me believe that they�re not really thinking about their talking points. Instead, it seems, they�re only reacting to the brainwashing by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and the rest of the conservative fear mongers who indulge these people�s intellectual laziness, fuel their fears, and dictate their thoughts.

And it all boils down to the following:

  • How dare you elect a president whose skin color does not match mine?

  • Many of our ancestors immigrated here without papers, but they were white. We don�t want more brown people.
  • I want my white-controlled America back.

  • And I�ll demonstrate in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on the anniversary of Martin Luther King�s most famous speech, to show the world just how frightened I am!

Perhaps saddest and most frustrating of all, I�m sure they don�t even see the irony.

Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views appear regularly in a variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites. Note that the ideas expressed here are the author�s own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty International or any other organization with which she may be associated. E-mail:

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