Intolerant And Stupid (Updated)

One of the reasons I’ve been rather scathing about various Tea Party conservatives is that they manage to routinely demonstrate that the “broad brush” attacks made against the movement are … true.   Particularly when it comes to  those who managed to get themselves elected to a national office, and style themselves as being among the “leaders” of the Tea Party movement in Congress.   When you see straight-up intolerance being promulgated by them, as well as a lack of anything resembling a grasp of historical reality,  it’s hard not to think that it’s a serious facet of the Tea Party.   If not “representative” of the Tea Party movement in general, then the Tea Party definitely has a serious problem when it fails to distance itself from these people.  Who am I talking about?

Let’s start with Representative Allen West.    He was being interviewed, and the interviewer asked him about Representative Keith Ellison.  Who happens to be, in case you missed it, a Muslim.   Here’s what happened:

PERITZ: Since you’re with a new crowd, people you haven’t really met before, and will be very closely associating with in the future, including Keith Ellison, who supports Islam, how will you manage that, if I may ask, because it’s not really easy to be polite with individuals one totally disagrees with, which I believe may be the case.

WEST: Well I think it’s most important that I stand upon the principles that people elected me to go to Washington, DC and represent them on Capitol Hill. So that when you run into someone that is counter, or someone that really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established, you’ve got to be able to defeat them intellectually in debate and discourse, and you to just have to be able to challenge each and every one of their assertions very wisely and very forthright.

Really.  Seriously intolerant, wouldn’t you say?  He just said that a fellow member of the House is someone who’s the “antithesis of the principles upon which this country was founded.”  It’s outright intolerant religious bigotry on his part.  It’s also astoundingly stupid of him.  You see, Representative West is an African American.  Which means that among the principles in the same Constitution at the founding of this country, he would have been considered “property.”  Not really a human being, and definitely not allowed to vote or accorded any rights.   Even more ignorant, any reading of the Constitution would show – to a disinterested reader – that there is no religious qualification specified for election to federal office.    That’s because they didn’t want one.

Then there’s the always reliably stupid Michele Bachmann.  Again.   This is a woman who wanted a leadership post in the Republican caucus (didn’t get it), and who claims to be the “leader” of the “Tea Party caucus” in the House.  Besides her inability to … write and sponsor legislation, which is a remarkable achievement in itself, she has a perfect record of failing fact checks.  Which happened when she gave a speech recently:

Why does Michele Bachmann like the history of the founding fathers so much? Because, apparently, you can just make it up as you go along! Listen ye children as we do a “close read” of this speech and discover the many amazing improvised historical facts Michele Bachmann made up for us.

In other words, she didn’t get a single fact right.   One particular gem (with snark commentary from Wonkette):

Eighteenth-century America: “It didn’t matter the color of their skin, it didn’t matter their language, it didn’t matter their economic status… it made no difference. Once you got here, we were all the same. Isn’t that remarkable.” Yes, yes it certainly is! Those black slaves and poor white indentured servants were idiots! They didn’t realize they lived in a totally equal society, completely in line with one another. They just thought they were de-jure or de-facto owned by other humans! Whoops! COLONIAL FAIL! (Also: If this sounds like socialism, it WASN’T. Michele says the Pilgrims didn’t come over here for universal health care, so there.)

Amazingly, people in the audience thought this was a good speech.  Which goes to show the level of history education that seems to be rampant in many parts of the country – it’s non-existent.  Here’s Anderson Cooper going over it:

I’ve been listening to various Tea Party members complain about their being painted as intolerant, ignorant bigots.   “It’s not what the movement is about!” they claim.  The problem is that the people they’re putting in office are doing everything they can to show that it is a big part of it.  I, probably too idealistically, rather expect a member of Congress to have a firm understanding of the Constitution and it’s history, as well as a good background about the history of this nation.    I expect them to recognize that there is such a thing as “freedom of religion” here, and that they represent a diverse constituency, and act accordingly.   It’s probably a bit too idealistic, but still, I have leanings in that direction.    But when the Tea Party claims they’re “misunderstood” and then I hear silence – or applause – coming from them when things like this happen,  it says something.  Intolerant and stupid?  If the shoe fits, wear it.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “Intolerant And Stupid (Updated)

  1. fleetadmiralj

    Soon, instead of telling someone they’re an idiot or a moron, you’ll just say something like “Oh, you’re so Michelle Bachmann!” I think.

    • LOL! What stuns me is that CNN is going to give her air time to for her “rebuttal” to the State of the Union. Which may actually at some point touch on something the President said.

  2. majii

    We can add Peter King’s name to the list of those for whom intolerance is a way of life. According to Think Progress, he’s saying that he’s conducting investigations into American Muslims because 80% of mosques are led by extremist imams. Had I been in his presence when he made this comment, I would have asked him if there are so many extremist imams leading mosques in America, why haven’t we witnessed more acts of terrorism? I can see him squirming and trying to avoid answering the question.

    If American Muslims and mosques are such a danger to America, I would think that we’d be hearing about one act of terrorism after another, yet, we hear little/nothing about any imam or Muslim-American trying to overthrow the government. We know how much the MSM loves to report on these kinds of incidents, and I’ve heard nothing at all. This is a witch hunt akin to the one McCarthy carried out in the 1950s, and I don’t think that Americans of the future will look kindly on Peter King, Michelle Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Louie Gohmert, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, and others who have no shame in showing their intolerance to others who differ from themselves. West should be ashamed of himself. He’s a discredited former military officer who took an oath to uphold the Constitution and has failed miserably.

    • Well, Peter King has some … interesting … background when it comes to terrorism. As it turns out, he’s perfectly fine with it, as long as it’s white Catholics being the terrorists.

      A 2005 profile of King by the conservative New York Sun told the story of King’s long and deep involvement with the terrorist Irish Republican Army (IRA) and, even more damning, his support for Irish Northern Aid (NORAID), a US-based group accused of funnelling guns and money to the IRA. According to the Sun:

      Mr. King’s support for the IRA was unequivocal. In 1982, for instance, he told a pro-IRA rally in Nassau County: “We must pledge ourselves to support those brave men and women who this very moment are carrying forth the struggle against British imperialism in the streets of Belfast and Derry.”

  3. majii

    Bachmann received some well-deserved criticism from Cooper and Matthews today. She is a lot like Palin. Neither one of them spends much time studying the topics on which they speak, and they insult those of us who have a good grasp of American history and politics. What bothers me most is the way that they think that we should sit down and shut up when they bastardize everything they touch simply because they have access to the media and are fairly attractive females. Just because their supporters focus on the attractiveness factor doesn’t mean that all Americans do, and any criticism they receive from us is misconstrued as an attack on them of some sort. In my world, you’re either right, or you’re wrong. I love this country enough to tell them they are wrong whether they like it or not. I learn from the lessons that the past can teach, and one thing I learned from GWB is to pay very close attention to politicians, especially republican politicians. They’re good at selling BS but not so good at governing. This is something that I don’t want to see repeated again in my life—it’s too devastating on our country and our families, especially our children and grandkids who will be forced to deal with the effects of poor republican governance for many years after we pass on.

    • The truly pathetic thing about Bachmann – and frightening in a way – is that she really doesn’t care if she’s caught out lying or demonstrating her ignorance. She has no shame. Most people would be embarrassed if they were so easily caught at it, but she doesn’t, and she never gets better. The fact that she’s encouraged by the Tea Party to do this is not saying good things about them.

  4. Aquagranny911

    All Spirits, saints and holy people preserve me from all the ignorance running rampant in this country now! It is bad enough to deal with racism and religious bias but the terrible stupidity and lack of historical knowledge makes me want to run screaming in the streets. These sorry “unpersons” want to re-write history to support their own skewed world view. The sad thing is that in some ways and in some places they are getting away with this very thing.

  5. It seems to me that there has always been a strong undercurrent in this country of prideful ignorance: Pride in being “just folks”, pride in not being a pointy-headed intellectual, pride in trusting “plain common sense” over expertise. Heck, one political party in our history proudly called themselves the “Know Nothing Party” — who, come to think of it, sound a helluva lot like an 1840’s-50’s version of the Tea Party.

    Come to think of it, the more I read up on the Know Nothings, the more powerful the parallels are. Check out Wikipedia’s article, for example:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Know_Nothing

    • Lots of parallels there, now that I looked at it. If you substitute “Mexican” and “Muslim” for Catholics and Chinese, you have pretty much the same rhetoric.

    • Nathan Katungi

      I think members of the Bachmann/Palin led party should proudly call themselves the “Make Up Stuff Party.” President Obama, in his STOU speech, talked passionately about the need to improve education in Science and Maths; but equally important is the need to improve education in history and what used to be called civics. Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Pallin repeatedly cite erroneous facts that they pass on as historical facts. What is tragic is that their audiences, who lack rudimentary historical knowledge, swallow everything they say as the absolute truth. Until the masses of people are properly educated in history, these peddlers of made up facts, and other historical fantasies, will continue to undermine the stability of this country.

  6. J Brunner fan

    Thanks very much!