The Degradation of Decorum and Odd Role Reversals


In case you missed it, teabagging is now an acceptable term from Presidents.

Here’s the thing. I’m younger than a lot of my readers. I was 11 when I learned what a “Lewinsky” was from my President. Classy, right? That’s a huge problem. It brought something that was not even on my radar into every day conversation, and made it not only acceptable, but entertainment. If I was older, I probably would have been humiliated. However, it was just novel and funny to a middle schooler, and our President made it okay.

Unfortunately, in the past few days both President Obama and President Clinton have referred to us as teabaggers. I wish I was making this stuff up. Say what you will about Bush, but he was faithful to his wife, and he never would have called the opposition “teabaggers”. As Melissa Clouthier pointed out on twitter yesterday, “Do we really want the President of the United States using a term that describes one person sucking another person’s testicles ?” We can’t be PC about this.

Our silver tongued President referred to us as “those tea bag people” while among Democrats, and it was caught by a reporter. That’s all we are, right y’all? Tea baggers who show up with guns and rant about how Obama is a Kenyan Muslim?

Um, no.

I had a fascinating conversation with a self-professed liberal author this week. She was working on an article and seeking to understand the Right. After an hour long conversation in which we discussed my stance on war, education, free markets, freedom, capital punishment, drug legalization, and everything else we could cover, she closed with “well, you’re not a bad person, and you’re not crazy.” Um, thanks?

She acknowledged that the media had made a “caricature” of us. She was stunned to find out I’m not a birther. I was like, no, honestly a lot of us cringe when we see those signs at events. That’s not what we’re about. In short, “It’s the economy, stupid!” It’s not about Obama, or abortion or anything but freedom and the desire for the government to get off our collective back.

However, I can’t fault her for expecting a rabid, gun toting, illiterate degenerate. As a California liberal, her coverage comes from the main stream media. I was grateful for the chance to give her some insight to the idea of personal accountability and liberty. Did I make a convert? No. I know she didn’t mean her closing comment as an insult. But it’s sad that it took an hour long conversation for her to reach that conclusion… and that she felt it necessary to qualify that I wasn’t a racist nut job at the end.

What else can we expect? We have been reduced to a caricature of what we really are. We are portrayed as a racist, fringe minority by Republicans, the media, and the President… can we really expect people who don’t know us to take us seriously? I don’t have an answer. I’d like to think that people would understand freedom and therefore see the motivation. That hope is dimming.

The short story is that we’re NOT insane. I have to look at it this way: it’s indicative of our culture on a larger level. We demonize what we don’t understand, and we demonize the things that are a perceived threat. The idea that people are threatened by freedom is an article unto itself. There was an article a short time ago that referred to conservatism as “brain-dead” and lamented the loss of our great thinkers. This is all part of the same cultural shift. That’s our world. The sound-bite media and the fear of the opposition is not a problem confined to conservatism. I suppose, though, that when conservatism in the past has relied so heavily on it’s scholars, it’s more of a loss. The Left, at least for the past 40 years or so, has relied on activism. It has a history of social change, protests, and revolts. The Right, not so much.

Isn’t it odd to see the roles reversed? The conservatives are the ones protesting and revolting. We’re the ones showing up in force, because we have no other choice. Meanwhile, we have our Glenn Becks and Keith Olbermanns in a talking points war, doing their best to mock and discredit one another. I don’t think things have been so polarized in our country in a really long time.

So where are we headed? When there is no decorum from the highest elected office in the nation, when we are simply reduced to caricatures of ourselves, do we have power? Do we actually have a voice?

Yes. We do. We saw it last week at the polls, and we will continue to see a swing. I believe we’re at a breaking point, and in America, I believe we will break on the side of freedom.

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