April 15, 2009

What is Really Driving Conservative Teabagging?

A teabag containing artichoke tea (right) and ...Image via Wikipedia

All teabagging jokes aside, I find the conservative anti-tax "tea party" protests to be absolutely fascinating. It occurs to me that any blog addressing irrational belief simply must comment on the dramatic ignorance driving these anything-but-grassroots protests. On the surface, the protests are about taxes. And yet, the protesters seem oblivious to the fact that their taxes have been cut. This raises the question about the real source of the protests and what is driving them.

On the subject of taxes, the facts are quite clear for anyone who cases about such trivialities as facts. The Obama administration is cutting taxes for at least 95% of Americans. If the protesters are unaware of this, the source of their confusion of obvious. The alternative is that they are fully aware of this fact and are protesting because they believe that people with more money than they will ever see should not pay taxes. With all the outrage we are seeing now over corporate greed and the botched bailouts, I find this alternative rather unlikely.

Perhaps the protesters have consumed so much misinformation by Fox "News" that they can no longer distinguish between propaganda and news. Or perhaps the protests really have little to do with taxes.

What then? There certainly seems to be an element of racism in the continued questions about Obama's citizenship. Some Americans remain convinced that Obama is Muslim, Arab, and/or not a U.S. citizen. Once again, right-wing media has been spinning these lies. However, the question remains why this is suddenly so attractive.

I suspect that the answer lies in lingering dissatisfaction from those who opposed Obama's election. Angered and disappointed, they seek solace in the one place which can be counted on to reinforce their beliefs: extreme right-wing media. The lies make them feel better, so much better that they soon stop caring about the truth of the information they receive. Does this remind you of anything?

And this brings us to teabagging. A bunch of angry and horribly misinformed conservatives are protesting Obama's election under the guise of a tax protest. Before we condemn them as sore losers, I'll simply offer the following: there are plenty of excellent reasons to protest some of Obama's early decisions; one does not need to manufacture false ones.

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