Monday, October 18, 2010

Shocking: Tea Partiers don't understand the Constitution

Posted By on Mon, Oct 18, 2010 at 11:12 AM

I've thought for some time that the Tea Party candidates were really running in some sort of underground popularity contest, where the prettiest — not the brightest — were put on stage. Well, congratulations pinheads. Everyone's paying attention to your blathering and now you've got that witch, Christine O'Donnell, up in Delaware schooling large crowds on the Constitution ... except she doesn't know what the hell she's talking about.

Here's a snippet from Newsweek:

The Founders’ masterpiece, O’Donnell said, isn’t just a legal document; it’s a “covenant” based on “divine principles.” For decades, she continued, the agents of “anti-Americanism” who dominate “the D.C. cocktail crowd” have disrespected the hallowed document. But now, finally, in the “darker days” of the Obama administration, “the Constitution is making a comeback.” Like the “chosen people of Israel,” who “cycle[d] through periods of blessing and suffering,” the Tea Party has rediscovered America’s version of “the Hebrew Scriptures” and led the country into “a season of constitutional repentance.” Going forward, O’Donnell declared, Republicans must champion the “American values” enshrined in our sacred text. “There are more of us than there are of them,” she concluded.

From a legal perspective, there’s a case to be made that O’Donnell’s argument is inaccurate. The Constitution is a relentlessly secular document that never once mentions God or Jesus. And nothing in recent jurisprudence suggests that the past few decades of governing have been any less constitutional than the decades that preceded them. But the Tea Party’s language isn’t legal, and neither is its logic. It’s moral: right vs. wrong. What O’Donnell & Co. are really talking about is culture war.

Contemporary Constitution worshipers claim that they’ve distilled their entire political platform—lower taxes, less regulation, minimal federal government—directly from the original text of the founding document. Any overlap with mainstream conservatism is incidental, they say; they’re simply following the Framers’ precise instructions. If this were true, it would be quite the political coup: oppose us, the Tea Party could claim, and you’re opposing James Madison. But the reality is that Tea Partiers engage with the Constitution in such a selective manner, and for such nakedly political purposes, that they’re clearly relying on it more as an instrument of self-affirmation and cultural division than a source of policy inspiration.

Read the rest of this article here.

This is scary, people. This is one angry mob, bought and paid for by the uber rich — whether their serfs accept that reality or not, who are actively attempting to rewrite American history to suit their political and financial purposes.

We can't allow this to happen. Revising history is, and always has been, extremely dangerous. Besides, what they're peddling isn't history, nor is it patriotic. What they're selling you is whatever their financial supporters want you to digest. What's going on is extremely disrespectful to the founding fathers and everyone else who risked their lives to establish a free country where we can say what we want and believe what we want.

If you're not sure what you're being told or what you're reading is true, go to the source documents and arm yourselves with facts. Read the Constitution AND its amendments. Read the Bill of Rights. Check out an American history book from the library. Read the founding fathers' biographies. Learn about the Revolutionary War, the first settlers and how the Constitution was created.

Then, when you hear people full-on making shit up about our country, her people or its political system, speak up. When you have a chance to advocate for what's right, take it. When Election Day rolls around, vote.

And, let's get this straight: To question authority is American. To speak up about causes you're passionate about is American. To attend the church of your choice is very American. Let's stop accusing people who are different from us of being "un-American" just because they hold different beliefs than we do. Because that, dear friends, is un-American. "Don't tread on me" applies to everyone, not just you. So, let's make a deal: You don't tread on my rights and I won't tread on yours.

Here's the typically nutty James David Manning, a New York minister, talking about how he doesn't hate the Tea Party (yet), but that we can't ignore the fact that they're bending our country's laws to suit their purposes ... and how that's not a good idea. Though, while he makes some good points, the separation of church and state also applies to ministers. But, apparently, everyone's a political expert these days.

Side note: Thanks to Jen Bashford for sharing this story on Twitter last night and bringing it to my attention.

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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