Should San Diego progressives hold a counter-demonstration at the up-coming Tea Party rally? This is the question for San Diegans with a conscience.
Local Tea Baggers will be staging an event on Saturday, February 27th. Local right-wing radio pundit, former felon and mayor, Roger Hedgecock will be the keynote speaker. The rally will be held from 11 am to 1 pm, just north of the Star of India along Harbor Drive.
San Diego Tea Party members held a similar demonstration in October. Only a handful of counter-demonstrators gathered at that rally, and were vastly outnumbered. This time the event is billed as their “first anniversary.”
Personally, I’m tired of giving Tea Baggers a pass. They represent a dangerous, divisive, and openly racist movement in this country. Tea Party organizers are capitalizing on genuine anger among American citizens about the state of the nation, and are attempting to kidnap that anger and channel it in authoritarian, violent and prejudiced directions.
Many Tea Baggers don’t accept the results of the 2008 Presidential election. They consider President Barack Obama as a socialist, Muslim, communist, fascist, marxist, Kenyan … or whatever else they can summon up as part of their fear mongering. Of course, Obama is none of these things. He certainly is not a socialist – he’s not even a progressive.
Yet, the Tea Party movement is something that cannot be ignored – despite many progressives’ acts and beliefs of denial and avoidance. That movement, with its corporate funding, its FOX news and other mainstream media support, its penchant for just-below-the-surface threats of violence, its harboring of leaders such as Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, and locally of Congressman Darrel Issa and radioheads Rick Roberts and Hedgecock, daily stoking peoples’ fears and prejudices, it’s blatant signs of open racism – all point to an American brand of fascism.
Not that every individual attending these Tea Bag events is necessarily an American brownshirt, their leaders certainly are.
Hey, don’t tell the Tea Party activists, but their use of the tea bag symbol is totally upside down. American patriots stormed those English ships in Boston harbor and threw the tea overboard. They would be aghast if they knew modern-day citizens were using the tea bag as a positive icon. The tea was thrown overboard, and that’s when American colonists turned to coffee.
To counter the Tea Baggers, progressives need to start a “coffee grounds” movement.
Yet, Progressives in San Diego – and elsewhere, need to consider what our stance is towards the Tea Party movement.
If you think we should have a counter-demonstration, we need at least one hundred good progressives to stand up, and at least play witness to the local movement when it rallies.
The call is out – please let us know what you think … should we stand idly by? should we stand as witnesses with black tape over our mouths? Should we co-mingle and try to convince our fellow citizens of their folly? Should we simply ignore them?
What do we do?