Editor: Here are Andy’s observations and more photos of the “doctor’s” tea party held last Saturday (08/07/10) at Spanish Landing near downtown San Diego. He did find that the “Birther” movement is still alive here in San Diego.
by Andy Cohen / The Politics of Football / August 10, 2010
I’m not sure what I expected to see when I dared to venture into enemy territory. I mean, I knew that, generally speaking, the Tea Partiers’ vision of America was not firmly based in reality; that they typically harbor a longing for “a simpler time,” and “the old days,” and their theories on the economy and politics and health care tend to be more theory and less actual, workable policy. And I know unequivocally that should the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party gain any real power in America then we’re all in for a long, slow descent into third world status.
And I’m not sure what I expected to see crowd wise: Would there be thousands upon thousands gathered to lend a full-throated roar to their anti-government rage? No. What I found was a modest gathering of about, oh, 700 or so people (maybe more, maybe less……I’m just guestimating here. But it wasn’t a huge crowd by any stretch of the imagination) that was rather tepid in their enthusiasm.
I must admit, though, that I walked into the festivities with a small handful of preconceptions:
- The Tea Partiers tend to be older. Yet I was surprised to find a good number of twenty and thirty somethings. A few even brought their entire family.
- The Tea Partiers have racist tendencies. This one I’m not unconvinced of, but then again, I’m not convinced that they are racist (or do lean to racist tendencies). One I can say for sure is that most of the signs they displayed were so far out of the mainstream and so detached from reality, and truly did not lend credibility to the views of this group. In fact, I really have to question the education most of these folks received.
- The Tea Partiers are overwhelmingly white. This one could not have been more true. There was a stunning lack of color in the audience. Now, those in attendance would argue that just because the audience was entirely white does not mean that they lacked diversity, I would argue that that is exactly what it means. All of these folks are white, middle class, have an irrational fear of government, and love to claim that they have a keen understanding of the Constitution, yet demonstrate every day that they clearly don’t.
I must also admit that I half expected to walk into a steaming cauldron of hate. And while I did find the expected half-witted, half-brained bile coming from the speakers and the visual aids, I found it to be a rather well-behaved, if paranoid crowd.
Of course, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t the expected delusional rantings about the evil government and the communist Barack Obama. About how those dreaded liberals are out to deliberately destroy the country and hand it over to the Chinese or Venezuelans, or whomever the enemy du jour is. That only comes with the territory for a delusional right-winger. After all, there has to be SOMEONE out there that we have to start a war with next, right?
“We are at war with Oceania. We have always been at war with Oceania.”
Ok, so maybe there wasn’t the cadre of wild-eyed crazies that I half expected (hoped?) to find. I mean, it’s just so easy to dismiss the majority of these people as plain ‘ol ignorant, malleable minions of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and El Rushbo.
And they are that.
That’s not to say that the crazies didn’t show up. They most certainly did, only most of them were featured speakers at the event.
First, I need to mention a prevailing sentiment at this gathering that I found rather disturbing: These folks view health care as a privilege, not a right. In fact, one of the first speakers I heard (sadly I did not arrive in time to hear Sharron “Obtuse” Angle speak……it’s probably for the better) was an obscure California gubernatorial candidate, Chelene Nightingale–Yeah…..I’d never heard of her either—came right out and declared it!
“Health care is a privilege, not a right.” Which essentially means that if you can’t pay for medical attention, you can just go ahead and die. You won’t be missed. You weren’t wealthy enough to really contribute to society anyway. I could dedicate an entire book to ranting about how wrong that sentiment is, but I’ll save it for another time.
But that’s not the only thing coming through the PA system that I found, well, to put it mildly, objectionable. One speaker accused Barack Obama of being a “Hugo Chavez Wannabe dictator.” And all the other “Obama as socialist, commie pinko” nonsense (actually, I did see a sign accusing him of being a “commie.” C’mon! That’s so 50’s!)
Then there was a “comedian” named Eric Golub. I put “comedian” in quotes because he obviously thinks he’s funny, and he apparently does have a standup act that he takes on the road. But I found the guy pretty sad and pathetic. Certainly not funny.
And he brought out his ‘A’ game for this event, let me tell you! Like the joke where he says he agrees “we need to be more bipartisan. We need to find compromises for our government to work. For example, gun control. We conservatives want LESS, those commie liberals want MORE gun control. So all we have to do is take all of the guns away from those liberals and give them to us. And the next time we have a disagreement, we’ll win ‘cause WE HAVE ALL THE GUNS!”
Or the one on tax policy. “We want to lower taxes, while those liberals want to RAISE taxes. So here’s what we do: We take their money and give it to us. What are they gonna say about it? WE HAVE ALL THE GUNS!!!”
Ha ha. I’m ROFLOL.
Or this gem: “Don’t bring a knife to a gun fight, BRING A BAZOOKA!”
What is it about Conservatives (big ‘C’) and those “2nd Amendment solutions” they are always looking to bring about? (Like the sign I photographed that said “The solution to 1984 is 1776!”)
Or his reference to the Speaker of the House as “Pelosiraptor.” And you should probably buy this guy’s book………ok, maybe not.
Or the rhetoric thrown around by Rickey Jackson’s daughter (why the hell did they ask her to speak?). “Obamacare,” she says, “threatens everything about our way of life.” A bit melodramatic, maybe, Candace? Of course, this is a woman who believes that the health insurance companies are the “victims” of “Obamacare.” And that progressive intellectuals “fell in love with Russian and German socialism.” Oh, and “Obamacare is unconstitutional!” Like she’s some sort of Constitutional Scholar or something.
One positive of the day was hearing the story of Nick Popaditch. Mr. Popaditch is running against Rep. Bob Filner of the 51st District. Now, I don’t think the guy is cut out for Congress just yet. I’m not sure he has a full grasp of just what it means to run a government and represent ALL of the people in a district. But he does have a compelling and inspirational story.
Mr. Popaditch is a Marine who was wounded in Iraq. He took shrapnel to his face, causing him to lose his right eye (he wears an eye patch). He also caught another piece of shrapnel that got lodged in behind his left eye, rendering him temporarily blind. The doctors were unsure if they would be able to save it, or if he’d ever be able to see anything ever again. They were forced to remove his left eye to get to the offending piece of metal and remove it, reinserting his lone remaining “good” eye afterward. Today Mr. Popaditch doesn’t see perfectly out of his left eye, but he can see. And for that he expresses his eternal gratitude to the doctor’s that worked with him.
But Mr. Popadtich has a warped view of the American healthcare system. He says “doctors are mercenaries.” And he doesn’t really have a plan or an idea for making sure the 43 million Americans without health insurance can get it. At least none that he proposed.
He also decries the evils of “Obamacare,” and insists that it should be repealed. But Popaditch is a realist, and knows that even as a member of Congress he’ll never be able to repeal the health care bill. But, he says, they can defund it, and by gosh, that’s just what he intends to do.
Popaditch also wants to “get rid of all those Czars” (never mind that George W. Bush appointed far more “Czars” than Obama has, but it didn’t seem to bother anybody back then). He insists that government cannot create jobs. He demands lower taxes (despite the fact that taxes are at their lowest in half a century—yes, that means we are paying less in taxes than we have in a VERY long time).
But perhaps the most disturbing thing about Nick Popaditch, and most dangerous, is that he views the world and its politics through his military service. He seems to believe that military force is the answer to all of our problems throughout the world. He would like to see a tougher approach to Iran and North Korea—we need to rattle more sabers and talk tough. His message: “America will always be able to out tough you and out fight you!” Like dropping bombs is the answer for everything. As if that will make us more secure.
Anyway, I did get a chance to speak with Mr. Popaditch very briefly, and I do intend to take him up on his offer for an interview. I found him to be very personable and respectful. And I do think he means well. I just don’t think he has the right ideas about what life in this country is all about. And while I wish him the very best and thank him for his service, I sincerely hope that Bob Filner retains his seat in Congress next November.