A Response From a Clued-In American to a Clueless Brit16 April, 2009
Somebody fill me in here – as a Brit who, frankly, can’t be arsed hunting through an infinite pile of porn sites to find the current (political)definition of “teabagging”, I’m at a loss as to what all these teabaggers clogging up the intertubes are actually protesting about. Something to do with taxes? Can somebody please explain to me what “teabagging” is (I know enough slang to realise that it’s a very unfortunate choice of moniker, but I’m not entirely sure what the Republicans mean by it)?
Cheers in advance, clued-up Americans!
In formulating the response to our clueless British cousin, I realized that the explanation I had come up with not only made sense (in the bizarre pseudo-reality way that anything on the right makes sense) and would make a good post. So, rather than rewrite the thing (which would lose the spontaneity (and (most likely) invite rewrites on my part which would cloud the answer) I decided to do a new post with the explanation:
Basically, the right has their panties in a knot over the idea that millionaires and billionaires may have to pay just a little bit more in taxes to help clean up the mess that conservatism has created. Apparently, jumping the top tax rate up to a level that is still lower than during the reign of Saint Ronald will destroy their version of America. And cutting taxes for virtually the entire middle class is also unacceptable.
Of course, conservatives aren’t real good at actual grass-roots protesting (can’t you just picture mobs of students marching down Pennsylvania Avenue holding up signs saying, “Save the Millionaires”?). So Fox News and some really rich families decided that they can tap into the fear created by the economic chaos (created, in large part, by the policies of the past 8 years) and generate anti-Obama protests.
In order to make the protests look legitimate, and since they concern taxation, the right looked to America’s revolutionary past. They seized upon a moment about 3 years before the Declaration of Independence, the Boston Tea Party (colonials were protesting the fact that England was imposing taxes and the colonists had no say in the taxation (how different do you suppose the world would be if George and the parliament had just said, “Okay, you want representation? You got it”?))
Of course, we no longer buy our tea in large chests. Now it (usually) comes in tea bags (another British invention (Twinings, I believe)). The right seems to think that if thousands of tea bags are sent to Democratic leaders (who were democratically elected) they will suddenly forget who won the last election and vote for the same policies which created this chaos over the last 8 years.
It has morphed beyond a tax protest. The birthers have gotten involved. As has the militia movement, the gun nuts, anti-sex nuts, anti-woman anti-choicers, and even the Birchers. It has gotten so weird that, among the right, the Libertarians are sounding sane.
That, dear Yunshui, is as close as I can get to making sense out of this whole thing. Does that help?
Again, it makes about as much sense as anything else the anti-tax and anti-government zealots have been doing.
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