Will teabaggery inevitably lead to violence?

I’m just getting caught up on Metafilter after having dinner at the Brewery with my family, and I’m finding this thread on Tea Party progenitor Keli Carender to be particularly interesting. Maybe it’s the beer, but I’m finding myself completely intrigued by this criminally uninformed young woman and the movement she’s credited with birthing. (Sorry about the pun, but I couldn’t help myself.)

One of my favorite comments in the Metafilter thread comes from someone calling himself Astro Zombie, who has the following to say:

The Times has been looking pretty deep into the Tea Party. Based on what they’re finding, I think a violent clash with authorities is inevitable, and will explode into national violence. The rhetoric of violent revolution which has become common, is troubling, and isn’t meant as metaphor or in jest.

Frank Rich has a few things to say too: The distinction between the Tea Party movement and the official G.O.P. is real, and we ignore it at our peril.

There are other, perhaps, more insightful comments in the thread, but I chose to single this one out because, up until reading it, it, for some reason, hadn’t crossed my mind that a skirmish might transpire between tea baggers and authorities. The more I think about it now, though, the more likely it seems. And I don’t mean to come across as alarmist. I just mean that, with the size of the tea party movement growing, and the popularity of their anti-government message spreading, it’s probably just a matter of time before, at one of their events, someone crosses the line and sets into motion a series of regrettable actions. (It certainly happened with the hippies.) And I’m not even thinking that it would necessarily be the fault of the tea baggers. It’s just that when everyone is keyed-up, and the environment is super-charged, bad things are likely to happen. (See Kent State.)

At any rate, this comment gets me wondering, if, God forbid, something terrible does happen, how people would likely respond. Would it lead, as Astro Zombie suggests, to an explosion of national violence? I’m not so sure. I do, however, think it’s worth considering.

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  1. Peter Larson
    Posted March 1, 2010 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    As much as I hate the Fleabaggers and the racist nation for which they stand, I have seen little evidence of violence as of yet.

  2. Lacy
    Posted March 1, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    Remember the Green Party? How about the Reform Party? I may eat these words, but I think the Tea Party is the right’s Green Party. Paul is Nader aka Perot. The movement will be marginalized and credited with losing the next election, and then will be subsumed.

    If you take a breath and remember all the Green Party fervor of yesteryear, and how it’s gone gone gone, you’ve got warm Tea. Granted, the Tea Party has more guns, but just as much reason not to use them.

    The only reason the Tea (not a party) has legs now is it serves the Republican interests (same true of the Greens, back then). Once it’s usefulness is outlived, the plug will be pulled.

    We have a two party system. When something nears actual power to oppose both, it’s subsumed, erased.

    Don’t fear the Tea Party. Don’t fear the Green Party. They got nothing. They’re a distraction. A flash with no control. No power. Keep focus. Fight the power.

  3. Kim
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I didn’t see your point until I got to the Kent State reference. It’s not really a question of whether or not the Tea Bag Nation will use violence, but that, given the elements involved, violence might happen. Like others, I’m not inclined to thing these anti-government protesters would resort to violence, but I can certainly imagine a situation escalating out of control.

  4. Posted March 2, 2010 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Something to chew on:

  5. Posted March 2, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    The Tea Party folks are focused on “limited” government, especially at the federal level. To say they are anti-government is demagoguery of the worst order.

  6. Ted
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    It’s worth noting that some of these individuals ARE calling for armed insurrection.


  7. Alice Tate
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    So, Designated Republican, would you call them pro-government?

  8. Peter Larson
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    No, DR, these people want a free ride. They don’t mind receiving services but don’t want to pay for them.

  9. Oliva
    Posted March 2, 2010 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Peter (roads, sidewalks, National Mall, P.O., maybe even libraries, among countless other things–such as social security.) I wonder how many support the wars or did when we were getting ensnarled in them and jailing innocent people from other countries at Guantanamo, etc. No thoughtful, consistent thinking but plenty of self-righteousness and reckless disregard for truth, etc.

    I sat beside a woman on the plane the other day who said she’s a news junkie but was surprised to hear that anyone associated the TP movement with racism. “Oh no, it’s only about taxes.” She also said it’s just a reflection of Repub values. (Oh, Frank Rich, I admire you greatly but here am confused!) The woman said she admired Palin and happened to share her look to a remarkable degree–said she hadn’t voted for her and McCain. Was a warm, nice person, even bright seeming about many things–but supportive of something whose more despicable dimensions she could not imagine or see.)

    Maybe there are good-hearted innocents involved in the TP movement, but its true core sure feels rotten–scary coded language of bigotry, privilege, and absolutely ludicrous sense of entitlement.

  10. Ted
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Another comment from that Metafilter thread:

    “Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.” — Robert O. Paxton, The Anatomy of Fascism

    -posted by Avenger at 11:04 AM on February 28

  11. Biscodo VonBiscuit
    Posted March 3, 2010 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Funny thing about the gun nuts and prophesies of violence in the streets… remember back when all the right wingers were preaching about how Obama was going to take away all their guns, and as a result there was a run on gun shops and ammunition suppliers so bad that there was (maybe there still is, I don’t know) an ammunition “shortage” in the US? That they couldn’t keep shelves stocked and wholesale orders were 3 months behind?

    Well, I don’t own a gun, but that kind of rhetoric from teabaggers gives me pause to reconsider. Not because I’m worried about the government… I’m not worried that Obama is going to overturn the second ammendment.

    I’m worried that I’ll have defend my neighborhood against some bands of unstable right-wing crazies. It’s my country too. What makes the teabaggers think that in their armed revolution that they will be “greeted as liberators” by the rest of the populace?

  12. Posted March 9, 2010 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Alice Tate: “So, Designated Republican, would you call them pro-government?”

    Alice, I would call folks in the Tea Party movement exactly what I wrote: They are for a constitutionally limited federal government. It’s unfortunate that the quality of our country’s public school education has fallen so far that not even members of the Democrat Congressional leadership understand what that means anymore. At least President Obama has an excuse: part of his formative years were spent in Indonesia, and then Harvard, so he missed out on taking any objective US history or civics courses.

  13. Camera Girl
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    If progressives want to survive as a species, they need to buy fewer rubbers and more guns.

  14. Brackinald Achery
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Camera Girl, Biscodo, I have been trying to get the fine progressive folks on this blog to arm up and train to defend themselves as a community for at least two freakin’ years. There was an older post somewhere, but I got lazy.

    The real reason is so I don’t have to drive way out to the country to shoot anymore, but it has other benefits, like successfully defending ourselves from groups of armed aggressors.

  15. Donald Washburn
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Brackinald Achery … just so I don’t incur any collateral damage with my mighty inky sword, who are these “groups of armed aggressors” encroaching on us that we should be prepared to face and kill? As a former Eagle Scout, I like to be prepared! I seem to be out of touch, I blame the corporate media, regarding the imminent threat of armed aggression. Is it the Chaneys? (That’s a bit of needling, but meant as a joke. I don’t want you hunting me down!)

  16. Brackinald Achery
    Posted March 9, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Glenn Beck’s secret army of armed crazy people who don’t listen to Glenn Beck at all, Don. Or maybe tea-baggers. Whatever, so long as I can finally go to a nice shooting range in town.

  17. Led Foot
    Posted March 10, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    I believe there’s an entire floor of the City Hall building that isn’t being used. Perhaps we could put a shooting range there, leaving Water Street available for hand grenade practice.

  18. Peter Larson
    Posted March 18, 2010 at 8:21 am | Permalink


    You might be interested in this article:


    These guys have no right to wear the uniform. Interpretation of the Constitution of the US is the job of the Supreme Court, not the military. If this is the path people would like to take, then they might as well call up Idi Amin or Pervez Musharraf for consultation.

  19. Pure Berry
    Posted March 19, 2010 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the link, Pete. This is a great piece on the Oath Keepers.

  20. Blanche Carruther
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Nope. It’ll never happen.

3 Trackbacks

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    […] wake of the one-man attack on the IRS in Austin, we had a discussion here about the whether or not the increased anti-government rhetoric on the right might encourage such behavior. Several people indicated, if I remember correctly, that, given the current political climate, they […]

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