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I read a terrifying article in this morning's Charlotte Observer...an article so terrifying that it inspired me to run, not walk, to good ol' Daily Kos to produce one of my very infrequent diaries.

Lo and behold, great minds think alike: upon my entering our bunker, I spotted not one but two related diaries: George Lakoff's excellent Where's the Movement, and teacherken's as-always-inspirational Is it time for a new populist-progressive alliance?

First, let's check out that Charlotte Observer article.

It's not new, at least not not to those of us who've been here for years, watching the lunatic right-wing fringe sink deeper and deeper into its insanity. But it's growing like a cancer in our collective body, and it's scary. And, so far, sanity doesn't have any seats at the table.

Here in metro Charlotte, a city so blue that former Rebuplican mayor Pat McCrory couldn't even carry it in his recent bid for governor, the teabaggers have begun to coalesce into numerous splinter offshoot groups whose goal seems to be a new coming of Karl Rove's "permanent Republican majority.

Indeed,

Many of the groups are offshoots of last year's Tea Parties, inspired by TV pundits like Glenn Beck and fueled by social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Some, like StrengthenCharlotte, promise a bipartisan focus on local issues. Still others want to steep N.C. students in American history.

Bipartisan? Hardly:

"This stuff's been fomenting for a long time," [Michael] Kelly [of We the People] says. "But it was Barack Obama coming on stage that put all these policies on steroids."

The article goes on to briefly describe several of the groups and people in leadership. One of them is my current state senator, whose politics I know well:

State Sen. Eddie Goodall, a Weddington Republican, started a nonprofit called Stand Up. Its goal: Go into schools to teach the "fundamental principles that have guided the country." He has seen it grow to more than 17,000 Facebook fans from more than 15 countries.

"Kids seemed to have themselves in boxes already," Goodall says. "They would tell me they're a liberal or conservative or whatever. I would say 'Why?' and that's where the conversation stopped. Let's talk about capitalism and liberty. What is liberty?"

"Capitalism and liberty". Right. Those are synonyms in your warped ideology, right Senator?

His message: "If you're not 'conservative', you don't believe in liberty".

But the really, Tobe-Hooper-scary part?

Go into schools to teach the "fundamental principles"...

Whoa...what's that? "Go into schools"?

Who is letting these nutcases go into our schools and spew their right-wing propaganda to our children? Aren't these the same people who were horrified that the President of the United States might appear by video in their children's schools and destroy their precious and vulnerable minds forever by suggesting that they work hard and stay in school?

I know this guy. He is a walking, talking, special-interest panderer. In our district, developers rule...so they are his biggest special interest. He has another "client", too, so precious to him that he's not running for another senate term so he can instead take a job as a full-time lobbyist for them: Charter Schools.

Here in North Carolina, many of our charter schools have become nothing more than publicly-funded private schools, "teaching" as partisan a curriculum as they can get away with. They are the wingnuts' temporary stand-in for vouchers. They are constantly seeking to further defund our legitimate public school system and receive higher funding themselves. They are even suing local school districts, already hurting from crushing capital burdens as runaway population growth mandates breakneck school construction, for a bigger slice of the already-insufficient capital pie.

So I know some of these people personally, and they're dangerous. Very dangerous.

It gets worse:

One organization with a more direct agenda is We the People, headquartered in Concord with branches elsewhere. Organizer Kelly, 51, says the purpose is to "affect the elections for the cause of what we believe are the fundamentals of freedom."

Members of his group research legislation and study "economic literacy," or the fundamentals of capitalism. They also hold regular "Patriotic Rallies."

One this weekend featured a German businessman who once belonged to the Hitler Youth. According to the group's Web site, he was scheduled to talk about "the similarities between Hitler's rise to power and what is happening in America today."

And whether or not these numbers are accurate, they hit me like a cold finger of dread and sent a shiver down my spine:

Michael Kelly of Concord-based We The People claims his organization has more than 4,000 members. He says he has counted at least 50 groups like his around North Carolina.

Back to my initial thoughts, and those other two related diaries:

How do we respond in kind to these attacks?

As teacherken elaborates (specifically in terms of the recent SCOTUS corporate "free speech" disaster), do we attempt to re-establish the alliance between "progressive" and "populist"? It's funny...way back when, I always thought that "populism" and "progressivism" shared a pretty big overlap...what's happened?

Now "populism" means "Teabagging", and "populist" principles have become hate, racism, homophobia, plutocracy, jingoism, xenophobia, "drown government in a bathtub", and "hate the poor", while "progressivism" has become "Nazi".

And we're letting "them" frame this meme!

We had a method and a plan to win Congress in 2006, and it worked. We had a method and a plan to win the White House in 2008, and it worked.

"They've" co-opted our methodology - it was only a matter of time - and they're destroying our three or four years of hard-won progress. They're using blogs. They're using social networking sites. They already have the corporate media - something they've always had - so now their advantage is growing.

This isn't an "action diary", but it's something that I hope will lead to "action diaries". Because maybe I'm missing something, but right now it seems as if "they" are taking all the action. I'm not seeing small, local, real grassroots groups with names like "Patriotic Progressives" or "Opportunity for All" forming in my community. I'm not seeing announcements for meetings where participants discuss the tax advantages as well as the human-needs advantages of a functional healthcare system, or question spending $1 trillion to destroy, then rebuild infrastructure in Iraq while starving the infrastructure needs in our own neighborhoods.

This isn't an opportunity to open the argument over whether or not President Obama and the Democratic Congress are delivering on a sufficiently progressive agenda either; they're delivering what they're delivering, and many of us don't like it, but we need to work within the limitations of what's coming out of Washington right now. We need to return to our roots...our grassroots...and truly take our country back.

This is a call to examine our methodology, and try to determine - quickly - why "they're" winning the Battle of the Message. I think that our very survival as a nation depends on our winning that battle - soon.

Originally posted to blue in NC on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:56 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (20+ / 0-)

    "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

    by blue in NC on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 05:56:18 AM PST

    •  I can't wait to hear what Teabaggers (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, blue in NC, Dirtandiron

      have to say about Rep. Grayson's bills regarding the Supreme Court decision that gives corporations the right to freedom of speech. I suspect the Teabaggers won't be too happy about that decision.

      It's going be fun to watch the Republicans try to hijack the upcoming Teabagger convention for the Republicans' own purposes when the "unwashed masses" are up-in-arms regarding SCOTUS' decision.

      •  The Teabaggers SHOULDN'T be too happy about (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue armadillo, W T F, Dirtandiron

        that decision...

        but since it came from wingnut judges, all appointed by their Rethug heroes, and since President Obama doesn't like it, they're probably delighted with it.

        That's how stupid they are. Stupid, but extremely dangerous.

        And that's how "bipartisan" they are. It really pisses me off that the MSM continues to spew the lie that these aren't all either Republicans or extreme-right Libertarians.

        •  Patience grasshopper... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue in NC

          Let's hear what the Teabaggers have to say. And then let's hear what the Republicans sponsoring the Teabagger convention have to say. It will make for interesting theater.

          By the way, are any members of the SCOTUS scheduled to speak at the Teabagger convention?

  •  I live here in charlotte (6+ / 0-)

    and this was a wake up call to me. Im new to the town and wonder why we have Myrick as our Rep. I understand better now.

    •  NC is a mix of progressives and fundies (8+ / 0-)

      As for what I did, well, on Friday I decided to pay a little bar called Vinny's (here in Charlotte) a visit. A significant part of the regular clientele are independent contractors, construction supply sales - your basic self-styled conservative-leaning independents.

      To the last they all felt health care reform was a distraction from focusing on the economy.

      This just happens to have been the talking point of persons in the financial services company where I work.

      People with MBAs and with commercial truck licenses having the same opinion?

      Suggests the opinion comes from the same source - the press.

      What is not coming from the same press is why HCR is mission-critical for economics.

      Medical emergencies are a major cause of bankruptcies.

      I told these guys this.

      This they understand.

      Most said in response - well why doesn't the government go ahead and say this to people?

      Good question.

      "Love thy neighbor" is easy. It's next-door neighbors that are a challenge. :)

      by cskendrick on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 06:14:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, man...Myrick is the Tip of the Iceberg... (5+ / 0-)

      but she is totally, certifiably, irrevocabally batshit crazy.

      The "Muslim Mafia" idiocy, for starters...

      As blue as Charlotte is, she "serves" in a district so gerrymandered that no Democrat could hope to even come close...the prospect of snowballs in Hell comes to mind.

      Then you go to Goodall's county (Union) and that's where all the wingnuts have coalesced. Union County is a place where no Democrat can be elected to any countywide or state office. Most of us are stuck with Myrick as our "representative", although a lucky fvew in the eastern part are blessed with Larry Kissell.

      Welcome to Charlotte, BTW!

  •  No question we sat back (7+ / 0-)

    with a sense of relief when Obama was elected. He is in every sense of the word a responsible President. But we better mobilize and mobilize fast. If one thing can be said of the Massachusetts election it is that it will invigorate the right even further to believe they are back on track. The meme from the msm this week would confirm that. I know we are all tired but we need to double down on our efforts to fight for progressive policies Now.
    Great diary...

    The era of procrastination, half-measures, soothing & baffling expedients, & delays, is coming to a close. We are entering a period of consequences - Ch

    by PrometheusUnbound on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 06:13:54 AM PST

  •  Thanks for posting this- (6+ / 0-)

    I'm all for "steeping kids in history" AS LONG AS its correct history and not the crap thats being taught in schools now and is on track to get even worse.

    I hate the tea-party "movement" because they are trying to re-write history.

    This is one of my ranting points and I have to go to work.  Tippd and rec'd- thanks again, hope to see some action diaries soon.

    "Real History is not for Sissies" Barry McCain

    by Hill Jill on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 06:16:31 AM PST

    •  Oh, that's one of the really scary parts... (3+ / 0-)

      their concept of "history" bears no resemblance to reality. It starts with the absolute, unarguable fact that AMERICA WAS FOUNDED AS A CHRISTIAN NATION and it goes steadily downhill from there.

      Those that don't put their kids in the one charter school we have here tend to send them to "Christian" schools, or else home-school them. You should see the "history" books the homeschoolers use...many of them are published by Bob Jones University. I've seen 'em.

      Don't even get me started on the "science" textbooks. Hint: "In the beginning..."

      And the notion that our schools are allowing that whackjob Goodall's propagandists to invade our public schools...I'd never heard that before. Time to talk to our School Board members (except most of them are Teabaggers too).

      We're screwed if we don't stop this insanity really soon.

      •  It's possibly even worse here in Texas (3+ / 0-)

        our state board of education has fundie "experts" advising on Social Studies standards...two weeks ago, they approved standards that would include students learning all about Newt Gingrich, Phyllis Shlafly, the Contract on for America...oh, and they managed to slip in language that makes McCarthyism A-OK. Is that nuts or what?

        Hopefully there is still a chance to change some of this absurdity - but why in the world are we having to fight these battles in the TWENTY FIRST CENTURY???

        You are right - these troglodytes need to  be battled everywhere and yes, they are trying to get their agenda in every classroom in the country.

  •  Sorry... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happy camper

    ...but here in eastern N.C. I can't work up much fear over these people. They are angry, semiliterate race-baiters. Same as we've had here since time immemorial and will never be rid of. Take away their phony We the People advertising and what's left? That their lives are in turmoil because the president is a black guy.  

    "This stuff's been fomenting for a long time," [Michael] Kelly [of We the People] says. "But it was Barack Obama coming on stage that put all these policies on steroids."                                      

                                   
    See? Race is their baseline beef, but they're not even honest enought to say it. It's not scary. It's pitiful.

    When an old man dies, a library burns down. --African proverb

    by Wom Bat on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 07:15:12 AM PST

    •  I can't speak for Eastern NC, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina, Dirtandiron, Wom Bat

      and I heartily agree that "it's pitiful"...

      but I'm a lot more scared than you seem to be.

      Take away their phony We the People advertising and what's left? That their lives are in turmoil because the president is a black guy.  

      But that's pretty much what I said!

      The problem is, the MSM is not taking away their phony "We the People" advertising, they're promoting it.

      It's a lie, it's pure unadulterated fraud, but it's selling. In fact, there are plenty of people who join up who are not racist, because they've believed the "We the People" lie. They're wingnuts, so they just ignore the racism if it doesn't suit them, but they still join up.

      They think they're patriots. Go to the Charlotte Observer article and read the comments...more important, look at the avatars...the most wingnutty of the commenters use eagles, or American flags, or pictures of old white-haired dudes who look like the beloved "founders"...but their comments are pure, poisonous, wingnut hate.

      •  Conservatives all think--and say loudly-- (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue in NC

        that they're patriots. By their goofball logic, that proves anyone who disagrees with them is unpatriotic. Did you ever fall for it? I didn't either. I doubt many people do. Re the comments, these guys all knew that aricle would run. So they freeped the comments column. It's like having their name in the paper. They're the big deal du jour. So they're all in there whooping it up. Let 'em. All their foulmouthed ranting will do is teach reasonable people who they really are.

        As you say, the MSM is always a problem. Don't know the answer to that one. Maybe we're left to hope people will see through it. BTW, I appeaciate your polite, well put reply. Will go check out the comments, too.

        When an old man dies, a library burns down. --African proverb

        by Wom Bat on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 08:05:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thank you... :-) I'm ALWAYS polite here... (0+ / 0-)

          well, almost always...

          The same can't be said for me on the Charlotte Observer comments boards, though.

          Oh, and as for the teabaggers hijacking the "comments": nah, they don't neeed to Freep 'em; for some reason they just happen to hang out posting comments. I've come to recognize the names of a small group of idiots there, and they post the same tired old wingnut crap on every article.

    •  Yes, most of them are pitiful. But some of them (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue in NC

      seem crazy enough to act on their resentments, and Fox, Rush, and co. is egging them on.

  •  "We should get some baseball bats (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue in NC, Dirtandiron

    and go down there and really explain things to them."

    - Woody Allen on the Nazi march for New Jersey in the film "Manhattan."

    "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

    by greendem on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 07:27:20 AM PST

  •  This party is sadly ironic: (4+ / 0-)

    "the similarities between Hitler's rise to power and what is happening in America today."

    I frankly see that in the Beckian/FOX/Teabagger nexis....fear-promoting propoganda harking back to the "true" motherland America.

    I find it extremely disturbing.

  •  Those idiots seem to gloss over the fact (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue in NC

    that liberty and liberal come from the same root.

    Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell. - George Orwell

    by Phil N DeBlanc on Mon Jan 25, 2010 at 01:16:20 PM PST

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