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It's pretty tough up here in the North Carolina mountains these days. We've made some damn fine progressive progress over the years, but like many other places in the United States, the Tea Party opened up shop here back in 2010 and slammed us in the local and state elections. They've hung around and finally opened up a Facebook page this February.

The local Republican Party is pretty much in shambles. The George Bush/Dick Cheney Administration killed the Party off as rural people finally decided they'd been had on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and their dead and buried kids had died for nothing but lies.

So the Tea Party came riding into town to save the day and rebrand the conservative image. Most of the local Tea Party members don't look anything like the rest of us here.  The leaders are high-heeled women who wear pearls when they "garden" and impressive diamond jewelry to local public hearings. It's clear they've never put in a day's work in their lives. But, by god, they're determined to whip the rest of us into submission.

Which brings me to the debate forum between the Appalachian State University College Democrats and College Republicans this past Tuesday night.

The place was pretty crowded. Several professors had apparently mandated that their classes attend and write a paper or some other kind of report. Lots of caught-in-the-headlights deer who sat as far in the back as they could get. We were there with a group of good Democrats and other progressives, hoping against hope that something, anything, would waken the deers to the fact that their futures were at serious risk and feel compelled to get involved.  And the Tea Party was there, all 7 or 8 of them to cheer on their side and see some fireworks.

They got their wish.

The deer began to put their texting on hold when they heard the College Republicans argue that, among other things, women had no rights to mandatory insurance coverage for contraception: "if women want to avoid getting pregnant, they should stop having sex" and "just because I want a diet coke every hour doesn't mean the taxpayers should have to pay for it." (One of the College Democratic debaters asked him if he'd ever had a period.)

There was other "good stuff." The College Republicans argued that prison life was really just a piece of cake ("they get cigarettes, gourmet food and a soft mattress"), and the proposed same-sex Constitutional Amendment that will be on our primary ballot this May is essential because gay and lesbian couples' children are more likely to commit heinous crimes and do poorly in school.

Then there was this:

I've been attending college debates here for over 20 years. In the past, College Republicans have actually been somewhat progressive on social issues at least, but it's clear as a bell the Tea Party has managed to whip them into a frenzy of crazy. The sadness is most young people here just don't have much interest in politics, and if that's the case for most of the young people across this nation, it's going to be pretty easy to take away the rights they take for granted. Or don't even know they have.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Young people saying stupid things in College... (12+ / 0-)

    obviously, Rick Santorum's "brain washing" theory of higher education is wrong.

  •  Was Amendment one discussed? (0+ / 0-)

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:33:35 AM PDT

  •  Democracy. It sucks, but sucks less than (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    all the other options...

    In theory, I agree that a lot of people vote who probably shouldn't - and on certain races I include myself in that list.

    Should I really be voting on a race in which I know nothing about either candidate?  Certainly not.

    But it's the ultimate slippery slope, because no one can agree on just who should be excluded from voting.

    •  You Know Everything About a Race if the (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      irmaly, nominalize

      options include a D and an R. It should be extremely obvious why.

      There are many nomination races and occasionally some issues I don't vote in. But for the general, there's virtually never any doubt.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 07:53:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    • one should be "excluded" from voting (8+ / 0-)

      though I understand what you mean about the wisdom of the people who do vote. That's the challenge of our educational system, the media, and our fellow citizens to make voters better informed.

      We've managed to eliminate exclusions for non-white people, non-male people, non-property-owners, and adults between the ages of 18 and 21, and barred so-called literacy tests and poll taxes as excuses to exclude our fellow citizens from voting.

      Voter ID laws are just another attempt to exclude---and are very similar to poll taxes, which our Supreme Court (of course not this one) understood to be unconstitutional.

      Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

      by willyr on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:03:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        smiley7, Sue B, pmcmscot, willyr, Philpm

        And I also think it's important to point out that this young man said people who couldn't afford an ID shouldn't be allowed to vote. In other words, poor people had no business selecting representation.

        "Whenever a fellow tells me he's bipartisan, I know he's going to vote against me."-- Harry S. Truman

        by irmaly on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:13:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah. He scrambled afterwards "I made a mistake" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          but what he said originally was obviously what he really meant.

          Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

          by willyr on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:26:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  "I made a mistake" (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and accidentally said what I was really thinking. It happens to people on the right from time to time.

            It isn't what we don't know that gives us trouble, it's what we know that ain't so. — Will Rogers

            by dconrad on Sat Mar 31, 2012 at 08:26:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  this fits in with free-market anarchic principles (0+ / 0-)

          Conservatives believe that the people of the business class are inherently good, and that the people of the working class are parasites who suck away their wealth and productivity.

          They claim that if you let the market work, things will be good, and that the market result is inherently good.

          But the market is only the sum of the effects of decisions made by the people in it.  So, it is only as good as the people in it--- that's why bad apples can spoil the bunch.  But conservatives believe that the business class is inherently good, so the market ends up good.

          This is, of course, a ridiculously naïve misassesment of human nature.  Par for the course for an ideology, though:  Conservatives are just like the Communists of old.  They have a flawed view of human nature, a flawed view of history, a dismally flawed view of economics, and a dollop of class resentment.

          Only, the Communists believed that the people of the working class are inherently good, and those of the business class are parasites who suck away their wealth and productivity.

          Useless, all.

          You're not stuck in traffic, you are traffic

          by nominalize on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:29:57 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  when they say they wish to repeal (0+ / 0-)

        suffrage and civil rights they really mean they miss 1790 when men were men and chattel was chattel

    •  No. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      willyr, concernedamerican, smiley7, Philpm

      The right to vote is guaranteed in the Constituion. There is no literacy test to pass or poll tax to pay. To become a registered voter in this country you must be legal US citizen over the age of 18. The. end.

      You can make a personal decision not to vote, which is completely different from a political party changing the rules to exclude Americans from voting who otherwise meet all the Constitutional criteria to become a registered voter.

      Have I closed my eyes and done eenie-meenie-minie-moe on some ballots? Yeah. I confess to not knowing the slate of candidates for sewer and water as well as I should have. Generally I'll leave that part of the ballot blank but sometimes I shrug and vote anyway. Granted, some people do that in major races you'd think an informed voter should be up to speed on, but it's their vote and they get to exercise it however they choose. We can't give voters a current events quiz before they draw that curtain and cast their a votes.

      These new-fangled Voter ID laws that are all the rage in red states will never survive Constitutional scrutiny as they move through the federal courts.

      Fox News: Can't. Deal. With. The. Blathering.

      by pmcmscot on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:07:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  What you are saying should not be said flippantly (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, pmcmscot, willyr

      or in any kind of jest.  "Should I really be voting on a race in which I know nothing?" requires the answer that our founding fathers provided for in the structures they set up:  why yes, you should be voting---- and thinking.  You shall have the right to vote in any and all elections--- and we shall trust that you have the presence of mind and soundness of judgment to find out what the hell you're voting on before you enter the voting booth.

      That's what Franklin meant when he said "We have given you a Republic-- if you can keep it."

      That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

      by concernedamerican on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:15:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  When our Founding Fathers set up those structures (0+ / 0-)

        only relatively wealthy landed white men could vote.  I really hate it when people drag out the FF, because in a lot of ways, they represent a really screwed up time.  Maybe they did the best they could with what they had to work with, but neither they, nor the Constitution need to be treated as holy or scripture.

        Given that they also set up the electoral college system specifically to override the possibility of lots of us peasant types voting for someone the nations 'elite' didn't feel was worthy, I'm not so sure they'd agree that everyone should vote either.

        So everyone should be able to vote, and allowed to vote, but that doesn't imply that they should vote in an election if they haven't actually taken the time to learn anything about the choices in that election.  But that is left up to individual conscience.

  •  pity these kids cannot run the country while (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    they still know everything.  The horror is that 40 years from now, the GOP kids will know just as much as they do today.
    Here is your brain on GOP

  •  Rush and Santorum's flat-earth playbook (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gary Norton, dconrad

    Young Republican said: "if women want to avoid getting pregnant, they should stop having sex"

    Wonder if the speaker is a virgin?

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:35:01 AM PDT

    •  Yes, I think the correct response to that (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      smiley7, flycaster, Gary Norton, dconrad

      should have been

      Women should stop having sex WITH MEN. Having sex with each other is, however, perfectly safe.

      LANDSLIDE bitches!

      by pucklady on Fri Mar 30, 2012 at 08:46:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey now! Its not about that. (0+ / 0-)

        Its about control of someone elses genitals. Lord knows those repub males can't seem to control their own. So that means they should be able to control someones right? I mean look at Newt, so passionate about his country that he can't control his cock. What that really translates is this: I want to fuck everyone of you. If not physically than any other way I can.

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