The extremist tea party wing of the Republican Party—aka "Teapublicans"—who are currently holding the government and citizens of the United States hostage with threats of economic terrorism are certainly equal opportunity haters.
Yes, I'm using the word "hate" to describe what seems to motivate much of what they have wrought. It's ironic coming from a group that is largely and ostensibly "Christian," given that their actions are the antithesis of the love-based theology of Jesus. Even more ironic, since they claim to be patriots and do a lot of flag-waving and talking about how much they love America.
My focus over the years has primarily been on their racism, their open visceral rejection of a black president, but that is too narrow a lens through which to view all of the people their hate is bringing harm to. Their actions go beyond mere Obama Derangement Syndrome.
Most of the folks in their cross-hairs are white, and contrary to the impression given by their propaganda many are Republicans. Anyone who does not share their warped and twisted views of “their America” will now be forced to suffer.
So take a good hard look at the people who were elected to serve in a government they have vowed to destroy and all of the groups who have fallen afoul of their vengeance, those who are going to be made to pay and pay, to suffer by the actions taken by this deranged minority group.
It's a long list—and I'm probably leaving some groups out—but follow me below the fold to view it:
Women (unless they are supporting patriarchy)
Blacks (AfricanAmericans as well as African and Caribbean immigrants)
Latinos (especially those who are not Cuban-American anti-Fidelistias)
Asians and Asian-Pacific Islanders
LBGT’s (Log Cabin Republicans beware)
Immigrants (documented and undocumented, who are visibly non-white)
Sikhs and Hindus (because from a hater's perspective they are no different from Muslims)
Children in Head Start
Moms, infants and children on WIC
People with pre-existing health conditions
People who need food and food stamps (America's hungry)
People living from paycheck to paycheck
Active duty military, vets and their families
People who believe in climate change
People who believe in evolution
People whose income depends on tourism to national parks
Librarians and students (book bannings are being called for)
The media (unless it is FAUX-news or hate radio personalities)
Democrats—liberal, centrist or conservative
The incarcerated (all two million of them) and correction officers
In other words—the vast majority of folks in the U.S seem to fall into some group Teapublicans are taking out their ire upon.
It’s amazing to me when I add up the numbers.
My first face-to-face encounter with Teapublicans was back in 2010, in my neighboring town of Kingston, New York, which I wrote about in a piece called "Social Justice is Tyranny
," the title taken from one of the many signs held up by people with hate-filled faces.
Trying to talk to them was futile. They were opposed to paying taxes, yet wanted the government to keep its dirty hands off their Medicare. They had been fed on a steady diet of anti-government sentiment and conspiracy theories from Faux News. Their heroes are the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs of the world.
I had a strong feeling then that we were going to be in trouble as a nation if these people, and people like them, were going to elect representatives who held their views. Yes, they didn't win the presidency (twice), but their elected cabal in Congress could care less. They don't recognize him as legitimate.
These people are not rich. They depend on government services. Yet their hate, deeply rooted in fear, keeps them from voting in their own interest.
Democracy Corps' "Republican Party Project" has recently issued a report from focus groups conducted with the three main factions that currently comprise a majority of the Republican Party, which helps to illuminate the forces behind the Teapublican shutdown:
Evangelicals. Social issues are central for Evangelicals and they feel a deep sense of cultural and political loss. They believe their towns, communities, and schools are suffering from a deep “culture rot” that has invaded from the outside. The central focus here is homosexuality, but also the decline of homogenous small towns. They like the Tea Party because they stand up to the Democrats.
Tea Party. Big government, Obama, the loss of liberty, and decline of responsibility are central to the Tea Party worldview. Obama’s America is an unmitigated evil based on big government, regulations, and dependency. They are not focused on social issues at all. They like the Tea Party because it is getting “back to basics” and believe it has the potential to reshape the GOP.
Moderates. Moderates are deeply concerned with the direction of the country and believe Obama has taken it down the wrong path economically. They are centrally focused on market-based economics, small government, and eliminating waste and inefficiency. They are largely open to progressive social policies, including on gay marriage and immigration. They disdain the Tea Party and have a hard time taking Fox News seriously.
In the analysis of the focus group results (PDF)
they point out:
And while few explicitly talk about Obama in racial terms, the base supporters are very conscious of being white in a country with growing minorities. Their party is losing to a Democratic Party of big government whose goal is to expand programs that mainly benefit minorities. Race remains very much alive in the politics of the Republican Party.
The first two groups are holding any elected moderate Republicans (a minority) hostage, just as they hold all of us hostage to their obsessions, paranoia, and hate.
The most important thing we each can do is fight this in every district currently controlled by Teapublicans.
MoveOn/PPP has identified seats that could be vulnerable:
Twenty-four new surveys in GOP-held House districts, commissioned by MoveOn.org and conducted in the wake of the government shutdown, make clear that Republicans could easily lose control of the House if the next election were held today. The surveys challenge conventional wisdom that gerrymandering has put the House out of reach for Democrats and indicate the shutdown has significant electoral implications.
Yes, 2014 elections are a year away.
We have to put in the footwork now, registering new voters, fighting voter disenfranchisement efforts and making plans to get voters to the polls.