For Fuck's Sake.
posted by empath at 7:41 AM on October 22 [1 favorite +] [!]
Mark Lilla has a thoughtful and informative post on the French analogue to the tea-party movement... Mr Lilla suggests at the end of his post that despite the many superficial cultural differences between the American tea-partiers and their French counterparts, both are, in effect, making the same demand: We will be heard! ...what’s most remarkable about the French protests is not only that they are partially motivated by hostility to the rich but also that there is a pretty straightforward line of causality from provocation to action...
The character of the American tea-party movement is very different, and more complicated. Yes, many in the movement talk about deficits and federal spending and rising taxes, but as a number of polls have shown, most tea-partiers are no more willing to accept drastic cuts in government spending—the only thing that will meaningfully slash the deficit and permit responsible tax cuts—than the Republican members of Congress who oversaw and endorsed so much of the government’s growth over the past decade.
This means, I think, that the size of government and the details of public budgeting are secondary concerns for the tea-party movement. What it primarily cares about is cultural identity. Taxes and government spending come in because the tea-partiers feel like "their" America is under cultural assault—and this imaginary America is, among other things, a libertarian paradise...
Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are the enemy of those in thrall to this vision of the country... That’s one reason why so many on the populist right embrace conspiracy theories about Mr Obama being a Muslim or another kind of cultural outsider: it’s more comforting to believe he’s a foreign contaminant that can be purged than to accept that he and his party’s vision of the country is just as American as theirs...
Where the French are pushing back against a public policy with which they disagree, the Americans are out to defend one comprehensive cultural vision of the nation against another, largely incompatible vision. And as far as the tea-partiers are concerned, the contest, like so many elements of our electoral system, is winner-take-all.
We understand that there was an altercation outside of the debate between supporters of both sides and that is incredibly unfortunate. Violence of any kind has no place in our civil discourse and we urge supporters on all sides to be civil to one another as tensions rise heading toward this very important election.
"I'm sorry that it came to that, and I apologize if it appeared overly forceful, but I was concerned about Rand's safety,"
"The Paul campaign has disassociated itself with the individual who took part in this incident, and once again urges all activists — on both sides — to remember that their political passions should never manifest themselves in physical altercations of any kind."
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