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February 25, 2010
Dems moving through 5 stages of grief over rise of the tea parties
The Democratic and media smear machines have responded to the fast growth of the tea party movement in a variety of ways -- mostly unwelcome ways. One can follow the Kubler-Ross model of the five stages of grief:
Defense (this can't be happening to me; deny it is happening);
Anger (How can this be happening? It is not Fair);
We are already past the Defense stage. The media and politicians can no longer ignore the scattered protests because they have been transformed into a nationwide movement.
But we are not yet at the bargaining stage, where Democrats would listen to the people and respond to their wishes. But we are well on the way, as a new poll shows approval of Congress at an all-time low.
So we seem to be at the Anger stage. The anger of Democratic elites was clear and widespread. How was this anger made manifest? A favorite tactic has been to disparage and mischaracterize Tea Partiers. In essence, to slime them. Tea partiers were transformed into "tea baggers" by wealthy scion and talking head Anderson Cooper (how witty!). The attacks escalated. The New York Times depicted the Tea Partiers as some devilish brew of right-wing wackos who would be more at home in asylums than on the public stage One of the more common attacks was to depict Tea Partiers as just being yahoos -- stupid, uneducated, ignorant people. White House adviser Valerie Jarrett advised that Democrats address them with simple words that they might be better able to understand.
Of course, all these insults happened without any Democrats or their allies in the media showing enough respect for the facts (not to mentionthe public) to gather information about the demographics of "tea partiers." CNN, to its credit, has started to examine the tea party movement and their findings might come as a surprise to the elites who have been attacking them. Perhaps the critics should consider the wisdom of Pogo ("We have met the enemy and he is us"). Jim Spencer and Cutris Ellis of the LA Times summarize:
Also according to Spencer and Ellis, two Democratic consultants see Tea Party movement as a carryover of the protests that rocked the nation in the 60s. They are baby-boomers reliving the ‘60s. They are wiser now. There is a desire to be heard and to be respected. Our politicians have not heard the cri de couer shouted across the breadth of America. Americans by large margins want to stop the "generational theft" that is happening before our eyes; they do not buy into the climate change myth so do not want cap-and-trade to balloon energy costs; they like their health care.
Politicians may not want to listen, may stick their heads in the sand, may avert their eyes, may fool themselves into believing that yahoos on the right are the tea partiers and are not worth a hearing.
But they do so at their peril. They may not hear the voices inside the Beltway now but they will heat the shout come November.