Keep a Civil Tongue in Your Head

I’ve had enough.

Starting back in March and April, when the whole concept of the Tea Parties was in its infancy, the wits and wags on the left decided to take a page from Saul Alinsky’s playbook and bring ridicule to bear on the whole endeavor. But not just simple ridicule.

What they did was far worse. They turned the efforts and engagement of millions of earnest people into a dirty joke. A graphically sexual insider joke. They started calling us “teabaggers.” (The original definition of “teabagging,” for those few of you who are still unaware of it, can be found here.)

Yes, pundits, bloggers, anchors, Congresspeople, presidents, called us “teabaggers.” What class! What elan! What finely-honed debating skills! What exemplars of surpassing intellect they are.

But just suppose the shoe were on the other foot?

Imagine if you will, that for some reason, those on the left were protesting roosters and Tootsie Pops. Walking around in crowds of thousands and tens of thousands locally. Hundreds of thousands to a million on a given day in Washington D.C. Carrying signs protesting chickens and lollipops.

Innocuous items, to be sure, but you can bet your bottom dollar that nobody, and I mean nobody on the right (or the left, for that matter) would be casually referring to them in print, on televsion or video, or online, as cock-suckers.

It defies belief that any of these people used that word without knowing what it meant.

And yet, this is what the left does. Having no valid argument to present against the Tea Parties, they resort to using phrases that reduce them to the level of sniggering seventh-graders. It’s an in-joke that only the cool kids get, and the poor rubes doing the protesting are left scratching their heads, wondering why the in-crowd is laughing at them,

Well, the poor rubes doing the protesting are getting mighty sick of it. If the in-crowd doesn’t look out, they, too, will awaken the sleeping giant and fill him with resolve.

Hey kids, be careful… The giant is starting to stir. By 2010, he’ll be awake. And he’ll be hungry.

UPDATE: Jay Tea over at Wizbang has a slightly different reaction to the term…



11 Responses to Keep a Civil Tongue in Your Head

  1. Thomas says:

    It would be a beautiful world if we could all actually sit down and engage in purposeful civil discourse with one another, using the power of our collective social will to solve the problems that plague all of us. It’s distracting and unhelpful to have the political discussion we should be having highjacked by this kind of immature in-group/out-group tactic, and as Americans we should all feel anger and shame any time that we see any such grassroots organization come under such belittling public scrutiny.

    That being said, the teabaggers are amongst the most deserving groups to receive this brand of national dismissal ever. How can you be blind to the hypocrisy? You act like the teabaggers have been completely arbitrarily marginalized, like the caricaturization of teabaggers in the media is some sort of left-wing media conspiracy to make sure nobody pays attention to our nations next great truth-speakers. Reality is a little different. These are the people who spent all summer showing up at town-hall meetings being disruptive, and … what’s that? Trying to marginalize their opposition! T-shirts of Joker Obama? Socialist Obama? Hitler Obama? I’ve seen it in my own city; you may be able to deny that it’s entirely the teabaggers pushing that kind of rhetoric, but brother, they ain’t against it.

    I’d be happy to listen to some decent reasons why we shouldn’t spend an inordinate amount of money to provide a service that cannot be fairly provided within the marketplace as constructed in the American system, but the teabaggers never gave them.

    I’d be happy to listen to a good argument about the nation’s philosophy, its choices, its purpose, just about anything and everything.

    I would be really happy to sit down and go over the actual documents, with a clear purpose and a wide range of views and a willingness to discuss the issues and what could be done to resolve them until that was accomplished.

    I haven’t heard the teabaggers doing any of that. All I’ve heard is, “Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” “No Public Option!” and of course, the classic, “Government Health Care = Socialism.” Not exactly what you might call invitations to a lively public debate.

    I might agree with you that “teabaggers” is going just a bit too far down Immaturity Lane … but if the shoe fits …

    • Stoutcat says:

      Thomas, I’m not denying that the town hall meetings were unruly in places, and that there were some signs as you describe. Fair cop. But the majority of protesters both at the Tea Parties (which is what I’m talking about) and the town hall meetings (which I didn’t even bring up) were civil and polite. The press cherry-picked what they covered, and had already made up their mind what the storyline would be. Look at CNN’s Susan Roesgen, for example.

      Comparisons to Hitler and Nazis? Not like it hasn’t been done before

      So if, as you say, you really would like to sit down (virtually, anyway) “and engage in purposeful civil discourse with one another”, you might start by actually reading what I wrote, and from that draw the conclusion that referring to those us who were out there protesting, as teabaggers, is counter-productive. Since you used the term “teabagger” in your comment seven times, I can only conclude that you aren’t actually interested in civil or productive dialogue.

      I hope you’ll prove me wrong.

    • Gerry Ashley says:


      You write, “I would be happy to listen to some decent reasons we shouldn’t spend an inordinate amount of money to provide a service that cannot be provided…”

      If you do a little reasearch here on Grand Rants, we have providede numerous examples of why we shouldn’t. And we never used the term “teabaggers”in the process. We’ve quoted from the Congressional Budget office as well as other subject matter experts. We’ve also looked at the real numbers and realize this undertaking could very likely push this country over the edge financially. We are not in a position financially to afford this. When you can barely cover the rent and electric bill, this is not the time to be purchasing a 40′ Cabin Cruiser.

      The thing that scares me is that so few of the politicians who are trying to ram this down our throat actually understand it enough to talk intelligently about it.

      And as far as blaming the right for not being willing to discuss it, well, all I can say to that is it’s hard for those Republicans to voice their discontent when the Democrats change the locks on the conference rooms and only allow members of their “team” to participate. That is unprecedented and speaks volumes for their attitude and Nancy Pelosi’s promise of “the most ethical Congress in history” and “welcoming bi-partisan involvement.” Hard to do when the door is slammed in your face and locked.

  2. Jessie says:

    Right-wing protesters adopted the term ‘teabagger’ from the practice of sending literal tea bags to Washington in protest of taxes, during the era of the Boston Tea Party. The left did not apply this label to protestors.

    And as far as pejoratives go, the left definitely doesn’t have a monopoly on them. “Feminazis,” “loony left,” “baby killers,” “terrorists…” I’ve heard all kinds of things in the course of listening to Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh.

    • Stoutcat says:

      Jessie, perhaps you’d like to supply a link to your assertion that protesters adopted it as our own… Having been there, I recall that we referred to ourselves as Tea Partiers, and the events as Tea Parties.

      As for your list of left-describing pejoratives, those don’t even come close to the sheer vulgarity of “teabagger”.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      Jessie, There’s a big difference between proselytizing on what you WANT to believe vs stating verifiable facts. Your reply is a painful example.

      I realize it may be important for you to believe the tea partiers chose to call themselves teabaggers, but the truth of the matter is “that dog just won’t hunt.” Translation: Go sell that line of crap to someone gullible enough to believe it. Most any liberal will do.

      From Wikipedia:
      “In 2009, groups known as Tea Parties were formed to protest United States government tax and spending policies. Several critics of the protestors, including Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, and Anderson Cooper, have called them “teabaggers”. Cooper later apologized, calling the term “silly.”

      In truth, it was far more than just “silly.” It was repulsive and gutteral. Imagine if Fox News reporters referred to you Obama supporters as douchebags. Think the liberal media would have a field day with that? Think Fox would get by with, “Sorry for that… that was just silly!” as their total mea culpa?

      While we welcome opposing views for the purpose of discussion, it would serve you well to know that if you’re going to try to pass “opinion” off as “facts” you’d best try some other blog. Come here prepared to document your claims. We do it all day long. That’s what sets us apart from the liberal bloggers who have little more than talking points they’ve “heard from someone who read it somewhere…”

      And that’s not attitude, Jessie that’s just fact.

  3. Quote: “Having no valid argument to present against the Tea Parties, they resort to using phrases that reduce them to the level of sniggering seventh-graders.”

    It is precisely this lack of greater understanding of policy and governance, the display of shocking ignorance and hubristic arrogance which garners you and your fellow teabaggers the derision and vitriol you so richly deserve.

    Progressives did not spawn the term “Teabaggers”, you proudly took it as your own.

    “No valid argument to present against the Tea Parties”? You shame yourself…Teabaggers only policy is “No!”–you offer nothing and try to destroy everything. You are not a movement, you are a schoolyard of spoiled brats who understand almost nothing about how government works, how society works or the responsibility of citizens in a free society.

    Grow up, educate yourself (start with Hobbes and Mann, then read Jefferson and Madison–don’t just cherry-pick a quote here and there–read and try to understand what these men gave us).

    And then start behaving as responsible citizens and offering real solution, not just bratty whining.

    Grow up; become useful members of society, or get out of our way as we try to fix the devastation and depredations that a generation of greed-feueld Republican rule, since Reagan, has rent our beautiful country with.

    You’ll get respect when you earn it.

    • Stoutcat says:

      Donnie, thanks for your comment, but as I said to Thomas in the comments below:

      “…you might start by actually reading what I wrote, and from that draw the conclusion that referring to those us who were out there protesting, as teabaggers, is counter-productive. Since you used the term “teabagger” in your comment seven times, I can only conclude that you aren’t actually interested in civil or productive dialogue.”

      I will say, you didn’t do quite so badly, using the offensive term only three times in one short comment.

      You also should probably start reading more than just DU and DailyKos. If you expanded your horizon a bit, you might realize that the Tea Partiers’ policy is not “No!” It’s “No” to sweeping social changes that would change the basic fabric of our nation. It’s “No” to massive govenment take-over of health care, auto industry, banks, insurance companies. There are solutions out there. We want to explore them, not have this crap shoved down our throats just because Rahm Emanual doesn’t like to let a good crisis go to waste.

      But you’ll probably stick with the narrative as it was written for you.

      I’ve read Jefferson, Madison, Paine, Franklin, Adams, and they would have been aghast at what is happening to America right now. It was a republic, but we may not be able to keep it.

      At least we agree on one thing: you’ll get my respect when you earn it. Come back with some substantive comments, leave the vulgar epithet at home, and maybe we can have some useful exchanges of ideas.

    • Gerry Ashley says:

      I was going to reply to you, point by point, bigisland, but then it hit me: You never really established ANY point. Just blathering the party line.

      It’s obvious you’re part of the crew sent out to try to discredit conservative blogs that don’t fall in love with “The One” and his policies… You know… “We, the people” who can actually think for ourselves and know thug politics when we see it. Those who can tell when a radical is trying to run roughshod over the Constitution.

      Move along folks… nothing of any value to see here. Just another lib who can only criticize and is guilty of that which he/she accuses others of. It’s a tired, lame tactic, but they still seem to amuse themselves with it.

  4. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by grandrants: RT @Stoutcat: Keep a civil tongue in your head! I’m sick and tired of being called a teabagger. #tcot…

  5. […] Civil Tongue, Son of This is exactly what I was referring to yesterday. It ran in prime time, during the family hour of 8p.m. to […]

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