The Segregationist Agenda


The Tea Party is like the Ku Klux Klan “without the robes.” 

This is what Rep. Steve Cohen from Tennessee had to say about this “grass roots” organization, which had such a significant effect on recent elections. I don’t think anyone would dispute that the Tea Party, such that it is, has developed a voice for itself in our political discourse, so making a reference like that is more than just mildly disturbing, it is downright shocking to me. Really? The Klan? Is that the image that he meant to evoke, that of hooded White Supremacists with torches, terrifying people of color in the South? 

I would argue that this type of reference is dangerous and definitely counterproductive. It puts up a barrier to social discourse, and we are nothing if not a nation that prides itself on its ability to discuss and reason in an intelligent way. Just ask the networks which air all   the political commentary shows. 

But discourse is going to be difficult if this trend continues. Another term that I have heard a lot lately is “segregation”. Now when I think of this, I think of Martin Luther King and Jim Crow Laws and Plessy v. Ferguson. I do not think of say, a new charter school for children affected by Autism in Newark, NJ, yet that is how this proposed institution was described by opponents of it. 

Using these words and phrases, with all of the connotations they bring to mind dramatically alters the discussion, detracts from whatever the original argument is. Is the intent to horrify us, the voting public, to remind us of a reprehensible time in our history so that we will reject a specific proposal, whatever it happens to be, so that we will not appear to be racist? 

Pro-Life groups try to make abortion a racist issue as well, by suggesting that most abortions occur in poor, urban areas where women of color are concentrated. Abortion will be the death of the Black race in America they warn 

When Governor Walker in Wisconsin says we will “bust“ them, meaning unions, by dismantling their collective bargaining rights, by “we” does he mean Republicans who are fundamentally opposed to unions in general? And by “them” is he referring to Democrats who traditionally champion such rights? Of course he is, so the divide widens.  

Okay, so we’re not racist, but we do live in an “us” against “them” kind if society. This has been foisted upon us by the politicians who are constantly making us choose whose side we are on, unions vs. corporations, liberals vs. conservatives, pro-life vs. pro-choice. We are being asked to define ourselves and then align with a particular group that espouses that point of view. 

Susan Jacoby, writing in the LA Times writes, “Whether watching television news, consulting political blogs, or (more rarely) reading books, Americans today have become a people in search of validation for opinions that they already hold. This absence of curiosity about other points of view is the essence of anti-intellectualism and represents a major departure from the nation’s best cultural traditions.” 

It has gotten to the point where the idea of bipartisanship is viewed as an outdated and an even outlandish concept. The rallying cry, “we will not compromise!” is the applause-worthy refrain heard today. Those who suggest we find common ground and work together to forge bonds are drowned out or mocked as being naïve and ultimately ineffective as they find themselves segregated and isolated in today’s political atmosphere. Even congressional district lines are drawn and constantly changed to separate groups by political party, color coded as red or blue. There is no purple district, no purple state. 

The issues that continue to divide us are referred to as “wedge” issues. The middle ground may be the goal, attaining it a means to an end, the end being compromise as a way of solving problems, but too often today the end goal is election, or re-election, so segregation is indeed a means to an end—divide and conquer.

I say don’t let them get away with this. I think we should publicly call out politicians and groups who use this kind of language to make their points, to bring people around to their point of view. I feel as if they are almost trying to break our collective spirit by encouraging us to turn on one another. 

While I think we can all agree that separate is not equal in most cases, we sure do like to separate ourselves from the opposition these days when it comes to politics. No matter how open-minded we feel ourselves to be, if we insulate ourselves from the opposing viewpoint we re-enforce our own extreme views. However, it has been shown that over time, if people integrate, ideologies tend to become less extreme and more emulsified.

That is a good thing, no matter what political party you belong to. 

United we stand. United we prosper.   
Quintesse Quintesse
51-55, F
55 Responses Mar 16, 2011

Whoa. Old story. Still a relevant topic though, and I thank you guys for picking up the discussion. It never gets old for me.

Awhitedot is right when he says that the kind of segregation that I am talking about here is not about race per se but … it is:

“The policy or practice of separating people of different races, classes, or ethnic groups, as in schools, housing, and public or commercial facilities, especially as a form of discrimination.”

And I would add—political parties to that definition.

Once you separate people into groups, in this case Democrats, Republicans and Libertarians, you create a divide. In the case of parties there is already a divide, as each party has its own platform and base that drives the platform. I accept that, actually. But when the “leaders” (or those who anoint themselves as leaders) start with what I call segregationist talk—they create a chasm—which is not good as far as discourse is concerned. And I believe that the more shocking the rhetoric, the more effective it is, and the operatives know this.
But when we are divided to the degree that we are, nothing gets accomplished, which is what we have seen over the last decade. It is depressing. And I think it is the language that is to blame.

And if I am right that it is simply the language we choose to use to define out stances and attack our opponents then that is a pretty easy fix.
Watch what you say.
And it is important to note—or that is, it is important for ME to note that it is JUST as much Keith Olbermann’s fault as it is Rush Limbaugh’s.
And once people are divided it not only affects policy and laws that get created (or don’t get created) it also affects people’s moods and attitudes about where we are and where we are going as a country and as a society. It is important, how we express ourselves, and how we conduct ourselves.
That’s the point.

Regarding integration...our experience in the UK is that integration does not really happen; immigrants tend to form `colonies` in our cities...they don`t want to integrate, they just want to create their own little domains...some not so little, and in many cases they never learn to speak English. I don`t live near London, thankfully, but in some schools there are more than 40 languages being is anyone in the teaching profession meant to cope with that?
Integration in my view, is an illusion...division, mistrust and hatred is what evolves.

I think the integration she is speaking of is of people with differing ideals and beliefs, and not that of differing nationalities.

One does suggest the other, I feel.

"I would argue that this type of reference is dangerous and definitely counterproductive."

So true. Very dangerous.

"However, it has been shown that over time, if people integrate, ideologies tend to become less extreme and more emulsified."

I think people should constantly question all of their thoughts and points of view. It will either reinforce what you already believe or change you way of thinking.

Basically, and this is the crux of the matter, migrants have to WANT to integrate...the UK officially dropped the idea some years back; now the government speaks of a Multicultural society. ..the truth is that is also an illusion; its a country divided into small groups, very few of whom want to integrate.
The USA has the same issues, except we give succour to terrorists whereas US does not.

You\'ve got it awhitedot. If you do not open yourself up to another person\'s perspective, compromise is impossible, and the only way to learn about other people\'s perspectives is to ---talk to them--- with an open mind as is humanly possible.

I've been saying basically the same thing all of my politically aware life.

Me too. Thanks for commenting here and getting the discussion started again.

Restless one. I am an optimist, so I like too think that people are more aware now and they are not falling for this as easily as they once did when the movements were new. Now it is more likely to garner a head shake and an eye roll ( I hope). Thanks.

First off Blu, you and I have been down this road, but it’s been a while since I had a good political discussion, so here I am. I am sorry for the “I think you’ve missed the point” crack. I actually hate when people say stuff like that because it implies that the person is oblivious, and is somehow incapable of understanding what you are trying to say, a subtle put down—so sorry for that. I know you know exactly what I am trying to say—you just take exception to a lot of it. Fair enough.<br />
But now…<br />
Whoa—racist language is okay as long as it’s true? Really? We’re not going to agree on that as that is the point of the story—that the segregationist talk is divisive and alienating and counterproductive.<br />
You can call Obama the first black president for example, and you would be making a true statement. But when you call him the “food stamp president” you are making a racist statement that changes the conversation entirely. <br />
I agree with you that both sides are guilty of it. I agree with you that media is guilty of it. I hate it, and here’s why: <br />
I like dialogue. I appreciated the Tea Party as well as the Occupy movement (although they both had negative aspects to how they conducted themselves and the is the “beauty” of grass roots, if in fact that’s what this is—hard to tell where all the money is coming form sometimes). <br />
I liked that they forced the issues that we are now confronting as a nation during this election cycle. What government can and cannot, or should or should not do, how revenue should be collected and from whom, how money should be appropriated (who should be saved, who should be allowed to fail)---all good discussions to have I think. Also, if these groups get average citizens involved and talking when they otherwise would not be—all the better!<br />
But when racist language is used I feel that its purpose is to grab the attention of the person who is not otherwise paying attention but whose ears perk up at the controversy. They are in essence, appealing to the lowest common denominator of the voting public—those who do not have the energy or the desire to get all the facts, to do the research, to look beyond what the cable news channels are spewing, to …read. They will just jump on the nearest controversy bandwagon because something that they have heard has hit a nerve, and THAT is what this story is about. That is no way to have a political discussion, and that is my point, and those who propagate that kind of language should be ashamed of themselves.<br />
And I agree with you that the actual news of the day gets lost because the groups and the people talking about those groups are competing with one another to be heard. Somewhere in there the truth gets lost, often, and that is disconcerting, and very, very sad—especially when you are in an election period.

Balsam. We have to speak up when we hear that kind of language spoken. Keeping quiet implies a tacit agreement I feel. It is horrendous that grown men are behaving that way. It hurts me to hear stuff like that. Sorry you have to deal with it all. Thanks for your comment.

My husband is a member of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post here in North Carolina. If you heard these men talk, you'd say they are homophobic, prejudice, redneck, uneducated, and strong republicans. They use make such comments like I wish the KKK would step up do something about this president we have. My husband and I are democrats and I find the people there at the post unbearable and so I don't go there much. Republicans have polorized the party by their retoric, the tea party talk. By doing so and demonizing the democrats we in turn have been labeling them. It's a sad situation for our country and it is not going to get any better.

Dear Blue,<br />
Not sure, but I think you missed the point of the story. I'm actually lamenting the fact that all of the groups involved are using racist language lately to describe one another. <br />
I've read your comment and your comment replies and I really don't think you're following what I'm saying here. I can tell you're getting a kick out of putting me down in my stories though. Feel free to amuse yourself about "common misconceptions." I can take it.<br />
I have very few though. <br />
And while the history of the civil rights movement is interesting, the story (and my point) has more to do with the fact that politicians today are more into finding new and different ways of calling one another out with shocking language and outright nastiness that the argument/dialogue is impossible to have, and without dialogue and cooperation and compromise nothing--nothing--can be accomplished. And we have a lot that needs to be done, so it is self-defeating and frustrating. <br />
That's my point, although that got lost somewhere on the first page of comments.

See above.

Quintesse, there is a tendancy to brand people racist these days...or any other kind of \'ist\'; it stifles debate

we just got a letter that said due to cut backs we may find it hard to get durable medicl good for the 2 that live with me<br />
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but yet we givecabel tv to prsison and the one thathave no right to be here can drive with out insurance as it is agasit there right to be stopped and asked questions<br />
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not perry wants a amendment to ban gay marrage and rights<br />
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but they want to make it easy for ones from others countrus to come here for the few jobs we have left

I agree with some of what you say. Take a good look at the state of society in the UK objective look, and see how lilly livered liberalism has destroyed almost all of the Britishness that the world respected...Britain is tje dumping ground of Eastern Europe and Africa.

Believing in liberty sounds so nice. Let Freedom ring... Self-determination sounds good too.<br />
Personal freedom, also good.<br />
Personal responsibility. My god--it all sounds so wonderful.<br />
I wonder where the Tea Party went wrong?<br />
Give me a minute. It will come to me.<br />
I'm just taking a breather after having responded to your other comment on "Listen"<br />
Keep up the good work. I am not one to back down from a challenge.<br />
A breather.<br />
I'll be back.

The TEA party isn't even a party. It's a bunch of people who got mad as hell at the same time.

I know exactly why people do the quoting thing--I just don't like it, I find it annoying. When I write stories and comments I try to stick to a basic theme and then expound on it--not so much into the bullet points. It gets tedious. <br />
And I have to tell you, it is pretty hard to find a subject that I will not willingly discuss, but I am sick to death of the Tea Party. They are not really the subject of this story at all unless you didn't make it past the first paragraph. <br />
Never been to a Tea Party rally. Don't plan on attending one any time soon, so I have no first hand experience with posters--just what I have seen online and in periodicals. Don't much care for the message, don't appreciate what they stand for, and not particularly crazy about how they are funded. They also annoy me. <br />
I was talking about attitudes and divisiveness and nasty language with hateful and ugly connotations that muddy the water and hamper the diaologue I wish we could really be having about how to turn this country around. <br />
And while no one likes to be called racist, there is a fair amount of it surfacing these days, but it might only be obvious to those of us who are sensitive to it.<br />
Thanks for your comments.

One thing I've learned from ep is that there are certainly intelligent people in both the right and left corners.

I appreciate the fact that you deplored Steve Cohen's intemperate outburst. That makes you bigger in my mind than most progressives on EP.<br />
<br />
Quoting your text back to you is not done to irritate you or to suggest you can't go back and read it for yourself. It makes the respondent's answer more coherent to whoever reads this thread by showing specifically what one is responding to.<br />
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Whenever I watch a call-in program on C--SPAN, they have a Democrat line and a Republican line, and one thing is sure to come up. At least one caller will engage in a rant against the dark influence of the all powerful Jews. I have noticed that this invariably comes from callers on the Democrat line. And surveys show significantly more anti-Semitic sentiment aming Democrats than among Republicans. Yet by the line of reasoning you and other progressives like to advance, the fact that Jews overwhelmingly vote Democrat proves Republicans are anti-Semitic or aren't "inclusive" enough toward Jews. Clearly that is absurd. (Eric Kantor seems pretty comfortable among Republicans, doesn't he?) Not many years ago a long-time liberal Democrat congressman from Virginia (Jim Moran, I believe, is his name) publicly blamed the Iraq war on American Jews without getting booted out of the party. If Jews were making their decisions on how to vote ba<x>sed on where they can encounter less anti-Semitism, they would not be voting as they are. Their political sentiments are ruled by a historically-derived sentiment of alienation, just like the Hugenots of France who went on supporting the French Revolution even when the Revolution had openly turned against the Christianity that was dear to the Hugenots' hearts. Alienated people vote Left; it's a psychological phenomenon which is not necessarily ba<x>sed on a rational contemplation of the opposing sides.<br />
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However in spite of the facts I laid out above, you will not find a single post on EP where I assert that progressives are anti-Semitic or that their movement as a whole is tainted by the anti-Semitism of some. That is because I strive for a fair-mindedness which I virtually never see progressives accord to my side. I so strive out of conscience, not because I expect by so striving to ever have myself or my side catch a break from progressives. You say " if one looks closely at that one could, conceivably, draw the conclusion that their policy agenda is racist. When they talk about re-instituting voter literacy tests, for example, one could argue that in so doing, they are looking for a way to discourage minorities and young people from voting." This is an example of how progressives make me despair for the future of America. Just who exactly has called for literacy tests? I've heard a lot of Tea Party people speak and I have never heard a word of this sort. If anybody in the Tea Party movement has advocated that, it's a pretty peripheral thing. As a phenomenon it would have to be a lot less significant than the anti-Semitism on the Left which I don't reproach the Left in general for. My point is that your political side can certainly not bear up under the extremely exacting standards to which you wish to subject my political side. And if it can't, then you and your friends ought to stop trying to subject us to such standards.<br />
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"It might be that the people who claim to represent the Tea Party also represent policies that are not in line with the concerns of more urban populations which include minorities." Different people have different perceptions on this. There are very bright black people who vote Republican precisely because they believe Republican administrations will do more good or less harm for blacks than Democrat policies. Blacks vote Democrat because during the Great Depression, they, like a lot of others, were converted to belief in Keynesian economics at a time when faith in free enterprise was at a low ebb. (This happened at a time when the national Democratic Party was very respectful of the racist sentiments of southern Democrats, further illustrating the point that people vote for reasons other than perceptions of greater bigotry on the part of those they vote against.) I happen to believe the argument that the Left's policies have done enormous harm to blacks, especially by undermining the once strong black family, Also the anti-capitalism marketed to blacks by the left has resulted in a situation in which the entrepeneurial spirit among US blacks is actually weaker now than in pre-civil rights days, which is a very, very costly thing for black urban areas. It shouldn't be a situation where all the lamentably scarce stores there are run by Koreans or Arabs, etc., and that is not how things used to be. <br />
"they should stop using segregationist rhetoric" What segregationist rhetoric? "maybe leave the offensive flags and slogans/posters at home" Uhh, posters as offensive as the Wisconsin protesters' sign "Scott Walker Wanted Dead Or Alive" with Alive crossed out? Give me examples if you can. I went to a Tea Pary and carefully read all the signs and found nothing intemperate. Somebody claimed that Tea Party racism was proved by somebody holding a sign that compared Obama to Hitler. Listen : progressives call conservatives Nazis and Hitler-like 365 days a year. I can think of no greater hypocrisy than their hyperventilating over somebody giving them a dose of their own medicine in this fashion. <br />
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Again with the above quotes you are playing the racism card against the Tea Party, and I think I have made a compelling case against doing that. What bothers me about the left is that for them, politics is nuclear war. It's not about outvoting the other side. It's not good enough to say conservatives have faulty arguments and we have better ones. It's about obliterating the other side; that is exactly how I feel about all this ceaseless effort to portray whoever stands against them as a bigot. It's about trying to make the other side so socially unacceptable that they would be like the Ku Kux Klan or the American Nazi Party, people who are not seen as legitimate participants in the political discourse. That in my view is the real intolerance of our age.

There are two things that bother me about the way this discussion has turned:<br />
<br />
1. It became all about defending/bashing the Tea Party which, in the original story I was defending from segregationist rhetoric by aDemocrat, and <br />
<br />
2. You are doing the thing where you quote me back to me as if I am somehow unaware of what I have written. I will tell you what I tell all people who do that--I know what I said, and if I forget I can just scroll back on up there and look. Thanks.<br />
<br />
I like politics and I don't happen to believe that people who get involved in politics are all greedy, egotistical scoundrels, but I know a lot of people who feel that way. I happen to think that the majority of people who choose this path do so out of a sense of wanting to serve, to be a part of history and to bring about real change. I like to think positively. <br />
That being said I was even trying to be positive in this story--you know--let's all work together for compromise--that kind of thing. But somewhere along the way it became about the Tea Party and it was on.<br />
I don't know anything about how caucuses are formed per se, or how many there are or how organized they are, I just know that The Tea Party has created a pretty powerful one, which scares me because I don't happen to like them, as a group. Maybe they are in fact quite diverse, and open-minded and willing to compromise, and young and not weird. It's possible. Okay. I'll concede that.<br />
And maybe the policies that they are putting forward really are great and benefit all of the aforementioned groups and I am just misunderstanding it all. That's definitely possible. <br />
<br />
And, as you suggested, I pondered... and I am still confused. <br />
It is almost as if you are agreeing that there are not many Black people opposed to President Obama's administration and I think you would be right about that. So, if I am following correctly, I should be pondering the fact that his opposition is not drawing very many black people and that is not their fault. Gotcha. Okay.<br />
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But let me throw something out there. It might be that the people who claim to represent the Tea Party also represent policies that are not in line with the concerns of more urban populations which include minorities. And if one looks closely at that one could, conceivably, draw the conclusion that their policy agenda is racist. When they talk about re-instituting voter literacy tests, for example, one could argue that in so doing, they are looking for a way to discourage minorities and young people from voting. So while there are black Tea Party activists, even they say that the Tea Party should concentrate more on being more inclusive with the messages they are putting out there, and I would say--they should stop using segregationist rhetoric and maybe leave the offensive flags and slogans/posters at home. It might help their cause.<br />
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And I think everyone should have a seat at the table, Libertarians, Tea Party people, whatever, whoever. I may sound like a Liberal, and if you ask me I will tell you I am one because that is how I define myself; I can't help it, I agree with the liberal/Democratic mindset and their agenda, such that it is, and I happen to think very highly of this President as well. So, there it is. But I am also open-minded and I do try to make an effort to understand different perspectives and I appreciate you bringing yours here. Thank you.

I have been so dissatisfied with the political process with the smoke and mirrors tacticts that "Criss Angel" is more to my taste. I mean looking back at the Kerry/Bush election where Bush got over 6,000 votes in Ohio precincts where there were only 2,000 registered voters. The whole election thing is rigged and all the smoke and mirrors came crashing to the grond for me. No one ever did anything about that. Theodore Roosevelt wanted to run for president and all his friends said, "Why would you want to be a part of those crooked people?" Maybe there are some good ones out there but I feel most don't have backbones and if they go against the flow they become the victims of media scandels. Every society has fallen. I doubt the USA is immune to historical reality. There is no perfect system due to the greed of man. Until we eliminate that, there will always be wide division. My grandpa always said, "Let one party slice the cake and the other choose which piece to take." He was 8th grade educated. Greed, bait and switch will be the norm until we get a resource, not monetary system. Star Trek values are where I hope we can finally achieve. No Predjudices, No greed, No Money. Here, Here.

"Environmentalists and feminists and homosexuals are not forming caucuses in the House." Are you kidding? Maybe there aren't enough for a homosexual caucus, but I imagine there may well be one.<br />
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"why are they all old and white?" They aren't.<br />
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"why do the policies they espouse disproportionately harm, well, everyone you just mentioned." I don't see where you get off saying the return to fiscal sanity advocated by the Tea Party harms those affluent groups.<br />
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"I thought the feminists and the homosexuals and the environmentalists were pretty diverse groups""the last time I looked (and that was never)" Right! Political activists are overwhelmingly white whether on the left or the right. Incidentally, I once stayed for a number of days at a hotel where a homosexual convention was going on. There was exactly one black man and apparently no Latinos. I'm not making the argument that such things discredit homosexuals. But if your logic regarding the Tea Party is accepted, then it does discredit them.<br />
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I have one more thing to say. Blacks are understandably pretty happy to have one of their one as the first ostensibly non-white president of the US. To expect that president's opposition to be able to draw a large portion of them away from him and to call them racist or non-inclusive if they don't manage to is utterly unreasonable. Take a few moments to ponder that. If you can't acknowledge that, and desist from that line of attack on the Tea Party, then as far as I'm concerned you are incorrigibly lacking in fair-mindedness.

wait... exactly how is Obama "non-white" or "one of their o[wn]" if he is half black and half white? and did you consider that the lack of people of color at the hotel may have had something to do with locale, which venues were advertised, or the economic status of the people targeted to attend? your argument isn't persuading me.

Also--the last time I looked (and that was never) I thought the feminists and the homosexuals and the environmentalists were pretty diverse groups. <br />
It actually never became an issue until the Tea Partyists claimed to speak for everyone and then it turned out that that really wasn't the case.

The Tea Party demands scrutiny mainly because it claims to speak for the average grass roots American who has just had enough of big government. If it is truly grass roots why are they all old and white?<br />
Also, why do the policies they espouse disproportionately harm, well, everyone you just mentioned.

Environmentalists and feminists and homosexuals are not forming caucuses in the House.<br />

"However the Tea party is not typically seen as all-inclusive, regardless of their speaker line-up..."<br />
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Quintesse, what difference is there in the ratios of whites and non-whites at Tea Party rallies on the one hand, and on the other hand at environmentalist, feminist, and homosexual rallies? If you criticize or condemn in the former case do you not logically have to do so in the latter cases?

The previous comment was deleted--the one I was responding to. Maybe they will come back. In the meantime I am just so happy that they brought up the fact that there are black people associated with the Tea Party and other Black people who are running for office as Republicans. That is always fun for me--trying to get to the bottom of that, trying to understand...that.

I actually think drawing a distinction ba<x>sed on race is wrong, nonetheless, it is an issue that keeps popping up,--see Newt.<br />
Racism is out there--all over the place actually, but that is not what I was focusing on here---you can be divisive and never mention race outrightly--you can elude to it--which is much worse.<br />
Sure there are black conservatives, I can even name a few.<br />
However the Tea party is not typically seen as all-inclusive, regardless of their speaker line-up, and quite frankly if you have to make such an issue out of it that pretty much says it all--"they even have...!"<br />
Look!!! Cain is ......BLACK!<br />
Why yes he is. I noticed that.

Ted is a freak. I think we can all agree on that.<br />
Freaks tend to congregate on the fringes. <br />
Good to keep in mind.<br />
I say stay away from the fringe, definitely.<br />
Thank you and you're welcome.

Yeah Ted Nugents recent antics with his remarks and his machine gun were shameful and very counter productive. I hope people don't think that he is a shining example of conservative thinking.<br />
I should really talk about conservative thinking, I'm a libertarian, which I would say is like a conservative hippie. Conservative hippies have their own website and everything.<br />
Thank you Quintesse.

I think I love you.<br />
This comment is a thing of beauty. <br />
I fell in love with a Conservative who called himself a Moderate in my presence so as not to offend me. He needn't have worried. I LIKE A CHALLENGE. <br />
I CAN see the conservative point of view. I really can. I want to be reminded that my way is not the only way. I mean I have a disease--I will always take the side of the underdog--the disenfranchised, the minority (opinion), the "needy." <br />
And sometimes the bleeding part of me (I wrote a story once "Get a Tourniquet!") gets a little carried away and I can make fun of myself. <br />
We NEED each other! <br />
Puck, man, you and I know this. It is important.<br />
My favorite quote has always been, "The meeting of two minds is in disagreement."<br />
Compromise is the answer. Hurtful, divisive rhetoric is most definitely not the answer.<br />
And the left is as guilty of it as the right. The Klan comment was by a Democrat--and it offended me--and I am as liberal as they get. <br />
Wrong is wrong.<br />
Thank you my friend. This is great.

Clitmit and others like him are an example of how far the polarization between the right and the left has gone. He's frustrated and angry. I'm frustrated and angry too. The right can't figure out how the left thinks and vice versa. When we come up with different ways to describe each other, it's not very flattering. For example, I see the left as being hypocritical in that they call the right "racist" when they by virtue of their policies, imply that African Americans are not as intelligent or more dependent on social assistance such as food stamps and welfare than whites. Eric Holders insistance on lowering the test score standards for the Dayton police department so that more blacks could pass, being an example. The left preaches against misogyny, unless you happen to be a conservative woman in politics. Then their righteous indignation goes out the window. Anyway, we are, on both sides of the aisle , well aware that the other team is wrong. In the past the whole concept of right and left, conservative and liberal, democrat and republican, seems to have worked out, in that we've always ended up with the best that each had to offer. There are many beneficial policies and laws on the books that came about because of the efforts of pushy liberals, and God knows what would happen if liberals had free reign without the conservatives to keep them in check! However, I worry because what use to be rivalry has regressed towards seething contempt and hatred. We can only hope that cooler heads prevail.<br />
If someone asked me to give an example of what good things the liberals have accomplished, If I were a smarter man I could say ........women’s rights<br />
civil rights<br />
Voting Rights Act<br />
regulation of banks and stock brokerage firms<br />
a minimum wage<br />
Child Labor Act<br />
regulation of the stock exchanges<br />
labor rights – collective bargaining<br />
National Parks and monuments -Death Valley, Everglades, Blue Ridge, Boulder Dam, Bull Run, Mount Rushmore, Cape Cod<br />
Tennessee Valley Authority<br />
Rural electrification<br />
the GI Bill providing education to thousands upon thousands of veterans<br />
Housing loans for vets<br />
FHA housing loans<br />
The SBA (Small Business Administration)<br />
Unemployment insurance<br />
Medicare<br />
Peace Corp<br />
Social Security<br />
National Endowment for the Arts<br />
*some of these are listed as liberal accomplishments but are actually conservative accomplishments!<br />
<br />
If I was to ask clitmit to say something similar about conservatives, I don't think he would. Well that's probably a good place to start. Conservatives can research liberal accomplishments, and liberals can research conservative accomplishments and we can build a big bonfire on a beach somewhere, get drunk, and pat each other on the back.

Well, if you must know Puffer person the giant eagle head scared the **** out of me and I didn't want any trouble.<br />
That is why I made the somewhat sarcastic <br />
"Well, okay then. Carry on." crack.<br />
You will also note that what I was thanking he or she for was their input because I can't have much of a debate here if people don't comment. I routinely thank people for commenting whether I agree with them or not, as I do not want to be here commenting on my own stories all by myself. It is not as easy to get an intelligent debate going here as it used to be. I'll admit the Eagle's rant was a little out there, and I did not spend a lot of time on it--I just wanted to recognize it without going off because I sensed that that would be futile. However--you were dead on for calling me on it. Perhaps I should have shut that person down. <br />
I want a do-over:<br />
Clitmit, I don't think they will be banging down your door to dam well find you. You sound mean and somewhat irrational.<br />

@ Clitmit<br />
How are you aiding in compromise and reconciliation when you label TEA party members idiots? And Republicans as "back-stabbers", etc? Both have viewpoints. Viewpoints are protected in our society. There is no absolute truth, unless you're a Southern Baptist.<br />
<br />
And Quintesse, when you appreciate such irrationality as expressed by Clitmit, you belie your expressed desire for compromise and reconciliation between people of differing perspectives.

Well, as you said, we're all wrong sometimes. It happened to me once too.<br />
I'll be back.<br />
Thanks again for getting me thinking. I love a "challenge."

That's the second time in a week I have been forgiven for being a Democrat. The other person wanted me to join the Populist Party. I am not married to any party per se, but I have very strong convictions and I find that they fall in line best with what the Democrats espouse. <br />
However, in an effort to be open minded I will follow that link, and I will read, and I will report back.<br />
I thank you for reading, and for taking the time to comment, so I will return the favor.

Okay then. Carry on. <br />
I thank you Clitmit. I happen to think talking about this stuff, even if it involves disagreements, is hugely important.<br />

the more they run there mouths the more I will be on here.telling it as it is. its every american right to vote the way he or she pleases.for tea party idiots to say other wise is stupid.if they want me they can dam well find me.I will never shut up about lieing azz republicans .liers,back stabbers,trouble makeing,anti amercian, commies

She is awesome. I have since read other stuff by her (unrelated topics) and she is my hero.<br />
But I came across the quote when I was researching segregationist language being used today. It referenced an article about how divided we have become as a society. <br />
<br />
I happen to think the segregationist language is being used deliberately-<br />
-that is my own take. I think civil rights was right up there with slavery (civil war?) in terms of people being divided about how they thought the country should be run. <br />
Maybe by using that language today and evoking those images, especially with a black president, maybe the purpose is to scare and confuse the ignorant into thinking that we are falling apart as a country under his leadership--or just to not-so-subtly remind people that he is black, lest they forget.<br />
I don't know, but this election cycle is going to be brutal. If people like Hailey Barbour and Newt and Michelle think they have a chance--what does that say about the state of things? It is beyond pathetic.<br />
I am scared shitless.

The quote you have in your story by Susan Jacoby is 100% accurate. I haven't read anything I agreed more with in a very long time.

i agree, it's a remarkable quote!

Jenn. I am as far left as one can get, but I like to think I am open to compromise, if for no other reason than that it is a necessary part of getting things accomplished. <br />
And I love accomplishing things, having that sense of making progress...<br />
The problem is, when this kind of language is used (taking us backwards instead of forwards) I get upset. I hate that we are so divided, as a society, and that it keeps getting worse instead of better. I hate that it has become a campaign strategy.<br />
I can temper my opinions and even give in on issues that I hold dear, (as I would argue Obama has done) in order to make progress and create a sense of harmony. Remember harmony? <br />
I think I would have been a successful politician. I would have been friends with you too.<br />
<br />
And Stoner. I believe you make a great point. It is no longer about individual issues because if it were then the Democrats would be pushing stuff through like crazy--the initiatives they put forth are actually designed to help people, working people, the majority of the population. The Republicans want tax breaks for businesses and the wealthy! In the middle of a recession! And they want to cut spending! In the middle of a recession! It won't work! <br />
But instead of talking about that, they focus more on ieology because people get confused about that. For some reason they have found that if the say "constitution" enough times though, ignorant people will respnd in droves!! <br />
And when you try and steer them away from that --and bring them back to reality--you are called un-American. It is insanity. But mostly it is what you said,<br />
<br />
"infuriating, as is the refusal of many people to listen to any other point of view. "<br />
<br />
Thanks you guys. I love this, this discussion. It is important I think.

You have to love Lawrence O'Donnell. That guy must be on drugs--he is SO calm. In fact, I have trouble watching that show because I find it hard to stay awake, but the point that you make Venn is excellent. <br />
I have found that if I say to people, "Well, how do you feel about that? What do you think should be done?" they often stammer, and visibly shrink. If you take away their point of reference they cannot articulate what they stand for because they have not really given it any thought. They just know what their "representatives" have to say, but that's about it. <br />
I know bipartisanship is like a curseword in Washington. It has lost all meaning, because of what you said. It is impossible in this climate, with these people, in these times. But I love the concept of common ground. It is how stuff gets done, how bills get passed, laws get enacted. Standing in the corner, stamping your feet and filibustering is not the way to go. I think people will grow tired of that. I'm hoping. But for now the middle is "halfway crazy". You're right. I know you're right. It is frustrating. The Neos scare me.

There is a strong tendency on both sides to insist that you are on board with every point on the liberal/conservative agenda, rather than taking each issue on its individual merits. That said, I can understand why people sometimes use intemperate language, even though it is counterproductive. There are some issues that are truly infuriating, as is the refusal of many people to listen to any other point of view.

Quintesse, I do not know your stance on the various policies that so often divide us here in our great nation, but I can say just from reading this that I would be willing to work with you from across the aisle if I were indeed a Republican, though I am not. I align myself with the Democrats, but very often find myself agreeing with certain things the Republicans have to say. There is room for compromise in this country, and we need to stop listening to the talking heads on television and bloggers on the internet and start listening to our hearts and our heads.

First, let's all acknowledge that the Democrat who made that comment is beyond stupid. The Tea Party can be easily exposed by asking simple questions that reveal how embarrassing their ideology is. Their movement should be countered with logic and reason, not inflammatory comments. If you lower yourself to that level, then you are giving them a pass. Much better to have them explain what they want to do with SOCIALIST programs like Medicare and Social Security. Lawrence O'Donnell had five Tea Party organization leaders on his show once and asked them simple questions, and it was great. They were clueless, and the show was far more devastating to them than if he had come on and called them a bunch of Klansmen. <br />
<br />
But as for compromise... <br />
<br />
I question the wisdom of striving for "common ground". I think Bipartisanship is (in these times) a disgusting word. The reason why is because the Republican party has been taken over by Neo-conservatives. If the republicans of today were more like Eisenhower, then bipartisanship would be a good thing. But if you're negotiating with psychos, then any 'middle ground" you arrive at is, by definition, halfway crazy.

Forget the grammar police--I'm with you all the way my friend. I like what you have to say no matter how you say it.<br />
I think you're right that if we questioned more we would find that we are probably not really that far apart. It's all about talking, comunicating, breaking down social and political barriers--not creating and fortifying them with hurtful, sensational language. <br />
The quote I put up there suggests that intergrating and conversing with people who do not believe what we believe, that is, commingling (haha) is a way of perhaps watering down our extreme viewpoints so that we can more easily find common ground. I like that. It makes sense to me. The more extreme we become the farther apart we move. <br />
Thanks for your imput you guys.

Oops, I meant their not there. Call the grammer police and put OC under house arrest.

I have that same problem with misinformation. I, too, research a story/issue. I've seen some stories that the left not only put a spin on, but also tacked a misleading headline on - so you've got to be careful. Quintesse - you are right about it wearing one down to dialogue. And I get fired up pretty quick, which doesn't help (I'm working on it).

i've also been dismayed to notice the spin... not only from the right, but from the left. MY left!!? to me it's the greatest insult, and i try to always let the offending lefty know that i don't approve of their tactics. i think it's important to hold our own party accountable for its behavior as well.

Excellent! I agree. <br />
It is much easier to just fall in line with what is being said by the people you align yourself with than it is to check and see if any of it makes sense.<br />
Fact checking is kind of a hobby with me, but I like to think for myself. Call me crazy.

I am finding it more and more difficult to have a political conversation with both my friends and relatives be they left or right because the information being brought to the table to begin with is inaccurate, misleading and/or outright false.<br />
<br />
Now, I admit, I tend to be a skeptic and when it comes to politics I question just about everything. Somedays to the point of wondering if anything is true. Which I'm sure isn't healthy, but I sware some of my friends never question anything coming from there side of the political aisle.<br />
<br />
All of which leads me to think if we all questioned more, we would be more united.

The right- wingers are a tough group. Mean as hell.<br />
I can sometimes wear them down with my arguments, but it is exhausting.<br />
I at least listen, or try to, until I am overcome with nausea, but as my stomach gets stronger and my skin gets thicker I find I am up for it more often than not. <br />
Maybe they will come for me here. <br />
By the way the dude who made the crack about the Tea Party is a Democrat. Stupid doesn't know party affiliation.

I tried to make it something we could all talk about and agree about ANYTHING on... but I was attacked by right-wingers who literally said even trying to talk compromise was a liberal-leftist thing.

Stoner. You're wearing a tie--you must be a conservative. <br />
I'm a starlet, I must be a liberal. <br />
I read a thing recently about Russ Feingold. They said that he found a way to vote any way he wanted to without making tons of enemies and without drawing fire, but instead gaining respect, because he had a way of just saying, "I think this is the right thing to do" without making it about party ideology. <br />
The story lamented the fact that there isn't anyone like him in politics anymore. It takes guts. Few have the stomach for it. Better to just follow the crowd.

Saratoga. Sorry I missed that. <br />
As you know I have very strong feelings about gun control also. <br />
To some extent the "let's agree to disagree" thing works, but even Liberals and Conservatives are falling into very extreme groups within the parties. I hate the "caucuses" in Congress. I hate that everyone feels the need to define themselves. You might as well put on a suit of armor and throw down the gauntlet. <br />
I think I like the back room deals were better. At least they made deals.

Unfortunately, "I'm right and you suck" is about as close as we get to dialogue these days.

Thank you both, by the way for reading this whole thing. <br />
I am rather long-winded when I get on a roll.<br />
<br />
Bear--it is a proven strategy, but it only works if the public lets it work, right? <br />
The harder they try to separate me from my conservative friends the harder I am going to try to find a more moderate middle and tone down my language and improve my attitude.<br />
I'll show them.

I tried calling for dialogue here on EP after the shooting in Arizona. I was attacked for this. I kid you not.

tI's not so much a dark force I would argue--it's a calculated agenda. It works for the most part. The stakes for 2012 are huge. <br />
Watch the chasm widen...

It's a divide and conquer strategy. They did this in the South back in the day by promoting racism to pit white and black working and poor folks against each other. Took the focus off the fact that the fat cats were exploiting all of them.

Somehow I think there is some dark force that wants the right and the left to become more and more polarized until we truly are a nation divided against itself. I think the left and the vast majority of the TEA party realize that racism is an enemy of this whole country.