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Friday, February 25, 2011
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So What Were The Tea Party Rallies?

I know I've been fairly quiet on the protests in Madison. To be honest, I'm sick of both sides. I think Unions ought to have the freedom to exist (what we Libertarians call freedom of Association), but I also think there should be no law requiring a business (and certainly not a government) to have to bargain with them (what we Libertarians call freedom of Contract). But that's beside the point.

For reasons known only to God, Badger Blogger is still on my feed list, which means I occasionally scroll through to see what the crazier side of the right is saying. This morning, I happened upon this little post, and frankly... it deserves attention:

Notice how differently Republicans act when something we don’t want, happens, than how Democrats act. When Obamacare was passed on Christmas Eve, we were angry, but there were no angry mobs taking to the streets and protesting for days, besieging the Capitol, making threats… None of that. We were told that "elections have consequences," and they were right. So we came together, and through the electoral process, we made historic gains across America, and even more so here in Wisconsin. This is the way Republicans are fighting back against the Obamacare legislation and what we believe to be a harmful shift towards Socialism in America.

The ease with which he embarks upon his own revisionist history is... well... kind of funny actually. Of course, Patrick is right when he says that there were no angry mobs when ObamaCare passed on Christmas Eve, just like there have been no angry mobs when the Budget Repair Bill passed... because it hasn't passed yet. No.  The angry mobs for ObamaCare happened, just like the current protests are happening, before the bill passed. Or does Patrick not remember the Tea Party rallies that happened throughout the country protesting the ObamaCare bill? Does he not remember the march on Washington DC in September 2009?

As many as one million people flooded into Washington for a massive rally organised by conservatives claiming that President Obama is driving America towards socialism.

The size of the crowd - by far the biggest protest since the president took office in January - shocked the White House.

Demonstrators massed outside Capitol Hill after marching down Pennsylvania Avenue waving placards and chanting 'Enough, enough'.

Don't forget to click the link for pictures of the rally, showing the large crowds gathered around the Capital, complete with pictures of protesters waving signs of Obama made to look like Hitler. We came together through the electoral process indeed. My point here is not to condemn the Tea Party rallies, just as I don't condemn the protests happening in Madison now. The right to peaceably assemble is a right guaranteed in our Constitution... and both sides have taken liberties with how far they want to stretch the definition of "peaceably". Any time you gather enough people together who are over passionate on an issue, there are also going to be problems.

But let's not pretend that a couple of years ago Republicans weren't just as pissed off as Democrats are now... and that Republicans didn't rally and protest. Republicans made their historic gains partially because of those rallies.  Sometimes the only way for the minority to make itself heard is through protest... and you should know that... because Republicans have been in the minority before. That's why the right exists in the Constitution in the first place. Those Framers were pretty smart guys.

# Posted at 8:57 AM by Nick  |  Comment Feed Link 3 Comments  |  No Trackbacks

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Friday, February 25, 2011 10:10:10 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
I don't remember the Tea Partiers' taking over any government buildings for days on end, but otherwise I think you make a fair point.

My real problem is with the Democrats who took their ball and went home.
Friday, February 25, 2011 10:21:38 AM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
Regarding the "Took their ball and went home" comment, to a point I agree with you. But when you consider what happens in the U.S. Senate all the time... how are the actions of the Wisconsin Democrats any different than a "hold" being placed on a bill in the U.S. Senate, or a filibuster? Aren't they all just different ways of "taking their ball and going home"?
Friday, February 25, 2011 10:15:15 PM (Central Standard Time, UTC-06:00)
You don't make a fair point. The capital is a public building, and the management of the building decided it was fine to allow people to be there. It didn't impede any legislative processes at all (in fact, it seems to be progressing remarkably quickly!). We'll see what happens this weekend when they say the building will partially close, but I anticipate everyone will follow the rules that the building sets up, as they have already. Note there have been almost no arrests and certainly no violence throughout all of these protests. Even governor Walker acknowledges that people have the right to protest things.
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