Having a Tea Party in Reality Land

So, some people are having a tea party in Washington D.C. this weekend. It’s very much like the tea party in Alice in Wonderland. There are many participants who seem to share genes with the Mad Hatter. Unlike with Alice’s tea party, though, the surreal absurdity on display isn’t harmless. In tough economic times, the potential rise of a far-right political movement—especially one based on lies and on simplifications—is cause for concern. It shifts the consensus reality just a little farther toward the conditions whereby a free state (albeit one beset by corporate lobbyists and other constraints against being a true democracy) becomes a truly totalitarian state.

So, I’m having a little tea party of my own here today. Here are a few of the planks in its platform.

—The sky is generally blue except when it’s cloudy.

—Global warming is real, and a threat to national security (and everything else).

—Electricity is real, not magic, and so is science.

—The federal government isn’t bad; stupid or greedy people in any system are bad.

—Gravity also exists, except when it comes to national politics.

—Religious freedom includes everybody, even (gasp!) atheists.

—Immigrants are people just like me and you (in fact, exactly like me and you).

—Evolution exists and functions even without your belief in it. In fact, it could care less about your belief or lack of belief.

—Our own quality of life is inextricably tied to the quality of our environment.

—Barack Obama is indeed a citizen of the United States of America.

—People who don’t believe in facts have quite literally gone insane and should not be trusted.

Well, those are just a few of the things we’re talking about at our little tea party today here in Reality Land. It would be nice to be able to talk about more complex issues, but for the moment, as Reality Land becomes so eroded that it’s almost an island now, almost falling into the sea now, it’s enough to shore up the sand bags a little by shoving them into place over the windbags.


  1. jeff ford says

    The d-baggers are a grassroots thing. You know, working stiffs, like you and me — that’s why it’s 500 dollars a ticket to see Palin go rogue on reality. I think she’s getting a 100grand to talk. All very working class.

  2. Nick Kessler says

    I loved this! We Americans still have a long way to go before we can prove to the rest of the world that we actually think!

  3. says

    I tried wandering around my house screaming some of this stuff, you know, all glaring into the mirror all wild-eyed and crazy and ugly as hell and bellowing “Immigrants are people” and I mean it was kind of cathartic but to be honest I felt like I was doing most of the emotional work

  4. says

    I tried going up to my gay neighbor and shaking my sign and howling “The Sky Is Blue!” in his face and he just smiled and said, it is, isn’t it, a nice day to you too, and now I think maybe we’re friends or something this is making me VERY uncomfortable

  5. says

    I don’t know much about history, but Redcoats means George Washington, right?

    I like him, I have a good feeling that he shared my horribly unpleasant views on waterboarding and electrified border fences

  6. will says

    At times I feel like a castaway from another world. Genetically humans are said to be closely related. Some scientists have said we are as much as 99.9% identical. This is all the more astonishing to me when I consider the gulf between myself and the Sarah Palins and Rush Limbaughs of the world. Sharing tea beneath the watery depths with a newly risen (and hungry) Cthulu would be far more palatable than spending 5 mintutes in a ballroom listening to the zoanthropic Palin blab mindlessly on and on. Darwin help us!

  7. DBurkeG says

    Heard a small portion on NPR this morning of an interview with some t baggers. I think that they could become the honorable opposition when they grow up. Federal level Republicans certainly aren’t. A few problimatic points that callers made were; Name a 1st world nation that does small government right? I hear you fuming about the expense of social programs, don’t you realize how expensive the military is? Isn’t it the Republican presidents from Reagan on that have exploded the debt? Why did you just show up now, when W already had a 1.3 trillion dollar budget shortfall?

    While I am here… Liberals are complaining and trying to direct Obama and the Democrats. The real conservatives didn’t do diddly during the first 5 years of W and very little after that. Parties listen to their supporters a lot more than their opposition. Hopefully the baggers can get some genuine conservatives into office. Then I can disagree and call them fools, instead of liars and destroyers of our democracy. I think the R leadership is too savvy for the obviously naive baggers.

  8. DBurkeG says

    Jeff, your reality will fail vs my bumper sticker.

    Watch More TV

    Thank you all, your posts made me smile.

  9. jeff vandermeer says

    First, they all have to operate from Fact Land, not Pull Opinions Out of My Ass Land.

  10. says

    Personally, I would love it if they formed a 3rd party. They could yank all the angry and stupid out of the Republican Party, and we can go back to a system where two opposing parties vie for the intellectual middle ground, instead of a system where one group energizes the fringe at the expense of meaningful discourse.

    So, go Tea Party! Woohoo! You go!

  11. says

    Historically, American populist movements have only ever been able to temporarily dominate local elections once or twice at best, and they flame out once the initial push of rage fades. I don’t think these folks are somehow more competent than the Silver Standard folks, nor do I think the internet makes it, somehow, easier for them to avoid looking like total d-bags.

    But, hey, that’s just me. Maybe I am optimistic.

  12. jeff ford says

    “They could yank all the angry and stupid out of the Republican Party”
    Would there be anything left?

  13. DBurkeG says

    I doubt that we have any real disagreements(that is because I will automatically agree with you on any dispute you have wirh my spelling and grammer). Arguing with an author feels like leading with my chin :)

    I think that the Federal level Republicans have been moving away from political spin towards flat out lies and misrepresentation since the Reagan era. I think that the Democrats would get sloppy/corrupt if left unchallenged. A strong conserservative minority is neede to provide that balance. The Republican party needs some inner core of conservatives who will bash Republicans who aren’t conservative except when they can show a national interest served by their non-conservative actions. My argument is human nature based. Politicians left unchecked are bound to do bad things. Republicans are that check to Democrats. I think the reason that no 1st world nation is libertarian is that facts do not support conservative politics in general. Fact Land is so far from present day conservatism that a baby step towards conservatism could be a good thing.

    With out movement towards Fact Land, things are bound to get worse. I have seen only a few of my conservative friends and associates move to nations that share borders with Fact Land. A few others have left Out of My Ass Land for The Void of Disbelief. The fear machine is beating fact machine and being reasoble is not generally in the medias interest. What “facts” I have, I had to work for. Joe American is so “my team” based that they can’t believe what the other side says. We have lost “question authority”. It now seems to apply only to the opposition.

  14. Rachel Swirsky says

    “I think that the Democrats would get sloppy/corrupt if left unchallenged.’

    great. let’s create an actually liberal party to challenge them from the left.

  15. Hellbound Heart says

    love to hear from people who don’t cop bullshit from the powers that be or otherwise……..
    we’ve got our share of red-neck assholes in australia as well……..let me join you on your little island

    peace and love……

  16. largochimp says

    Jeff, I found myself surprised to agree with most of your platform. Surprised because I’m a registered Independent with little use for the two parties currently trading domination back and forth like a TB soaked handkerchief.

    Gravity, evolution, electricity, blue skies. Strong scientific basis for all of them. I’m undecided on global warming. I don’t discount the data, it’s just that it seems to be such a small slice of time. Quoting temperature data from 1875 forward makes for a narrow, eye blink sample. Perhaps the ice core study will tell us more — I wish they’d release more of the data from that but I haven’t seen much of it online.

    This may generate some flames, hopefully not the kind where I am tied to a stake, but I think we may be underestimating the vast climate cycles the earth moves through and perhaps overestimating our effects on it.

    But I may be wrong.

  17. jeff vandermeer says

    the problem with an undecided position on global warming is that if you’re wrong, we’re all dead. if I am wrong, then not only are we not dead, we live in a much less polluted world if we take action. and trust me, if I see a global warming denier in a post-apocalyptic world created by global warming, I will put that person on a spit and eat them to survive.

  18. Divers Hands says

    You know Jeff, that is the most genuinely succinct argument I have ever heard for supporting efforts to thwart global warming. I will be stealing/paraphrasing it for my own use later.

    You will in all liklihood not be given credit. As the saying goes, the Great Squid giveth with one arm, and rips you limb from limb for your sweet, sweet organs with its others…

    As for what the people like Largo (and my father, coincidentally) keep forgetting: human beings have only existed on this planet for an equally tiny slice of the planets history. For the majority of earth’s existance, human beings would have had a zero chance of survivability given the climate. Our current society came into existance predominantly because of how the Twentieth Century’s climate interacted with our current way of life. Therefore, if you’re desire is to merely maintain the way of life you have right now, we cannot afford to let our climate change in any SIGNIFICANT fashion.

  19. weaver says

    Historically, American populist movements have only ever been able to temporarily dominate local elections once or twice at best, and they flame out once the initial push of rage fades.

    Historically, the Populist Party was destroyed by America’s rigged electoral systems (cf. the poll tax) or just plain vote stealing. See Tracy Campbell’s Deliver the Vote: A History of Election Fraud, an American Political Tradition – 1742-2004.

    And no-one should confuse populism with this current astro-turfed nonsense.

  20. Rachel Swirsky says

    ‘ Strong scientific basis for all of them. I’m undecided on global warming. I don’t discount the data, it’s just that it seems to be such a small slice of time.”

    Are you qualified to analyze the data?

    I’m not. My husband, as a geologist who recently received his masters degree, has spent a great deal of time talking to the climatologists who are qualified and who are doing the research. He isn’t an expert in it, but he is conversant with the conversation — and basically, there’s no question. If you are trained in how to analyze the data, it’s clear.

    If you are trained, or seek out that training, or are able to gain access to someone who is in a significant way — cool. But otherwise, why do you think your interpretation of the data should have particular value?

  21. DBurkeG says

    I find it humorous that many of the arguments “against” global warming are that it isn’t a man made phenomenon. No need for basements in tornado country, because tornadoes are natural, or earthquake building codes in California.

    The advise I have for anti-global warming folks is to read the websites that support their view. REALLY read them. I was challenged by a friend a couple years ago to see the evidence against global warming. Most of the sites were junk. A couple took umbrage with the man made claim, or the amount of warming, but otherwise proved global warming with the information provided, if you read the data presented.

  22. says

    “the problem with an undecided position on global warming is that if you’re wrong, we’re all dead. if I am wrong, then not only are we not dead, we live in a much less polluted world if we take action.”

    that should be turned into a T-Shirt.

  23. largochimp says

    Thanks to all for the reasoned responses. Jeff, you run a pretty friendly place.

    I like your “…undecided position on global warming is that if you’re wrong, we’re all dead.” As you wrote, in a best situation, we will live in a less polluted world.

    However, what if temperatures continue to rise despite our efforts? Will we stop using cars? Or refrigerators, or computers? Those rooms full of servers need a lot of a/c to keep cool. Will governments tell their citizens to turn off their heaters in mid winter? People may die. And what if temps continue to rise and we realize we were wrong about humanity causing global warming? Is it okay to have a cleaner planet and an aunt who died in Chicago during the winter because her heat was turned off? I’ve seen governments and people do crazier things.

    I’m just tossing some thoughts out here — extreme thoughts to be sure, but not inconceivable ones.

    As for Rachel’s thoughts on my expertise (or lack): If the climate data is that obvious, why do I need to be an expert to understand it? I’m not a physicist, but I understand gravity; not a biologist, but I understand evolution.

    Utter certainty, whether in politics or religion or science, always worries me. When people say, “It’s decided, stop arguing and get in line,” I worry. So forgive me if I’m as wary of the folks who insist climate change is totally proven, as I am of those who insist it’s completely false.

    Now I must stop posting and return to termite fishing. Mmm. Termites.

  24. jeff vandermeer says

    RAOTFLMAO. Yes, I am really sorry but that aunt in Chicago in your rather unbalanced hypothetical is just going to get snuffed out.

    Mr or Ms chimp, people have already started dying from global warming. Disruption of weather patterns and changes in temperature have not only killed a lot of people–they’ve displaced lots of people. The theoretical aunt may already be dead by the time her AC gets turned off.

    But to be brutally honest, a totalitarian government like China’s ironically enough has one upside: it can without dissent implement clean/green technologies at will. In that one limited sense we’re lucky that one of the world’s emerging great polluters doesn’t have a frozen government like our own.

  25. says

    I think it’s telling that Obama appealed to Hope, and the Tea Party appeals to Rage. Says a lot about their two movements. Hope can fade but be recharged–it sits there like a battery. Rage just gets revved up and turns eventually on the people who stoked it. In a year I hope I can say to Sarah Palin, “How’s that Rage-y, Angry stuff workin’ for ya?”

  26. says

    Oh, and the Alice in Wonderland comparison is fantastic! The Tea Party’s timing couldn’t have been better. I hope Tim Burton takes advantage of this opportunity in marketing the movie. “You think you’ve seen how weird a Tea Party can get? Try ours.” Big picture of Sarah Palin wearing her Mad Hat being folded like paper by Johnny Depp.