Posted by: Paul | 04/11/2010

Dissent: A Double Standard

A family member recently asked me if I’d seen Theda Skocpol’s contribution to a debate round-up on the New York Times’ Web site titled “Stupak’s Abortion Deal and His Exit.” Nope. Despite hitting the Times’ site on a daily basis, I had missed it. Turns out Skocpol, a Harvard University professor, was claiming that the Tea Party movement is made up of a bunch of yahoos who want only “to destroy the law and the Obama presidency.”

Many others on the Left take this the argument and spice it up with charges of racism. In short, the New Official Line from the Left. (Which, history shows, is really just the Old Official Line.)

Funny. I seem to recall a lot of folks on the Left who didn’t like hearing their patriotism questioned when they protested the policies of the Bush administration. At that time, dissent was courageous and high-minded. Now, however, to dissent when President Obama and a Democratic Congress are in power means that one is either stupid or evil. Take your pick. (Sorry, no “third way” here. We left the DLC back in the ’90s with President Clinton.)

The arguments of those who dare to, yes “question authority” aren’t answered with civility. The people who express them are called names, in a craven attempt to silence them. They are smeared with the charges of racism. Once again, the thermonuclear charge is trotted out. And why not? It usually works like a charm.

Is there some tiny segment of the Tea Party movement that uses intemperate language and may have even, disgracefully enough, have used racial epithets? Perhaps. (Curiously enough, in an age in which video cameras are ubiquitous, no one has produced a tape of the offense alleged to have occurred in Washington the day the health care bill was voted on.)

If there are such racists, of course, they should be hounded from our midst and denounced in the strongest terms. Again, though, isn’t it funny how there wasn’t similar outrage when you had some (not all, by any means) people on the Left spewing hatred about Bush and using vile language about him? When he was burned in effigy? There was even a movie that that imagined him being assassinated. Don’t recall it? If so, that underscores my point. If such a film came out about Obama, there’d be outrage (and properly so). But about Bush? No problem. That’s a double standard.

The Tea Party movement is comprised almost entirely of ordinary Americans who care deeply about their country. They deserve to be heard — not insulted by ivory tower elistists like Theda Skocpol. (I’m not surprised, though, to hear her resorting to wanton charges of racism — she used charges of sexism in the 1980s to get Harvard to give her tenure.) But the Tea Party activists will simply be dismissed, not respected. Even though Obama managed to win on his health care bill, the smears will continue. Dissent, it seems, is permissible only when it comes from the Left.

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