Monday, July 04, 2011

Notes on the Tea Party, at GV Fourth of July parade - and short Meckler Q&A

Updated July 5.

At the parade today the Tea Party Patriot folk were out in force - including a Yuba-Sutter County contingent, according to their website - and they did indeed "fill the streets of historic downtown Grass Valley with a sea of red shirts".

I'd gone planning to survey the marchers on the issue of whether corporations should have the legal rights of people, but after just asking a couple of TPPs, it was clear that I didn't come well enough prepared.

(They'd make the point "Corporations can't vote", and I'd say "yes but" (Amend the constitution) and they'd say "well, what rights in particular are you talking about?" and I'd say "uh". Lesson learned: doing a pilot study is wise; and do your homework - which Wikipedia makes easy with its page on corporate personhood - I should have asked whether corps. should have the right to lobby & to exert influence in elections.)

Also, Mark Meckler was present, & I took the opportunities to ask him 3 questions -
1. Should corporations have the legal rights of people? Meckler's answer: Yes, until the people vote otherwise. Me: But what do you think - how would you vote on this issue? Meckler: I can't share my opinion with you, I only speak for the Tea Party & it hasn't taken a stand on this.
2. Do you feel you have the freedom to speak your own views? Meckler: No, because people would take them as Tea Party views.
3. Do you have any idea why both your Tea Party Patriot co-leader Jenny Beth Martin and climate inactivist Dr. Judith Curry should both be from the Atlanta area, & whether there's some connection there? Meckler indicated he didn't know who Curry was, & said he had no idea.
(I felt like something of a pest, approaching him multiple times like this, but if there's another way to ask Qs that gets answers, I'm not aware of it - and would love to know.)

[fatuous evidence of incipient Stockholm Syndrome deleted]

I had a couple of pleasant/civil conversations with Tea Party folk, & am told the places to have more are Penny's Diner in the Fowler Center, and Humpty Dumpty on Nevada City Highway, up from the produce truck.
And folks it's worth doing - even if for no other reasons than to build social bridges & to reveal the more glaring holes in your own knowledge.

T-Shirt: 97% of climate experts agree we're causing global warmingI didn't broach the subject of climate change; that's my shirt's job.


frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

"Corporations can't vote"

Well, I'd mention that the Kochs through KOCHPAC like to exercise their 'right' to pressure their employees to vote a certain way. That's pretty close to giving corporations the vote, and it's not just one company, one vote.

Anyway, nice try attempting to reach out to the other side, but as far as I can tell, all previous attempts by sane people to reach out to the Tea Party folks -- even by the saner Republicans, e.g. Prof. Barry Bickmore -- ended with either the sane person walking away in disgust, or being sucked into the endless vortex of 'compromise' and 'civility' -- and away from sanity.

So unless you intend to try something drastically different, don't get your hopes too high...

Meanwhile, what you can do is to record their responses to your questions and put them in some sort of argument tree, which you can then stare at for days on end. :)

gather them into an argument tree, and then stare at the tree for a long time.

-- frank

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

Also, the fact that Meckler insists on speaking only "the Tea Party's view" should be a big warning sign that he's there as a PR talking head, not as himself.

Some possible follow-up questions based on this: By what process does Meckler determine what the 'the Tea Party's official stand' on any issue is? (I.e. some sort of deliberative discussion among members, or simply handed down from on high?) Is the UN + ICLEI conspiracy theory also a part of 'the Tea Party's official stand'? And similarly, how was this stand arrived at?

-- frank

Anna Haynes said...

Thanks Frank. On the Meckler followup Qs, you're right of course; I think the isolation's been rotting my brain.

The point of an argument tree isn't for staring at, it's for developing a memory so people don't waste time rehashing the same points over and over. Every controversial issue should have the equivalent of - and if ever gets improved (is there another/better tool?), the issue should have an arg tree too.

> Is the UN + ICLEI conspiracy theory also a part of 'the Tea Party's official stand'?

The way I understood the rationale for this was that it followed from their First Principles - anything that hampers Freedom [of the old people(incl. corps?), in short term; not considering the young folk, or the future], they oppose.

Anna Haynes said... (following up on my above comment) the Q would be:
Since regulations always hamper someone's, or some corporation's, freedom, what are the criteria for deciding which regs. the TPPs should oppose?

(and do they weigh lost freedoms against gained ones? e.g. the freedom not to have a defective microwave irradiate your unborn child)

And then, as Frank asks, what is the *process* by which the TPPs' stance on the particular issue is determined?

Anonymous said...

Good observation about the Sutter/Yuba TPP coming to historic GV to spread their message. This is a trend worth watching, as the Territorial Dispatch (Dan Logue's "Small Business of the Year") creeps into the Foothills with the SAME message. They're coming up the hill!
-Jeff Pelline

Anna Haynes said...

Thanks JeffP - though I have no idea what _proportion_ of the TPP attendees were nonlocal.

John Stoos said...


Filling the city with red shirts may not be the best image for them to be portraying!


Anna Haynes said...

[One curious thing, tangentially related - it seems like the last month or two I've been hearing a *lot* of people idly raise the prospect of violence toward government; especially people for whom it's laughably out of character (and context). Anyone else notice this?]