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Hullabaloo


Thursday, July 21, 2011

 
Bully For Tea

by digby

I've been lectured recently about being nice to these people because they're just good folks with different views and problems of their own that I should try to understand and empathize with. But I can't empathize with people who think it's cute or funny or useful to surround average citizens having a meeting to bully and intimidate them. I'm sorry, I just can't. In fact, I think it's immoral not to speak out against them.

They may have their grievances, but there's is no reason on earth to do this:

A small political gathering of about 18 liberal thinkers at River Forks Park Sunday afternoon erupted in conflict when about 35 members of the conservative tea party intruded upon the meeting, waving flags and holding signs accusing the rival group of being communists, Marxists and socialists.

The liberal group — organized by MoveOn.org — decided to leave the park and move its potluck to a nearby home. Members of the conservative group followed, parking at the entrance of a private lane leading to the home to continue their protest.

Roseburg Democrats Dean and Sara Byers said Monday they told tea party members who followed that they were not welcome to drive down the lane to their home.

[...]

A leader of the tea party group, Rich Raynor of Roseburg, disputed the liberal group's version of events.

“They are liars,” said Raynor, director of Douglas County Americans for Prosperity. “That is what communists do.”

Members of the smaller group said Monday they were intimidated by the tea partiers, whom they accused of violating their constitutional right to peacefully assembly.

Roseburg resident Lillen Fifield, 70, called the group's actions an “act of domestic terrorism” and said she was appalled that a peaceful gathering — mostly of women older than 65 — was interrupted.

“It is not OK to go around and intimidate and threaten people. That is not acceptable in a polite society,” Fifield said.

Conservative organizers defended their actions and said they will continue to protest similar gatherings.

“We were there to find out what they had to say and to bring a notice to the public that this kind of thing was going on. Quite honestly, if they have it again, then we are really going to make it well known,” Raynor said.

Raynor said the group believes MoveOn.org is a communist front and said he would not stand for America becoming a fascist nation.

Sara Byers said she could not believe the meeting was targeted for protest. She said the group supports the middle class and wants to take back the government from the stranglehold of corporations.

She laughed at the accusations of communism and said the two groups actually have more in common than people think.

“I just said, ‘Are you kidding me?' ” Byers said.

Tea party members posted a 2:46-minute video of the confrontation in the park and added captions.

On the video, heckling members of the larger group celebrate breaking up the meeting.

“That sure did it in a hurry, huh?” a man says. A woman references next year's election year and shouts, “Sure shows who is going to win! We are!”


I wouldn't go so far as to call it domestic terrorism, but it is mean and thuggish and these Tea Partiers are jerks for doing it.

Watch the video. It's true that the meeting was out in the open in a public place, so there was no expectations of privacy. The Tea Partiers didn't break any laws and they didn't get violent. They didn't have to. They just converged on a group of fellow citizens sitting quietly at picnic tables and hovered over them holding accusatory signs until the citizens packed up and left. They may have the perfect right to do that, but that doesn't make it right.



Raynor maintained the tea party's goal was to attend the meeting and hear what the rival group had to say.

He said the fact that they stopped the meeting and left proves they have something to hide.

Sutherlin conservative Karen Meier said she posed as a MoveOn.org member and infiltrated the group's meeting prior to the confrontation. She said she found many of the liberals to be pleasant.

“Obviously, they don't really know what MoveOn is and who it entails,” Meier said.

A MoveOn.org meeting attendee Lorna Hayden of Roseburg said the tea party mischaracterized the nature of the meeting. Still, any group, no matter what its agenda, has a right to be in the park Sunday without being harassed, she said.

Raynor said the tea party never threatened anyone with violence and said no one brought guns to the confrontation. [big of him] He said he urged his group to be civil but also to stand up against a group they believe is harming America.

“It is not our fault that we outnumber them,” Raynor said. “The philosophy they espouse is not a live-and-let-live philosophy. ... I am fearful for my children and my grandchildren.”


I'm sorry if this offends my critics who believe it's "bad politics" to pass judgment on my fellow Americans, but too bad: These people are assholes. They should be ashamed of themselves.


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