Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spontaneous Tea Parties?

I CLEARLY don't have time to write a blog post... but I couldn't resist attempting to [briefly] write about this foolishness...

I woke up this morning and turned on CNN... and was AMAZED that they were giving full coverage to this orchestrated craziness...

According to CNN "spontaneous" protests were emerging all over the United States, in protest of the proposed tax increases by the Obama administration. They reported that citizens are gathering across the country to have "tea parties" reminiscent of the American Revolution. They even went so far as to create a digital map of all the different places where these tea parties are occurring.

The problem is this... it has been well documented and widely reported that there is nothing remotely spontaneous, let alone authentic about these protests. As reported in the New York Times, these protests have been orchestrated by the RNC in a mis-guided attempt to get some attention (and predictably have been supported by Fox News).

As a political scientist, what is most interesting to me is the facade of the co-optation of protest politics by the GOP. It's fascinating if you think about it... the same conservative party that came down hard during the Reagan era (and continues to today) on "identity politics" and protest in general... attempts to use both protest and riots when politically convenient. When people of color do protest, let alone riot, it is deviant, disruptive and disrespectful of the political process. But when representatives of the GOP do it, it is a reflection of the American political ethic. Of course one also has to wonder whether ultimately, what renders these protests "inauthentic" is the fact that the GOP has to pay participants to show up.

I could go on and on about what does it mean for the GOP to co-opt the language of protest, social movements and "grassroots" particularly after the recent Obama campaign. But unfortunately I have no time! So... I will leave it to you... what do you think?


p.s. I can't help but wonder... what are the GOP's motivations when their economic messages no longer have resonance with the majority of the American population?


dcal08 said...

Hey girl,

I just read your blog after seeing the link on facebook. Please, please, please keep writing. I know your busy but some of us our dying for some intellectual dialogue about American politics. This is especially true since I'm living in Tanzania now and feel really disconnected from American news, not to mention any sense of social consciousness about anything. Your blog was really refreshing to read.

Peace & Love,
Danielle Callaway

Carroll said...

I agree with you completely! I'm so glad you said it.
Love, Carroll