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Imaginary union demons

By Amanda Marcotte
Wednesday, March 2, 2011 14:37 EDT
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Check out this video that Digby posted, particularly the footage starting about 13 seconds in.

Look at the images in that video. Take note of what people are wearing, the way the trees look (especially the palm tree), and the ground. Compare it to this picture of the protests from the Madison paper.

Notice a difference? Goodness, when the Fox cameras show up, there’s a lot less snow and a lot more leaves on the tress in Wisconsin! And palm trees! They must bring warmth and sunshine with them.

Of course, that deception is far from the only one going on in this short clip. There’s also the ongoing right wing narrative that The Left has infinite resources to bus “professionals” in, a lie that, as I noted yesterday, is reminiscent of Mubarak claiming that the protests against him were being directed by foreigners, particularly from Qatar. The lie depends on an audience that is completely sheltered from reality, because anyone who even knows a liberal probably knows that the last thing our side has is the financial infrastructure to pull such a thing off. Of course, I’m sure there’s plenty of people there in solidarity, but I’m also hard-pressed to think of why that would be so wrong. I wasn’t aware that there was a new rule in American politics that we can’t support our fellow citizens when they fight for what we believe in. If that’s the new rule, then the right better start explaining quickly how they’re going to start denouncing the very existence of churches.

But all this—the lies about violence, the lies about foreign influence—is really going straight up to a larger narrative, which is that protest is wrong because it’s indecorous. Certainly, that’s been the theme of Ann Althouse’s meltdown. I want to point out that I haven’t seen any liberals suggest that Tea Partiers are in the wrong just for hitting the streets and waving signs. I’m sure it’s happened some time, somewhere—people can be really stupid, sure—but the universal complaint on the right is that protesting is icky if liberals do it. At the most, liberals complained that Tea Partiers were shouting down their opponents, because they’re unwilling to hear their arguments. Also, there was mockery for Tea Partiers being stupid, and waving signs that were illiterate or illogical. And mockery because they’re so clueless, calling themselves “teabaggers” without doing a simple Google search to find out if that word had another meaning that hipper people—and by “hip”, I mean someone who’s purchased a record that has come out in the past 40 years—might already know. I did see many liberals longingly complain that our side won’t get out in the streets like that, a complaint I didn’t truck with, because I think protests are best if they’re targeted and meant to be effective, and not just demonstrations of one’s willingness to leave the house to prove that you’re morally superior. Once a protest has value, I don’t see that we have a big problem getting people out. The Planned Parenthood rally I spoke at had three times the projected numbers.

Here’s the thing: I don’t think Walker is getting shouted down. Walker just looks stupid, because he is stupid and he doesn’t have a real argument. If you strip away Fox News lies, what you’re left with is a bunch of people who are just holding firm. They’re not shouting anyone down. They’re just not giving up. That right wingers find this offensive demonstrates that they believe that the little guy’s role is to roll over and take whatever abuse the powerful and the wealthy dish out.

Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte
Amanda Marcotte is a freelance journalist born and bred in Texas, but now living in the writer reserve of Brooklyn. She focuses on feminism, national politics, and pop culture, with the order shifting depending on her mood and the state of the nation.
 
 
 
 
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