Lansing Tea Party

April 11, 2010

Ah, my first Tea Party, how exciting. We started off with hurling racist insults, then we started throwing bricks through windows and rioting, and ended the night with sacrificing a hippy to Zombie Reagan and singing hymns of praise to Hitler.

Or not.

In any case, a quick report of the night. The unfortunate side effect of planning your protests around a bus tour is that things can be late. Very late. The bus was about 90 minutes late, leading to a somewhat restless crowd waiting around and signing nomination forms for candidates or anti-health care amendments. My random guess on crowd size was about 1000; the LSJ claimed 800, and the Tea Party organizers said the police estimated 1500. Not quite as large as I would have expected.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed with the lineup. The event seemed to be focused more on entertainment and less on activism. A few politicians gave talks, most notably Mike Cox and Mike Bouchard for governor, Brian Rooney running against Mark Schauer in the 7th district, and some state rep who’s name escapes me (hey, he wasn’t in my district, so I can’t vote for him). Only a few activists spoke as well. Instead, a lot of the time was taken by musicians singing Tea Party related songs. I don’t listen to country music and tend to segregate (wait, can I say “segregate” in a post about the Tea Party, or is that racist?) my entertainment and my politics, which led to that part being somewhat boring.

But besides that, it was fun. Much of the conversation revolved around Bart Stupak, and it was obviously celebratory. He was criticized, not necessarily for voting for the health care bill, but rather for sacrificing his principles for a worthless piece of paper. Integrity and principles were some of the common themes surrounding the day. It’s not surprising to see general distrust of politicians be a major theme; it’s long been my belief that we’ve reached a tipping point between joking about how bad Congress is and now believing it (see Gallup’s polls showing record anti-incumbency fervor as an example). Some attacking of the media and it’s dismissive attitude was prevalent as well, and there was also plenty of attacking of both parties (while still clearly favoring Republicans). I would have preferred a stronger warning to Republican candidates that they better walk the walk if they do get elected, but whatever. Both national and local politics were emphasized along with local activism, which was quite useful. And thankfully, the weather was nice.

A few picks follow:
Read the rest of this entry »


Keep up the pressure, Stupak

August 29, 2009

Every once in a while, a member of Congress will display a brief moment if integrity, so allow me to praise someone on the opposite side of the spectrum for doing just that. Especially when it comes to the one issue in which integrity is vitally important. Bart Stupak, thankfully, is living up to his role as co-chairman of the House Pro-Life Caucus. He’s been standing up to the health care bill for taking a “wink and a nod” approach to funding abortion.

See, about a month ago, the Capps amendment unfortunately passed, which technically prevented abortion from being funded in the bill. Of course, it was all a ruse, a ploy by the Dem leadership to provide cover for their members while completely bypassing the issue. Essentially, the government will still be able to pay people to buy private plans that include abortion, which, lets face it, is the same thing. While Obama keeps arguing otherwise, FactCheck and others are saying otherwise.

To some members of the House, this Capps ammendment and Obama’s lying on the issue is enough to save face. Fortunately, Stupak doesn’t think so. He’s still refusing to vote for the bill the way it is now, and refuses to vote for any bill that doesn’t explicitly ban all federal money for abortion. According to a recent Time article:

The health-care reform proposed by House Democrats, if enacted, would in fact mark a significant change in the Federal Government’s role in the financing of abortions. “It would be a dramatic shift,” says Representative Bart Stupak, a Michigan Democrat who has vowed to oppose the bill because of how it would affect abortion.

In the meantime, Stupak says that Obama’s statements during recent public events signal one of two things: either he does not fully understand the current House bill, which Stupak maintains has the effect of publicly funding abortion, or “if he is aware of it, and he is making these statements, then he is misleading people.”

Look, whatever else I can say about him, that takes some guts. He’s basically accusing Obama of lying (sure, I did it too, but I’m not a Dem Congressman…). And he’s not taking the typical Congress BS compromises for an answer. Like I said, integrity.

And when it comes to an issue like abortion, such integrity is absolutely vital. We’re talking about innocent human lives here; not mere trivialities like money or jobs or health care. In terms of moral imperative, nothing else comes close. Unfortunately, the debate surrounding abortion sometimes seems to forget that, forget that the reason we care so much is because we’re talking about innocent children being slaughtered. A crude way of saying it, yes, but it’s what the pro-life movement believes. One’s electoral and political position should be irrelevent to the debate, and yet all too often politicians will compromise or ignore their conscience to gain power.

So to make this a huge issue, to publicly denounce Obama’s statements and publicly attacking his party rather than just voting against it and wishing the issue goes away, he’s doing his part to give the abortion issue the supreme importance it deserves. While I don’t know how it’ll affect his electoral position (probably irrelevent; he seems to be pretty entrenched), it certainly doesn’t endear him to advancing within his party. Yet, let’s face it, some things are more important.

Thus, in a grand spirit of bipartisanship, I salute his actions so far. But I note that the fight is not yet over. Stupak and the rest of the Pro-Life Caucus need to continue to make a stink about this. So do the rest of us who are pro life. And the stink needs to be an all or nothing deal. He needs to publicly fight Pelosi and Obama and not fall for any watered down amendments. Hopefully I won’t have to recant my praise for him in the future.