Title: The Madness of "Queen Sarah?" Credit: Craig Young Features Thursday 15th April 2010 - 1:57pm1271296620 Article: 8692 Rights
In the United States, President Obama has passed his healthcare reform bill, prompting acrimonious responses from his "Tea Party" opponents. But are they triggering their own demise? Alone of liberal western democracies, the United States did not have a government-subsidised universal healthcare system, apart from inadequate partial healthcare insurance ("Medicaid"), just as it does not have a comprehensive welfare state. In the case of most gay men above forty or so, there are some dark memories about the devastating consequences of the above social policy failures in the context of Reagan's neglect of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, unsubsidised medication access (or absence thereof), ancillary workplace discrimination, mortgage defaults, homelessness and death. Those memories tend to ground mainstream LGBT support for Obama administration health reforms. As for the Tea Party group, many theories abound about the origins and composition of the movement. It likes to characterise itself as a 'grassroots' movement of antitax libertarians, characterised by opposition to the Obama administration's centre-left reform agenda. However, others characterise it as an 'astroturf' PR entity generated by centre-right groups. Others are critical of its selectivity- why were such partisan attacks absent when it was the Bush administration engaged in Wall Street and other corporate bailouts? Moreover, there is growing concern about the possibility that right-wing extremists are taking advantage of the incivility and rancor that the populist Tea Party movement is spreading in its wake. Already, there has been one anti-abortion terrorist attack on George Tiller, a Kansas City abortion provider. Scott Roeder, his killer, was sentenced to life without hope of early parole. Already, the FBI and ATF have apprehended the "Hutaree" militia, a militant fundamentalist group that seems to have intended to kill a law enforcement officer and then wreak mayhem at their funeral. Already, there was a particularly ugly scene at which Tea Party adherents howled racist and homophobic epithets at African-American and gay Democratic Congresspeople. Sarah Palin I am not saying that the Tea Party movement were directly responsible for the first two aforementioned incidents, but it must take some responsibility for poisoning the atmosphere of public discourse within the United States at present. However, its US Christian Right and gutter tabloid media outlets like FoxNews and kindred right-wing 'news'/propaganda websites must take some share of the blame. Moreover, this may end up becoming a threat to 'movement' social conservatives- as Tea Party head demagogue Sarah Palin is now threatening to run as a third party candidate at the next US presidential election if the Republican Party opposition doesn't kowtow to Tea Party demands. Before that, however, there are mid-term Congressional elections scheduled for later this year... Craig Young - 15th April 2010    
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