Tag: Teabaggers

I Like the Part About Tequila

It’s an inevitable fact of American life that any successful endeavor will be met with a thousand rip-offs. That’s why we have eight hundred upcoming movies about vampires. It’s why there are dozens of television shows about the intricacies of decorating cakes. And it explains why Pearl Jam is at least partly to blame for Creed.

So it should surprise no one that the apparent success of the Tea Party has inspired other political groups to follow its playbook. But I was dismayed to find out that one of the potential copycats is a coalition of Latino leaders who are “floating the idea of breaking traditional ties with the Democratic Party and creating a grass-roots independent movement tentatively called the Tequila Party.”

I half-suspect that this strange idea is an Onion article that I somehow missed reading. But in the chance that it’s not, let me make a few observations.

Now, as I’ve written before, I’m not u-rah-rah supporter of the Democratic Party. How the organization continues to flounder — despite the fact that countless polls show Americans actually agree with its platform — is a mesmerizing monument to its incompetence.

However, I have to ask if the best strategy to deal with this disappointment is to emulate the tactics of a bunch of rage-filled rednecks. On principle, Latinos should say no to this approach. And in practicality, it’s not a good idea to take lessons from people who can’t spell basic words in their native language.

Yes, the Tea Party has been successful in the short term. However, it has alienated as many Americans as it invigorated.

Some of its most hardcore proponents — such as noted nutjob Sharron Angle – went down in flames. It will be interesting to see if the Tea Party has any kind of sustained influence. Personally, I doubt it.

More likely, it will be one of those huge pop-culture moments that people believe will land in history books, but will actually fall somewhere between disco and the OJ trial as lasting cultural markers.

In addition, the Tequila Party’s founders should keep in mind that one reason for the Tea Party’s success was the inherent power of its members. As I’ve written before, these were primarily older, white, financially secure members of the establishment. Any complaint, no matter how absurd or self-serving, was guaranteed media coverage (often of the fawning type).

Yes, Latinos are (and I haven’t made this point in days now) the fastest-growing demographic in America. But it’s unlikely that Hispanics can assemble the throngs that the Tea Party put together, just because we don’t have the numbers (yet). And even if we could, I find it hard to believe that any gathering of that many Hispanics would be met with anything other than tear gas.

Finally, let me point out the folly of this whole crusade, which is to pressure the Democratic Party to address Latino issues. It should be obvious to everybody by now that one cannot pressure Democrats to do anything or to take action — unless that action consists of folding under the slightest pressure. They’re pretty good at that. But forcing them to actually accomplish something on their agenda… well, that’s trickier.

In sum, I’m dubious about this Tequila Party idea. Perhaps our time would better be spent reaching out to moderate citizens (if any are left) to convince them of our good intentions, rather then shouting at an impotent political organization.

On the other hand, it might be nice to attend a rally where the signs are bilingual — and spelled correctly.

I May Have Said This 199 Times Before

This is my 200th post, so it’s a good time to offer quick updates on a couple of stories I wrote about recently.

First, in Pennsylvania, five people (including three cops) are under federal indictment for their role in the death of Luis Ramirez, an immigrant beaten to death in the street by a gang of white teenagers. I wrote about the acquittal of the teens in this piece for the Huffington Post. It will be interesting to see if anybody is held accountable for bludgeoning a Latino to death, or if the indictments are all just for show.

Second, in Arizona, Joe Arpaio (the “toughest sheriff in America”) is currently embroiled “in a whirlwind of back-and-forth accusations, investigations, indictments, arrests, and general animosity between warring factions of local politicos in… the fifth largest county in the country.” It seems that Arpaio’s habit of rounding up Latinos (in the hopes that some of them might be illegals) is the least of his problems.

What Arpaio and the teens in the Ramirez incident have in common is that their alleged behavior toward Hispanics was so egregious that people went ahead and quite literally made a federal case of it.

And lastly, let me pass along a funny picture taken at one of the horribly earnest, rage-filled protests that overwhelmed the nation in the last few months. I believe this shot is from one of the Teabagger rallies against all that out-of-control socialism that’s supposedly taking over the country. The kid on the bike is brave and, more important, quite clever:

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