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Coup de Main fail by "Francis Marion"

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Message Robert O'Connor
Last month, a billboard popped up in Iowa comparing President Obama to Hitler and Mao, saying that all three wanted "change." A nearly identical one has come up in Missouri.

The signs are sponsored by an organization called "Francis Marion" named after the South Carolinian revolutionary. They describe the putting up of these billboards as a "coup de main" which is a coup that relies on multiple simultaneous attacks and the element of surprise.

Considering the many complaints that have been made about the billboards by local and non-local residents, as well as taking a look at their websites, the billboards haven't inspired the glorious revolution the sponsors have hoped for, but rather anger and laughter.

There's a poll on the website that asks "Do you believe the White House supports racism?" The poll has been open since July 13. As of this writing, 49.6% of the respondents say that either the White House is not racist, or that it's the Tea Partiers that are the racists. 48.8% either say that the White House directly or indirectly support racists or that the Obamas themselves are racist.

The group describes itself as engaged in a "modern revolutionary war" against American socialists, while describing what they do in militant ways: having a "command post", having a "mission and direction" page instead of an About Us.

In their "mission and direction" they describe the titles "Liberal" and "Progressive" to be fake titles; a veneer used to mask their real intentions of being socialists and Marxists. Confusingly they describe the founders - and themselves - as "True liberals." You figure that one out.

Some more things to figure out is that they describe themselves as "partisans," that is to say that they are a group of militant supporters of a cause or idea or they are members of a group who attack or harass members of opposition groups. And despite putting a definition of partisan like that on their website, they say they don't support violent acts of any kind. That's nice, but the military images doesn't reassure me.

It also says on their website "everyone knows that whenever a society becomes jealous or envious in the success of others, this society often, through time collapses on itself." The rest of their defense of the "inherent" capitalism at the heart of a republic is in the same rambling vein, but this passage comes right after describing what they think is socialism. Correct me if I'm wrong, but Marx's ideas were meant to correct the problems associated with the inequality of capitalism, one of them being the envy of the success of others? Wouldn't the above description (if true and grammatical) be a great argument FOR socialism?

The rest of their website is pretty typical tea party stuff, with pointers on how to set up your own hateful billboard and where to find the billboards it has put up. The last thing I'll mention is one of the groups it likes on its Facebook page: "If only mosquitoes sucked fat instead of blood."
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Robert O'Connor is a journalist from St. Paul, Minnesota. His work has been published by the Chi-Town Daily News, Newcity Chicago, The New Indian Express, the Twin Cities Daily Planet and others. He's also worked in radio at Radio K (University of (more...)
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