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Right Wing Meme Infecting Professed Liberals

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Amy Fried, Ph.D.     Permalink

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We've all been treated to the media frenzy over the rise of the Tea Party candidates such as Christine O'Donnell, spurred on by the endorsements of Sarah Palin. And so far, polling and primary results seem to suggest that their supporters are a very motivated minority of voters. However, I've become concerned with what seems to be the contagion of Tea Party inspired, right wing memes, into the language and thought processes of professed liberals.

It started when I noticed friends and relatives jumping on the anti-"911 Mosque" bandwagon - unleashing their anger against all Muslims for the actions of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers, and uncritically accepting the idea that the Islamic Community Center is "at ground zero."

Then one of these same contacts forwarded me an e-mail, allegedly from a doctor who claimed one of his medicaid patients was able to afford too much to legitimately be a medicaid recipient, and pronouncing this as a widespread problem contributing to our health care and economic woes.

My response to this contact, was that - while individual cases of abuse may exist - focusing on such anecdotes obscures the real culprits, such as greedy insurance giants and gamblers with our nation's mortgages.

The last straw for me, came when Chris Matthews repeated one of the classic right wing canards with respect to taxes - with due credit to Thom Hartmann for making me aware, over the years, of this canard's deceptiveness. After praising Obama's recent town hall meeting, in which he faced disappointed supporters, Matthews said:

"I have one small tweak to make to what the president said today--he should stop saying that giving people tax cuts is giving people money. It"s their money. A tax cut is when the government doesn"t take our money.
It"s an important distinction.
He talked today, for example, about people getting a check from the government in the form of a tax cut. That"s not the way it works. If tax rates are kept lower, it"s a matter of the check going to the government being smaller. Again, it"s an important distinction."

Well, Chris, if "the people" drive the roads, depend on police protection, use public transportation, send their kids to public school, benefit from the neighbors' kids going to public school, or avail themselves of any other aspects of what Thom Hartmann calls "the commons," then it is arguably not "their money." It is money that belongs to the public, which we all benefit from.

Chris Matthews seems to pride himself on making arguments on both sides of the fence; but he also prides himself on his past work in the Democratic Party. And increasingly, as MSNBC has made its name as an answer to Fox News, Matthews has seemed to let his liberal side show. The fact that he has borrowed this sense of "taxpayers' entitlement" from the right, is even more concerning, given this background.

It's scary enough when the likes of Christine O'Donnell and Carl Paladino start to be taken seriously. It's even more scary, when those who consider themselves liberal start to breathe in the tea party vapors, apparently totally unaware of what they're doing.


 

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Amy Fried applies her Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior to writing and activism on church-state separation, feminism, reproductive rights, corruption, media and veganism.

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