Another day, another fan

One of the things that I clearly remember from growing up in Mexico in the 1980’s and 90’s is the level of suppression of political dissent from the authorities over the people. My grandfather was very active in the political scene in his town and state, and I remember how upset and disappointed he was when political rallies from his party (always in opposition back then) would be broken up by cops and the military. There were no riots or prolonged protests. Everyone just kind of went home when the cops showed up. Of course, that all changed in the late 90’s when then President Zedillo enacted change that allowed for party primaries and for more openness in the political process. This move was such a game-changer that a different party won Congress and the Presidency in 2000, and the different parties in Mexico (a multi-party political system) have been alternating power in the states and in the Congress.

Because of the experiences of my grandfather back then, I am very sensitive when people try to shut me up from expressing any kind of opinion. I hate, hate, hate deleted comments on open forums and I detest people jeering and booing to drown out whatever I’m saying. With the latest government shutdown, I took to my Representative’s Facebook page to express my disappointment in what he has not been doing in Congress. He is a big Tea Party supporter (and is supported by them as well), and he toed the line with the rest of the far-right activists in the House of Representatives. On his Facebook page, I’ve been posting news stories of how his actions (and mostly inaction) have been hurting the American public. I’ve replied to comments from people who have stated that the government shut down was a good thing or the only thing. I especially try to address the lies regarding the President’s nationality and religion. Those last ones are outright lies (that he was born in Kenya — and more on that in a second —  and that he is a Muslim) that are nothing more than rallying cries to get the anti-immigrant, evangelical far-right riled up and donating money to political coffers.

As it turns out, this woman doesn’t like me speaking my mind:

I’m not going to write her name, following the example of my friend in not naming any names, but you can see her name in the screen shot above. On her Twitter profile, this person describes herself as a “Married, mom of four+, proud member of Cumberland 912 Project, PA GOP conservative committeeman, avid reader, constant thinker and political activist.” I did some googling of her name, and she appears in many forums on conservative movements and anti-immigrant groups. Some of the stuff she’s written is appalling, in my opinion. But, hey, she’s got a right to write and say whatever she wants, no matter how offensive I find it. However, I would not feel safe meeting her in person. She’s expressed some very strong sentiments against people like me (i.e. immigrants with an education who do not approve of all things Republican). And she can, in my opinion, be incredibly nasty about it.

I’d like to think that my grandfather didn’t go through worse things than being called names online, but I know better. I’d like to ask him now what he went through then when he tried to exercise his human right of freedom of expression. I bet there were many times when he feared for the safety of his family and himself. I feel very lucky to live in a place where I know that the chances of someone doing something to us here because of my opinions are low. This is not, after all, a banana republic.

So, yeah, that whole “Obama is a Kenyan” thing. Senator Ted Cruz (real name Rafael Edward Cruz, which sounds a lot like “Ted”) was born in Canada, to an American mother and Cuban father. He is now the darling of the Tea Party, birthers included. On the one hand, President Obama is not American because, in the minds of the birthers, he was born in Kenya to an American mother. (He wasn’t born in Kenya. He was born in Hawaii. There’s even a newspaper announcement of his birth published back then.) On the other, Senator Cruz is okay to run for president because he was born in Canada to an American mother. I’m sure they’ve come around and accepted that the President is a natural born citizen.

I’m sure.

[do action=”credit”]Fatured image credit: Rubin 110 / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA[/do]

I'm a doctoral candidate in the Doctor of Public Health program at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. All opinions posted here are my own, of course, and they do not necessarily reflect the opinions of my school, employers, friends, family, etc. Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen

2 thoughts on “Another day, another fan

  1. Erm, a small correction: A right to write what she and say…
    In other words, the first write/right is the wrong one.
    Bloody language doesn’t make a lot of sense, but only on days that end in Y in English. :/

    I’ve had my share of conversations with what I can only refer to as tea tards. There are tea party types who can actually articulate a concise thought and use reason. Then, there is the majority, the ones who denounce, bluster, insult and actually threaten.
    One had the nerve to accuse me of being a liberal (I’m middle of the road, largely) and “afraid of his guns”.
    Then, I listed what firearms I possess, which comes to an even dozen, as I used to fire in military competition and also in civilian competition. I also hunted, can’t now, as I’m caring for a father with dementia, so the firearms stay locked in their safe.
    Said individual quickly became silent.
    Pity, I’d have not minded an intelligent conversation on ballistics, terminal ballistics, the mathematics of ballistics and precision shooting at range, which involves all of those, patience and a clear and focused mind.
    I’d much rather have had an intelligent conversation about the topic and hand though, rather than veiled threats about someone’s firearms.
    For, the only proper place for firearms is the range, the field in the military or when hunting. One can make a case for home defense against an armed intruder.
    There is absolutely no place for it in our political discourse.
    From that day, I have resorted to calling them tea tards, in favor of associating them with those few who can rationally express their misguided views (I’ve had a grand debate with one online, never met one in person).
    However, I’ve not found it in myself to resort to calling the name teabagger. Only the disparagement of the thug who cannot ever seem to bring themselves to be civil in a conversation of any sort, resorting immediately to denouncement (thought we had enough of that crap with McCarthy, but apparently not), threats and insults.

    BTW, saw an interesting story on the alleged heart and soul of the tea party movement and the mainstay of the Republican.
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/09/21/784599/-Yo-Pundits-Here-s-What-s-Up-With-the-Republicans?detail=email

    Can’t find a single factual flaw in the entire article, but the sociological and historic items mentioned were spot on.

    Like

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