Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lunching with Leftists

The Bride of Monster suggested we eat at a Vietnamese restaurant for lunch today. We settled into our booth, perused the menu, and each ordered chicken phở. Directly behind me were a couple of leftists reassuring each other how smart they are and how stupid the TEA Party types are. TBoM could see I wasn't taking this well, and via various gestures and code words dissuaded me from responding to them directly. She wisely suggested that I could "blog about it" (she knows I have one of these blog thingies but probably doesn't even know the URL).

I was a good boy while listening to one of them talking about how bad standardized testing for school teachers is. I just smiled and thought about how standardized testing for drivers, florists, hair braiders, and countless other occupations is exactly the sort of regulation they elect people to impose on the market to protect consumers against shady operators. Why should school teachers be exempt from the apparatchiks?

They dismissed the fact that "the words 'separation of church and state' do not appear in the First Amendment" by also saying "neither do 'assault weapons' appear in the Second". Well, that's a fascinating observation there, but the language is hardly similar:

  1. In the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" is very specific, and the Supreme Court first used the '' wording in 1947's Everson v. Board of Education. Somehow, the First Amendment was on the books a century and a half before this phrase was found written in invisible ink between its lines.
  2. By contrast "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" is very broadly worded. It doesn't have to say "assault weapons", because they are a subset of "Arms". The Supreme Court has ruled that certain arms are not protected by the Second Amendment because they are not "ordinary military equipment" (United States v. Miller). So-called "assault weapons" are demonized precisely because they are (or at least appear to be) "military".

They continued by discussing how the Constitution provided for slavery (although the word itself didn't appear in the text until the 13th Amendment abolishing it) and that it counted slaves as "40%" (corrected by the other one to 3/5ths) of a person as evidence of how racist the Framers must have been. I bit my tongue and didn't say anything to them about how the 3/5 compromise was cleverly designed by the anti-slavery side to reduce the power of the slave states in the House and Presidential elections, and to keep them inside the union rather than split into two, three, or even more separate confederations of states that would have easily been reconquered by Great Britain. The abolitionists were playing the long game; they knew that slavery was an economic dead end, and the free North would build a powerful industrial base with free men while the South stagnated. Time was on their side.

After a while, their conversation turned to non-political matters, and my blood pressure settled down. Then the one closest to me stated as if it were an established fact that the TEA Party is motivated by racism. I turned around and said "I consider myself part of the TEA Party movement, and I am not motivated by racism." He tried to play it off like I was the @$$#013 by pointing out that he was talking to his friend, not to me, but I wasn't having any of it. Imagine Mel Gibson "talking to a friend" spouting negative stereotypes about Jews, with a Jew sitting back to back with him. Would anyone excuse such speech simply because Gibson wasn't talking to the Jew directly? I sure hope not.

Then he played the canard about how we didn't complain when Bush was POTUS, and since we were complaining now with a black POTUS... Raaacism! I told him that the people I know in the TEA Party movement did indeed complain when we felt Bush was betraying the principles he campaigned on. We opposed national health care when Hillary Clinton was pushing it.

That set off his friend, who said that ObamaCare isn't national health care, but a corporatist's dream. I tried to explain that the TP'ers I know don't really care that much for the big corporations buying favors from the government to shut down their competitors, and that ObamaCare would eventually lead to the nationalized health care he wants as it destroys the private health care industry, but he was too busy spitting out his hatred for me and anyone else who wants him or his sick relatives to die Die DIE! because we oppose national health care. And then he stormed out.

I didn't get to ask the guy who called us racists what he thought of the fact that most of us have spent the last few days defending a black liberal, that we're looking forward to seeing several new black faces in Congress next year.

At least TBoM didn't get upset that I reacted to that provocation. It's one thing to disagree on issues, but the charge of racism is so powerful that it must be confronted whenever it is raised. I won't sit idly by and let that charge be casually tossed out as if it were a proven fact. To let the charge go unanswered is to assent to its truth.[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]

Threely for this post

1 comment:

  1. I think I would have had to ask to be moved to a different table as soon as I sat down by the Leftists. It's like sitting beside unruly kids.


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