Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tea Party Constitution a Work of Fiction.

We should have been tipped off by the name "constitutional conservative," which for conervatives, typically means just the opposite. The epiphany for me was the opposition to the NY mosque. Conservatives agreed the group building it had the freedom to practice religion, but not if a majority of Americans oppose your activity, at which point you're cast as the enemy.

Now it's the Fourth Estate, the press and lame stream media, that will never get it right. Enter constitutional convolutionalist Joe Miller.

According to Michael Keegan at the Huffington Post:

Yesterday, Miller took the law into his own hands to enforce that rule when he had his personal security guards handcuff and detain a journalist who was trying to ask him about those ethics charges at an event on public property, in an Anchorage middle school. Miller's campaign dismissed the journalist as an "irrational blogger" and tried to act the victim of an overly aggressive press corps.

The incident is appalling, but maybe we shouldn't be surprised by it. Led by the notoriously "Lame Stream Media"-averse Sarah Palin, Tea Party candidates like Miller, Nevada's Sharron Angle, and Delaware's Christine O'Donnell have been shunning both progressive and ideologically neutral news outlets in favor of conservative media mouthpieces whowill tell only their side of the story, and ask only the questions they want asked.

But with the rise of the Tea Party and in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United, right-wing candidates have been promoting a curious inversion of the right of free speech in a democracy. While they refuse to be held accountable by an independent press corps, they enthusiastically defend the newly declared right of corporate special interests to spend extraordinary sums of money from vast treasuries to help them get elected -- all while avoiding accountability from the public.

We're living in a world where candidates don't speak, but corporations do.

Here's a compilation of clips telling this appalling story of the tea parties own distinct reading of the First Amendment from the group of pocket Constitutionalists.

Keegan summed it up perfectly with this dire warning:

While right-wingers promote conspiracy theories about a supposed Obama-led
totalitarian regime, incidents like this one reveal the truth behind their view
of democracy.

In a world where the right to "free speech" doesn't protect the rights of citizens to ask questions, find accurate information, and hold those in power accountable, what we get instead is the kind of free-for-all where Joe Miller's hired goons can restrain a reporter and where big corporations can fund attack ads without ever being held accountable by voters.

What we get is free speech for the wealthy and powerful and tough luck for the rest of us. It's the First Amendment turned on its head, and democracy gone dangerously awry.

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