By AATTP contributing author, Paul Bibeau
Psst, hey… Tea Party. It’s me in the bushes. The Vanishing Hitchhiker. I’m just waiting here by this lonely stretch of road to do the whole give-me-a-ride, whoops-left-my-coat, don’t you know I DIED 20 YEARS AGO THIS VERY NIGHT? kind of thing. Man, making college kids pee themselves never, ever gets old.
I just thought we should chat. We have something in common, did you know that? And I want to help.
Listen, you have to stop letting people prank you. You have a problem with that, and it’s time to face up to it.
Just a few days ago, over at Tea Party Nation, Katie Baker has just reanimated the tale of how Obama appointed Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court as payback for defending him against birthers. Never mind that she misspells Kagan’s name two different ways – her real problem is that she cites cases which have nothing to do with the issue. According to the urban legend site Truthorfiction and About.com’s urban legend page, the rumor came from a WorldNetDaily article, and they helpfully corrected it back in 2010.
Tea Party Nation and the Tea Party Command Center also have posts about the “Dick Act of 1902.” This is a law that supposedly invalidates gun control, even though the wingers don’t provide actual evidence, and that’s not really what the Dick Act says, and anyway it became law in 1903, not 1902, which indicates that whoever wrote this thing didn’t understand what a bill is, so they probably need to watch that Schoolhouse Rock video before they start talking with grown folks again.
You know the others: Obama lowered the flags at half-staff for Whitney Houston. Some college professor gave everyone the same grade to demonstrate how socialism is wrong. A “proud Democrat” wrote a letter to the editor saying everything conservatives want liberals to say. Everybody who has a Facebook account already knows the crazy things you people believe. Which is probably why this Ohio tea party page has a direct link to the new legends section of Snopes. And I’m guessing it’s also why conservatives have alleged – without any evidence whatsoever – that George Soros is secretly funding the debunking site.
It hurts my head just thinking about it. You send your friends and family members these chain emails filled with distortions, rumors, and outright lies. You become an advertisement for everything wrong with your movement.
Which brings us to what we have in common. See, I’ve got an urban legend for you. It’s a doozy. This really happened, okay? It was a friend of mine – well, she had a friend, and it happened to him. He was a member of one of the major political parties in the country. And they had a program to win elections by dividing the other party with wedge issues about religion and social policy. One of their senators openly ran on the “God, guns, and gays” strategy. They did this for more than a decade, and they built a large, powerful base of support from the kind of people who vote solidly conservative on those topics.
But then something happened. The country gradually drifted. Women started distrusting religious zealots trying to preach to them about abortion. More gay people came out of the closet, and most Americans realized they were regular citizens with real rights. Plus, the NRA’s apocalyptic rhetoric began to grate on a lot of nerves. The political party – the one belonging to that friend of a friend of mine – they looked around and realized they’d created a massive wedge issue against themselves. This:
Do crazy old people who fear progress and can’t use the internet properly deserve to be taken seriously?
Politically, it was a loser. Because everyone, absolutely everyone, had an opinion on that issue. And the numbers just didn’t work for this party of a friend of a friend of mine. You see the irony? They’re getting stalked by the shadowy predator they spent years and a fortune creating…
They’re just now realizing that the call is coming from inside the house.
For more of Paul Bibeau’s humor and commentary, check out his blog Goblin Books