Monday, June 28, 2010

Joseph O. Patton: Treason is not a political strategy

  “Gather your armies!”

  “Tyrannical government!”

  “I would impeach him!”

  Sounds like a titillating prelude to a Revolutionary War film, right? Not quite, just a few choice lines from tea-bagger extraordinaire, right-wing darling and treason-inciting Congressional candidate Rick Barber’s recent television ad. Although if you follow the script, you’d think Barber was running to be the Grand Dragon of an insurgent, violence-prone militia group rather than a representative of the people of Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. He sure has a flair for the dramatic, though… I guess you could call him a drama queen.

  Barber embodies everything that the Tea Party seem to represent - and no, that’s not a compliment - and his campaign has been rife with treasonous, violence-spurring, divisive rhetoric, stemming back to the dark day he announced his candidacy (January 6, 2010):

  “…our federal government is spending our country into financial ruin.” Where was Mr. Barber when George W. Bush was spending like Paris Hilton on a shopping spree?

  “I’m here because the Democrats in Congress are spending my six-year-old daughter’s money before she’s even had the chance to earn it.” I wasn’t aware that we had amended the tax code to include taxing first-graders. I’m assuming Mr. Barber wasn’t paying attention when the prescription drug benefit was enacted, tax cuts were passed, and two astronomically expensive wars were launched under George W. Bush, none of which were paid for.

  Barber also sniped at Congressman Bobby Bright, insisting he should have “been a hero” and should have denounced the recent stimulus package. I suppose this means Barber would have opposed helping his OWN constituents? Does anyone else find it humorous how so-called conservatives relentlessly condemn federal spending even as they hold out their OWN hand asking for federal money for their district?

  Barber went on to trash talk the health care reform package. I’d like to see him stand in the faces of countless 2nd District Alabamians who have been screwed and bankrupted by shady insurance companies and tell them he’d rather they die in the streets or lose their life savings than have reasonable, fair reforms that benefit them and their families.

  “As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, I know how to fight.” That’s laudable… but it’s only applicable if you’re planning to take up MMA fighting, not running for Congress. Nonetheless, the tough-ass routine was in full effect and given a few more minutes, I bet he would have shown us how fast he can chug a beer or even flashed us his winky to prove his manhood. Perhaps he should spend more time developing his platform and less time measuring his testosterone levels. And I most assuredly am not questioning Mr. Barber’s service to his country. I applaud and respect anyone who chooses the path of public service. But acting as if military service alone elevates you above the rest of the population and automatically qualifies you to hold elected office is simply arrogant, and the chest-thumping macho routine adds nothing to political discourse. Would this guy rather arm wrestle his opponent than hold a debate?

  “I’m for fighting wars to win. Unlike President Barack Obama, I am very comfortable with the notion of victory.” To imply that ANY president of these United States actually want to LOSE a war is about as absurd as believing the earth is flat. Note: It’s hilarious how when anyone dared to even politely and rationally question Bush’s policies in Iraq and Afghanistan, conservatives would all but scalp them and have them drawn and quartered on the South Lawn of the White House. Now that a Democrat is in office, however, they’ve changed their tune quick, fast and in a hurry… hypocrisy be damned, full speed ahead!

  Calling our federal government “reckless and irresponsible,” Barber said, “As a Congressman, I will fight to limit the government‘s intrusion on the lives of Alabamians.” Does this include the millions upon millions of federal dollar handouts to the State of Alabama via Barber’s fellow conservatives, namely U.S. Senators Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions? Is he going to “fight” to send all that money BACK? Or what about all of the federal military installations in Alabama which provide so many jobs and a massive positive economic impact throughout our state? Does he consider those “intrusions” as well? Alabamians receive far more in federal dollars than we pay into the system.

  Barber’s descent into riot-launching nuttiness has steamrolled since he launched his campaign as his campaign ads, which seem more like war propaganda, have hit the air:

  In Barber’ most offensive ad, he crows his backward insistence that our current form of taxation equates to “slavery.” It’s humorous since taxes are currently at their lowest levels since Harry Truman was in office… but clearly Barber is not going to be deterred by the facts. But the “taxation = slavery” parallel unforgivably makes light of America’s tragic history of actual slavery. Deeming this portion of the ad to be insensitive would be a gross understatement.

  Barber’s skewed view of history is also out of this stratosphere. He seems to be arguing that the American Revolutionary War was fought over tea or taverns or some other mess. Just guessing here, but I think it had a little more to do with Americans being taxed and subject to royal rule without also having a say in that government. And since Barack Obama is duly elected, not a monarch, and we live in a democratic republic, Barber’s dumbassery sorely misses the mark.  Even conservative and Tea Party favorite Glenn Beck, when viewing a Barber video, asked, “What the hell are you thinking?” and actually calls Barber a “dope.”

  And in a damn near frightening moment, as the camera repeatedly focuses on guns on the table in another ad, Barber angrily fingers a copy of the U.S. Constitution as he sits across the table from some half-ass costumed characters, apparently posing as this nation’s Founders. Barber belches, “Now I took an oath to defend that [the Constitution] with my life, and I can’t stand by while these evils are perpetrated.” Barber then presses the wig-wearing characters, asking, “Are you with me?” One of the characters - presumably George Washington - responds by gravely stating, “Gather your armies.” I assumed they were going to make bombs next there in Barber’s grandmother’s basement. It’s a shame Barber wasn’t feeling it enough to play dress-up with them though…. Joking aside, openly advocating and provoking violence and treason have no place in our political discourse. And if Barber is so desperate that he would shamelessly abuse his right to free speech by seemingly advocating a violent overthrow of our elected government, voters should take note because his campaign must be on its last legs.

  Pardon my acid tongue in this article. I certainly don’t want to seem disrespectful or condescending to Mr. Barber… but his words and actions do little to inspire respect. Despite his claims that we’re becoming “slaves” to our government, he’s still entitled to his views. And in general, I too would advocate a smaller, more efficient federal government. But that’s not the pressing issue….

  It’s Barber’s reckless and irresponsible tendency to openly advocate violence, even treason, by whipping up the masses into an angry rabble-like state, thinking they’re somehow under siege by the very individuals they voted into office in the first place. Barber would rather turn Americans against one anther, provoking fear, hatred, distrust and prejudice in the process, rather than submit tangible solutions to the looming problems our society currently faces. Barber would best serve his potential constituents by working toward realistic, fair policies and honorably serving the needs of 2nd District Alabamians… not clumsily pulling boogey men out of his ass in an embarrassing attempt to frighten voters into supporting him. 

  Voters in the 2nd District have a serious decision to make in the July 13 run-off between Barber and his opponent Martha Roby to determine who will face Congressman Bobby Bright in the general election. I’m certainly not issuing an endorsement in this race at this time, nor will this publication do so. But voters should ask themselves before they mark their ballot: Do I want to cast a ballot for someone advocating fear, ignorance, violence and treason?

  About the author: Joseph O. Patton is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Capital City Free Press.

Copyright © Capital City Free Press

1 comment:

  1. WOW ... you said it .... I'm against violence.

    and I'm against anyone who provokes violence.