I’ll bet you 10 quatloos that if you eat Thanksgiving dinner with right wing relatives one or more will make the baiting comment, “You know, the police never had to use tear gas on the tea partiers.”
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Now you can say, “Hmm. Yeah, could you pass the yams?” or take the bait. I prefer the yam route, especially if they are topped with a little brown sugar. But if the yams are gone and the game isn’t on yet let ol’ Mr. Spocko make some suggestions on engaging on this topic.

Now I rarely engage in this kind of conversation because I don’t find it as entertaining as they do.   The problem is that usually the premise is flawed and is just designed to bait you. One of the great appeals of Rush, Hannity and Coulter is that they give “ammunition” to the poor beleaguered conservative so they can show up and defeat those smarty pants liberals with their “facts” and “reason”.

I once had conversation with a right winger where he actually said, “Even if you showed me proof I still wouldn’t believe it.” Using logic against a rock is illogical.

But if you choose to engage, and there are other people around, you might choose to use it as an opportunity to educate and win over people who aren’t as hard core and to dig into the premises of the right winger for all to see.

I’ve been following right-wing violent rhetoric for years. I’ve also been following actual violence of members of the right wing for years. One thing I know is that how the Right Wing decides to protest and what it believes is a win is NOT the same as how the Left Wing decides to protest and what it believes is a win.

The right wingers who go to rallies and protests are peaceful.  The key difference is that although protesters at the rally may throw out verbal threats or make symbolic violent gestures when it gets down to actual fighting and killing liberals or Democratic politicians, right wingers prefer to do it as individuals, not as a group.

To them it would be stupid to go up against the police without having superior numbers and firepower.  They also prefer their targets to be unarmed. And if the targets are unarmed it’s their own fault for putting themselves in a stupid “weapons free zone.”

The sophisticated leaders of the conservative movement have long known that really winning involves persuasion with money, propaganda and power. They see their most violent members as something to rev up to get money and sell fear with false threats like “Obama is going to take your guns!”  They let them rattle around in their saber, but hope they never actually come out. If they do come out, they instantly go into distance and denial mode. “He’s not a tea partier/republican/conservative he’s just a crazy person!”

A shooter could be wearing a tri-corner hat with a Palin/Bachmann button, be a Republican delegate and the party movement leaders would still deny any connection to them. “Who? Never heard of him. He’s on our letterhead? We always suspected he was crazy. It was an isolated incident.” (BTW, how many isolated incidents does it take to become a pattern?)

Again, their preferred method of violence is as armed individuals going to churches and schools to shoot unarmed men, women and children– as these 19 total cases of  “isolated incidents” have shown over the last 2 and 1/2 years. This is why the police don’t tear gas groups of right-wing conservatives marching under the moniker of the Tea Party. Their most violent members don’t protest in a group. They are smart. They don’t bunch up and make easy targets for the police like those dirty hippies. They don’t want a moral victory, they want a military victory, and that involves killing more of them before they are killed.

They don’t stand together to brave the rubber bullets and gas of riot police to show what they believe, they walk into a church alone with their shotgun.

Now no doubt someone will come by and say, “Do you have any proof that an actual bona fide Tea Party member has shot anyone? Not yet. Give it time, their self identification is still conservative, Republican or right. If the next shooting involves someone who has since self identified as tea party member you can be guaranteed that the Tea Party will disavow them faster than you can say, Jim David Adkisson.

The tea party officials will work hard to distance themselves from their violent members while at the same time refusing to stop suggesting the tactics of violence as viable.  So when your RW uncle says, “They never had to gas Tea Partiers” you can say, “Of course not, that’s not their style. But answer me this, when top tier tea partiers want to win a conflict, what methods do they choose? When their hard core members want to win a conflict, what methods do they choose?”

Hopefully your uncle will acknowledge why tear gas wasn’t needed at tea party protests but that an armed response is needed to fight off  hard-core members using their preferred method of “winning”.  If he can’t see that then you can decide next time to get up and help with the dishes instead of engaging a rock.

Now I’ve got to go buy yams, writing this has made me hungry.