Too Little, Too Late: Regrets Of A Tea Party "Patriot"

by: cassandracarolina

Tue Feb 12, 2013 at 10:47:15 AM EST

Disclaimer: This is purely hypothetical. A true Tea Party "Patriot" would never apologize; they'd simply reload. They'd also have more typographical and grammatical errors if they did write anything. Still...

February 12, 2013

Dear Joanie,

Since we haven't talked in so long, I was shocked to see you sitting in the very back of the church at Dad's funeral last week. I wanted to see you, to hold you, to tell you so much, but by the time I got through the crowd, you were gone.  

After that last argument when you walked out after we thanked Fox News in our Thanksgiving prayer, I wasn't sure I would ever see you and Jamal and the kids again. I know you probably still hate me and you probably don't ever want to talk to me again, but please at least read this letter before you decide.

Now, with everything that's happened, I can see why you did what you did. I am so sorry, more sorry than you will ever know, that I got involved with those Tea Party people. They seemed so patriotic. It was like they "got it". Less taxes? Who wouldn't want that? Get the government out of our lives? Well, at first I was kind of uneasy about that, with Dad working in the defense industry, but it turns out a bunch of them were in the same sort of situation or on Social Security or disability, and it didn't seem like it was a problem for them.  

We were all just so worried that the country was going to hell in a handbasket, with all those people out of work and the government just spending and spending and spending. It was like people like us - good upstanding people who worked hard and paid our taxes just kept losing ground to people who were... well, you know.

The people over on Fox were the only ones who made sense out of it. Your Dad was the one who first started watching them he was home from work when he hurt his back. After I started watching it, I just got hooked. Glenn Beck was his favorite. He was the only person smart enough to figure out how all this politics and money and religion stuff was connected, and brave enough to say it. It's too bad somebody silenced him. Hannity and O'Reilly and the others were okay, though, and after a while, we left the TV on Fox all the time.  

When you screamed at us that "you love Fox more than you love me and the kids!", I am ashamed to say that you might have been right. I DO love you and Jamal and the kids (and Dad loved you guys too), but you were back east and we hardly ever saw you. I know it sounds stupid now, but Fox was our family.  

cassandracarolina :: Too Little, Too Late: Regrets Of A Tea Party "Patriot"
Then last summer things started unraveling. Your Dad and I had a really rough year. As you know, he lost his job when the government cancelled the rest of the contract and the plant was shut down. They said it was temporary, but nobody believed that. Back in the old days, the union would have given him some protection and at least continued our medical insurance, but now all he got was two weeks of severance pay. Two weeks. I don't need to tell you that we didn't have much in savings either.

Some of the union guys still hang out at Sully's. None of them have been able to find jobs. They all filed for unemployment, but were told they had to be on an 18-month waiting list before even they'd be considered.  Good luck finding any jobs. Nobody's hiring, and now that unemployment is at 17% here, there's no way they are going to hire some old guy with an injury when they could hire a kid or just have the parts made in Mexico or something.

We filed for Social Security after Dad lost his job, and it was okay after those first couple of months when they had shut everything down. I went down to the Social Security office every day until they finally took our application, and then of course it was another couple of months before we got our checks. I was kind of shocked at how little money it was after all the money we paid in.

When Dad had his stroke, I figured Medicare would take care of most of the costs for all the doctors and the medications, but it turns out that we had to pay a lot of it ourselves, and as you know, with what's left from Social Security after those months when we got nothing, well, we don't have that kind of money. I did sell off some of my gold jewelry, since gold has gone up so much, just like Mr. Beck said, but that barely covered the cost of the funeral and it hasn't made a dent in the bills.

It was just a week before Dad died when I got the letter from the bank saying that we had to pay back our home equity loan in full in 30 days or they would take our house. I didn't want Dad to worry, so I didn't mention it to him, but he could tell something was wrong. I hate to say it but I think that letter was what killed him, even though I never showed it to him.

We had been worried sick since Mary and Vince  lost their house right before Christmas. Ray and Hope both lost their jobs at the community college and can't sell their house. Down the street, a bunch of people have just abandoned  their houses and stopped paying their mortgages. Some of them even left their pets. Other people have just taken over the empty the houses and started living there with their families, like squatters. This place is going downhill fast and I don't think I will ever be able to sell the house now. Frankly, I'm afraid to go anywhere after dark.

I was so stressed out at that point that I ended up getting in a wreck and totaling the car. I can't get a new one because it turns out that the insurance company went belly up and even if I had the money for a down payment, I can't get a loan now because of our tarnished credit.  The people in the other car had no insurance, since they couldn't keep up with the premiums.

I've thought of moving in with Larry and Denise, but they have their hands full since Denise had her hours cut back and Larry's research grant was eliminated. It's always great to see the twins, but I wonder whether I could handle life as a live-in sitter. Last week when I talked to Denise, she was worried they might have to move in with me.

I don't mean to go on and on about my problems, Joanie. I just want you to know how very sorry I am that I was one of the people who helped bring down America. All I wanted to do was get out of the house and meet some nice people, get involved in a cause, and do some good. I didn't understand that the Tea Party was just a front for some rich people who were just using us.

I thought it was something really patriotic. We all did. In reality, it was anything but patriotic. What makes this even more sad is that, in the end, we helped bring about the events that hurt so many people. I guess it's only fair punishment that we were hurt too.  

Joanie, I know I don't deserve your forgiveness, and I wouldn't blame you if you never wanted to see me again.  You and Jamal and the kids are in my heart every day. Please call me, even just to let me know you got this letter.

Your mother who loves you

How will Joanie react to this letter? Sadly, we won't know for a while. She and Jamal are out of town, helping Jamal's brother, an Iraq War veteran, relocate to their home where they can help him get continuing care for his physical and mental wounds since he can no longer rely on the government.  

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Tips for dealing with Tea Party Patriots in our families (2.00 / 8)
I finally got my mother-in-law to stop forwarding hateful right-wing e-mails to me. She kept complaining that her computer was always getting bogged down. I convinced her that these "forward to everyone you know" e-mails are often nothing more than vehicles to transmit malware.  

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

-- Oscar Wilde

I used to get a few. My usual response was to write a civil, factual rebuttal (2.00 / 6)
and cc: everyone who had been cc'ed on mine, and everyone whose address was showing in the forwarding (most folks don't clean that out before reforwarding).

I haven't gotten any for a while!

[ Parent ]
You're much nicer than I am, Wee Mama (2.00 / 6)
I would take the time to reply if I thought there was any basis for true intellectual consideration. My mother-in-law knows very well that my husband and I are immovable and lifelong Progressives, a political outlook we shared with my late father-in-law.

I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.

-- Oscar Wilde

[ Parent ]
I think the volume fell off because people were (2.00 / 5)
embarrassed to see their nonsense debunked publicly - and who knows? A little of it might have had impact. A few times I got thank you notes from people for correcting the errors.

[ Parent ]
Contrary to the experiences of others,... (2.00 / 4)
...I've found that civility is frequently appreciated. For example, I had a few email go-rounds with my very conservative aunt back in 2008 in which we both remained not just civil, but loving. And I was able to soften her position vis-a-vis LGBT equality somewhat. Today our relationship is stronger than ever.

But I'm preaching to the choir in addresssing this to you. ;-)

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

[ Parent ]
I have a cousin who posts that sort of stuff to FB, (2.00 / 3)
Sometimes I do a bit of research (it only takes a minute) and point out that:

a) it's untrue, and

b) these are serious issues and repeating mud-sling arguments that have no basis isn't worthy of her.

The emails I just delete. :~)

John Askren - "Never get into a pissing match with a skunk."

[ Parent ]
"The emails I just delete." (2.00 / 3)
My rule of thumb is that I've let everyone know that I automatically delete forwarded emails, but if anyone is interested in engaging me personally, one-to-one, I'm generally game. Luckily I have few if any hardcore wingnuts to contend with. :-)

There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. ~Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

[ Parent ]
I'm going to go rather o/t here but this ... (2.00 / 3)
I was shocked to see you sitting in the very back of the church

reminded me that one of the faces of the Westboro "Baptist Church" gang,

Megan Phelps-Roper and her younger sister, Grace, left Westboro Baptist Church last year, joining other former members in a life no longer consumed by inflammatory anti-gay demonstrations and praying for people to die.

The original article I read started with Megan at a church in New York.

"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in teh stupid and waving a gun" ~ Esteev on Wonkette


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