Michael D. Higgins blasts the Tea Party for cultivating a culture of fear.

“It’s not that the Irish are cynical. It’s rather that they have a wonderful lack of respect for everything and everybody.” ~ Brendan Behan

I just heard this portion of a debate from 2010 between Michael D. Higgins, the current president of Ireland (he was elected in 2009, so this debate took place while he was president he was elected in 2011, so he certainly had reasons to play politics in 2010) and Michael Graham, Tea Party radio host.

Holy shit, why can’t our politicians sound like this?  Because in America the man saying these words wouldn’t have a chance, and that’s a damn shame.

It’s a pity that the strategy of manufacturing and then exploiting fear has not even begun to expire in the Tea Party.  It’s an even deeper pity that it works.  If anything is an indictment on the Tea Party, and even the Republicans, it’s that they cling to this idea of American exceptionalism while, at the same time, lacking the bravery to keep themselves from being manipulated by Tea Party/Republican leaders through fear.  This is why they have to stop the gays, it ignites their xenophobia, and it’s why they need god watching over everything so much that they’re going to force him into every nook and cranny even beyond their own lives; because they’re afraid.

Certainly there are legitimate things that should worry us, but for the Tea Party faithful they’re almost impossible to pick out from the ghosts their leaders keep throwing at them.  Luckily for those politicians who get elected, ghosts like the consequences of marriage equality are easier to fight than poverty or unconscionable financial inequality.

Y’know, now that I’m a full-time blogger, I could work from anywhere.  And I could get used to Guinness.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • AylaSophia

    Just making sure everyone knows– in Ireland, the President doesn’t hold any actual political power. It’s definitely not a position analogous to the American Presidency. The Irish President has duties more like that of the U.S. VP, making public appearances, dedicating schools, debating idiots on the radio, etc. The actual head of state is the Taoiseach (say like: “tee-shock”), basically a Prime Minister. And the current Taoiseach isn’t nearly as cool as Michael D.

    Anyway, as an American living in Ireland, I want to say that none of this should dissuade you, JT, from spending some time in Ireland. Even if it’s still stupidly conservative about some things, it’s still a pretty nice place. I would totally show you all the cool pubs in Galway. :-D

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Don’t tempt me, Frodo. :P

    • bbgunn

      Names! I need names of the cool pubs in Galway. I’ll be there at the end of September and don’t want to visit the tourist traps. Also, I need to know if ‘cool’ effectively eliminates fifty year old Midwesterners with an appreciation of Guinness and irish whiskies?

      • Naughtius Maximus

        A couple of the top of my head; McSwiggans, Rosin Dubh’s (not pronounced dove but dooh), Kings Head and the Skeffington Hotel.

        • bbgunn

          Naughtius Maximus:
          Thanks for info. I’ll give them a try (or two).

  • neXus

    I vote Higgins for Tee Shock! :P

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    He seems to have been cut off toward the end. Is there more that isn’t on this clip?

  • http://motherwell.livejournal.com/ Raging Bee

    And what’s with the “Camp Quest re-defeat PZ” ads? I notice it says “Donations matched by Stiefel Freethought Foundation.” Is that pronounced “stifle?” Is this a joke, or a real reich-wing front?

  • ottod

    I believe that line should read, “Certainly there are legitimate things that should worry us, the the Tea Party faithful are one of those things.”

    At least they scare the hell out of me!

  • ottod

    The second thing I worry about is hasty/poor proofing.

  • jhendrix

    The most worrying bit is that this post implies you are not already “used to” Guinness. Where as the right answer is “would get to drink more” Guinness.

  • Morgan

    Higgins was elected in 2011.

    • Mark

      Morgan is correct that Higgins was elected in 2011 and not 2009 and therefore was not President at the time of this interview. I don’t think it would have stopped him though. Incidentally Higgins is also the first President to insist a secular ‘blessing’ was included in his inauguration.

    • http://freethoughtblogs.com/wwjtd JT Eberhard

      Yikes! So he was! Will fix.

  • Doctor J

    I’ve been fortunate enough to spend parts of 9 years in Ireland, mostly south of a line from Dublin to Galway. My experiences are overwhelmingly positive. I can honestly say that Ireland is among the only other countries in the world in which I could reside. The Irish people have a command of sarcasm rivaled only by the English; they are vibrant, alive, inquisitive, and incredibly friendly. I have been welcomed into their homes, workplaces, houses of worship, barns, farm fields, dances, weddings, and funerals. I am honored to have been able to work and play with my friends in Ireland, and I hope to continue to have that privilege. I cannot recall a single time when the people that I’ve met have been unable or unwilling to separate their perception of me as a citizen from their opinion of the actions of my country or my elected leaders. The discussions I’ve had over a pint upstairs at Keogh’s or the Morgue, or Slattery’s, or dozens of other pubs have been among the most enlightening and entertaining moments of my life. If you ever are able to spend time in Ireland, do it, immediately. You won’t regret it. Just be sure to bring good rain gear.

  • http://timothy.green.name Timothy (TRiG)

    So, is there a reason why the clip has disapeared from the post? It is still available in many other places.

    TRiG.

  • http://timothy.green.name Timothy (TRiG)

    Incidentally, I voted for Michael D. He was my second preference, after David Norris. (I do love PR-STV voting.)
    TRiG.

  • Pingback: Michael D. Higgins defending the minimum wage (and human dignity along with it).


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