Last night Dancing With The Stars proved to be more about politics than a Paso doble – so we all need to get to the dancefloor post haste.
Dancing With The Stars is the American version of the BBC series “Strictly Come Dancing,” it features professional dancers paired with celebrities who are eliminated weekly for a chance at the coveted mirror ball trophy. Three professional judges score the performances and once the show ends phone lines and email exchanges open so the public can vote for their favourites. This is where the teaparty tango comes in.
One of the celebrities featured this go around is teen activist Bristol Palin who, for the most part has two left feet, well, given where her family stands politically, they are two right feet. Her performances have improved but not so much so to merit getting this far in the competition. It’s no surprise that the teaparty folks are her primary supporters.
Last evening viewers saw front runner pop star Brandy eliminated from the competition and Bristol go on to the finals. Shock doesn’t even begin to describe the reaction of most fans of the show.
As the morning opened today, and the blogosphere started to do the Wednesday Morning Watusi the power of the teaparty became evident. One of the fatal flaws in the email voting component of Dancing With The Stars is that someone doesn’t even need a valid email to vote : voters just need something that looks like an email address to vote until their fingers give up. In theory someone can vote as “email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or anything else that appears to be an email address. People don’t even need to watch the show to vote, Los Angeles radio presenter Tammy Bruce posted the phone numbers for her listeners to vote for Bristol.
But it’s only a dance show. But it’s not. The results of last nights Dancing With The Stars is a sloppy Quick Step into the workings of the teaparty mobs.
Imagine if someone claimed a teacher made an apparent racist remark and it got into the hands of the national teaparty operatives. Oh yeah, that happened, and despite the teacher doing nothing wrong the media frenzy created by the teaparty caused irrepairable harm to a highly honored special education teacher.
Imagine the ruckus these teaparty people can create in our schools. Across the country we have seen them protest the Commander in Chief’s annual “stay in school” message twice already. Whimpy school boards like Nutley NJ caved to their demands. (seriously, “stay in school” is a bad thing?) But they showed up, they screamed, they shouted, and they won. Just like on Dancing With The Stars.
Letter writing campaigns, threatening calls to school administrators, protests to pull ‘subversive’ books out of the public library : they are all within the reach of the teaparty and while there may not be a lot of those people in your community, what if the locals stirred the pot nationally? What if, just like the Bristol Dancing fiasco, the mob from around the country bombard your school board, your library, your condo board? That much hate directed in one place sometimes causes people to cave into their demands, just as they did with the Obama “Stay In School” message.
Brandy may have been tossed out of the competition of a dance show, but these teaparty tactics, if left unguarded, will push the rest of us off the dancefloor.
It’s time we started to tango.