The Tea Party: A Misguided Movement
When a political movement takes off as quickly as the Tea Party, there is no doubt that the phrase “we don’t believe you, you need more people” no longer applies. What counts is having the ability to articulate your beliefs in a way that makes sense to a broad base of biased and unbiased onlookers. They almost had me believing that they were really angry at the government, and that this anger was based on rational political ideology that served the best interests of all Americans equally.
The point of the protests, as I understand them, is to express discontent over what they consider “out of control government spending” and growing budget deficits. These are points of concern for all Americans. Spending money to run the government is not only necessary, it’s as American as apple pie. We saw a crazy influx in the Bush years of not only big government intrusion of our personal privacy, but unchecked spending in areas related to Homeland Security, national defense and foreign military affairs. America’s other two gold digging whores are Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, both of which are used plenty by Tea Bag supporter, Liberal, and Conservative alike. In fact, the general consensus among the older generation is that Social Security and Medicare are not going anywhere, anytime soon. Not ever. They scream and yell about universal health care, but they aren’t about to give up their own version of it because it’s worked so well for them all these years. Finally, Sarah Palin’s constant squawking about government spending while pimping the Tea Party for paid appearances to the tune of up to 100k is utterly mind blowing. If that isn’t big government hypocrisy for you, I don’t know what is.
Tea Baggers with strong political principals will likely not abandon their core values despite the Conservative infiltration of the movement by Republicans who seem dead set on aligning the Tea Party with the Republican. So far it’s worked.
If the Tea Party aimed to create a neutral third party, unfortunately the idea can now rest in peace.
Tea Bagging extremists fear he’s doing too much to help blacks and the poor, but the backbone of the movement insists that these notions and ideas are not rooted in race baiting nor are there any racial undertones at any of the protests. Some z supporters believe that passing health care means they will be forced to pay the medical costs for the poor and uninsured by seeing a rise in their tax burden. Others believe the government is TOO BIG, but sit idly by while states trump even the government’s invasion of privacy by proposing and passing laws like the one just passed in Arizona, which targets illegal immigrants, but opens the door for massive racial profiling of brown-skin people.
According to the NY Times, 25% of the 18% polled believes the Obama administration favors blacks over whites. To further highlight those figures, a sign at a September 2009 Tea Party protest read “The Zoo has an African Lion and the White House has a Lyin’ African“. When the president laughs and brushes his shoulders off in response, he’s somehow accused of disrespecting ordinary American citizens.
Some supporters don’t have a clue what the movement’s all about and cannot explain the glaring contradictions between Pres. Obama’s budget proposals as opposed to Pres. Bush’s tax cuts for the rich and massive spending of foreign over domestic defense. Since 1980, average American’s have enjoyed a 15% rise in incomes while the rich have seen their incomes practically double.
President Obama has not raised anyone’s taxes… not yet at least.
There are legitimate concerns voiced by those who have somewhat of a grasp on the reality of politicking, but those concerns are disregarded when the focus is placed on those who do not have a clue.
The original Boston Tea Party was formed due to lack of proper representation and growing animosity toward the British, not just taxes. In fact, depending on who you ask, the first casualty of the American Revolution was either a hero or a rabble-rousing villain.
Some called Crispus Attucks (also known as Michael Johnson), a forty-seven-old mulatto, a “hero” and a “patriot”–“the first martyr of the American Revolution.” Others, such as John Adams, lawyer for the British soldiers, saw Attucks as the rabble-rousing villain whose “mad behavior” as responsible for the carnage of March 5, 1770.Attucks, believed to be the son of an African father and Natick Indian mother, was known around the lower docks 1770 as a hard man and a drifter. He resented the British presence in Boston.
On the evening of March 5, 1770, Attucks was in the front lines of a group of thirty to sixty Americans–described by John Adams as “a motley rabble of saucy boys, negroes and mullatoes, Irish teagues and outlandish jack tarrs”–taunting private Hugh White, the sentry stationed in front of the Custom House near King Street. After other British soldiers rushed to White’s assistance, the crowd continued to hurl insults, pieces of ice, and sticks. According to eyewitness testimony, Attucks fanned the flames, calling the soldiers “Lobsters!” and telling the crowd that the soldiers dared not fire. Then, according to one witness, Attucks took hold of a bayonet” of one of the soldiers, Hugh Montgomery, knocking him down with a club (or “cord stick”) in his other hand. This testimony was disputed by another witness, James Bailey, who placed Attucks fifteen feet from Montgomery at the time he was struck with a stick. The assault on Montgomery brought on a hail of fire from British muskets that left five Americans dead and a half-dozen others injured. Attucks was the first to fall, stuck twice in the chest by bullets.
In 1888, over objections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, which saw Attucks more as a villain than a hero, the Crispus Attucks Monument was dedicated on the Boston Common.
Most operate under the notion that the government no longer represents them as an average citizen. The favored treatment to corporations under President Bush and then President Obama may have been the breaking point, but we’ve had the last 8 years to get all riled up about excessive government spending, intrusion of American’s privacy, The Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind leaving kids behind, the rich getting richer while the poor get poorer, minimal domestic spending versus excessive foreign spending, waging illegal wars, sanctioning torture in the military, doing absolutely nothing about health care reform or election reform and making the government bigger while claiming to be against big government every step of the way. Let us not forget how terribly irresponsible the Bush administration was in handling the federal budget while in power. Liberals and Independents were pissed off then, but the conservative moment was fine and dandy with everything going on in Washington.
I would like to take the Tea Party movement as seriously as they take themselves, but I can’t. We are being forced to take a good hard look at this movement and what it represents and reflects in America, but right now it’s difficult to discern any real direction in the party. It was my hope that they could direct their focus and energy into improving the quality of life for all American’s, but as it stands, extreme and not so extreme rhetoric points to the notion that the Tea Party plans on staying angry until President Obama is no longer president or no longer black, whichever comes first.
For an excellent read, check out an article by Tim Wise called Imagine if the Tea Party was black: