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The Tea Party has been in the news quite a bit. I have seen stories about how they are going to change the direction of politics, etc, but I am not buying it.

I don’t think the Tea Party has anything significant to offer. They are not, at least as a body, distinct from the Republican Party. The only way they really stand out is in their anger.

The Tea Party is angry about everything. They are angry about oppressive taxes crushing the working man, but even more angry when they find out that over half of Americans don’t pay income tax because they don’t make enough money.

They are angry at the poor and immigrants because they “free load” because they are poor enough to qualify for health and welfare programs, but when Obama tries to pass more comprehensive laws to cover some of these hard-working Tea Party members, they are pissed about that too.

Tea Party people are angry at the government for not allowing people to fail, but they are angry at the poor because they are failures and need help. Though many Tea Party members would identify themselves as christian, I don’t know if Christ would associate with a group of people that are so callous and uncharitable.

If pressed, I think most of The Tea Party would have to admit that much of their “success” was given to them via a parental college fund, and that they are not the bold entrepreneurs they laud so much, but denizens of corporate cubical farms. Much of what Tea Party members have, was given to them by their parents, who had it given to them by the government, in New Deal programs, and the G.I. Bill.

They remember that their parents raised them in a house, with 2 cars and they had a boat on the lake and took a family vacation every year. They forget that dad was a union worker, that had health insurance and a retirement. For a group that hates hand outs, they seem to believe they don’t get their fair share, and are pretty pissed about it. Don’t just try to give it to them though, they want to earn it, and by earn it I mean, they want you to give it to them for being white, patriotic, and angry. Oh, and don’t forget THEY VOTE!!! They really don’t want you to forget that Obama. Nothing is more threatening than to threaten to vote against a guy you voted against the first time anyway. Threatening a guy to always never vote for him doesn’t make him listen to you, it makes him ignore you. It also makes you sound like a 4 year old.

The Tea Party hates the poor for draining our economy, but they say nothing about corporate welfare. According to the Office of Public Affairs, the total cost of the welfare program is well under $25 billion (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/opa/fact_sheets/tanf_factsheet.html), but corporate welfare is estimated to cost by moderate estimates $100 to $150 billion a year, and the Cato Institute estimates it may be up to $350 billion a year. (http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-corporatewelfare.htm). That is one hell of a free market system.

They hate government spending, but I have never seen one of them tackle the issue of military spending, or ask why we lock up more of our citizens, and spend more on prisons and law enforcement than any other country in the world, for a violent crime rate that has remained stable per capita for 40 years. You are no less likely to be murdered with 2.5 million people in prison, than you were in 1970 when less than 500,000 people were in prison.

Oh, and the drug war, yeah after 30 years of spending on that, drugs are a fraction of the cost they were during the height of the Miami Vice days. Mission Accomplished! Almost a full percentile point of the American population incarcerated, drugs cheaper than ever, violent crime at the same level it was prior to the crack down, but we did spend $69 billion dollars on the prison system in 2006. Mostly on low level drug offenses for which drug addiction counseling would be appropriate. Even though that would be cheaper and more effective, we don’t want to give away handouts, except to the corporations that run the prisons, because (and this will make the Tea Party happy) the prisons are privatized. They are for-profit organizations, taking your tax dollar and lobbying your congressmen for tougher crime laws, and playing on your fears, so that they can take more of your tax money that you don’t want feeding the poor. Check the numbers above, wouldn’t it be more cost-effective to feed the poor than to imprison them for stealing or selling drugs to make money?

They say the want to return to the Constitution, but I have never heard any of them complain about how Bush (and almost every other president) violated the Constitution by putting us into two wars, without a declaration of war by congressional approval.

They claim they are not racist, but every rally shows them screaming about taking the country back. From whom? You still have your guns, Starbucks, Dave Matthews band cd’s, and incredible lack of sense of irony, living in a country founded on and by immigration.

Another thing, Tea Party members are always talking about history, and how this country was founded, even though they have almost no contextual understanding of history and make no attempt to learn any. They talk about God and the founding fathers, but the founding fathers were Deists, who believed God made the world and then left it for us to figure out how to treat and care for each other.

They talk about the preeminence of states rights, but forget that the Civil War was fought not for slavery, but over the question of states versus federal rights. When the Union won, federal power took center stage. Deal with it.

So the Tea Party doesn’t bother to study history or learn or investigate the money trail in current issues. Going with your heart and a little information you picked up from Fox News, doesn’t make you a patriot. Anybody who spouts off, and gets angry about things he hasn’t bothered to fact check for even 5 minutes, is a moron. There is no excuse for that, we have the internet, there is more on it than sports scores and porn, take a look. The people who spoon feed this crap to you never let facts stand in the way of a good story, but it is your fault if you don’t take the time to look it up.

History does indeed repeat itself. 150 years ago a then new political party rose to prominence. They were called the Know-Nothings, because when they were asked about violent acts against immigrants they were told to say they knew nothing about it. They saw immigrants as a threat to the economic and political security of native-born Protestant Americans, wanted the Bible to take a more central role in education, they were also concerned about people not born in the country gaining political office. The party skyrocketed in popularity, but was dead 20 years later. You don’t hear much about them in history books because history has shown them to be ignorant, angry, and racist.

Now the Know-Nothings are back, how do you think history will see them in another 50 years?

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One Comment

  1. Brilliant post. The fact that the preeminent speaker at most of the Tea Party rallies is Sarah Palin only lends credence to your post and takes away any semblance of credibility the movement may have had otherwise. Lots of great stuff here, thanks for blogging.


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