Tea-Party Patriots (Part I)
Patriotic fervor takes many roads these days. Now there is a new highway entrance for the disgruntled and the angry in America. They are the new-and-allegedly-improved original tea-party patriots of America’s legendary Boston Tea Party.
If there is a bonding message among the Tea Party followers, it is simply that they are not being heard by their politicians.
And their messages are seamless streams of rage that have become the sound-bites of this new generation of discontented: “it’s up to the people to take back the government”; “we rule the government”; “people are fed up with the government that won’t listen to them anymore”; “government crap”; “I just want my government back”; “people should keep as much of their own taxes as possible”; “government should stay out of the car and banking business”; “pull the plug on Wall Street”; “screaming at my tv”; “I had to do something out of frustration”; “they don’t have a clue.”
No rocket science here. The Tea-Party followers are very angry.
They are angry at Congress and the White House. They are angry at Obama. They are angry at big business.
Many are angry over what they see as reckless federal government spending and high taxes.
Some are angry that they don’t have jobs (One of the common complaints of this group is that the government could bail out Bank of America and Goldman Sachs but has done nothing for the “little guy”). Some within this group are fiercely anti-immigration, believing that more and more Mexicans are taking their jobs. This group is also frustrated that many American companies have chosen to move to a foreign country.
Most of the Tea Party followers I have observed on YouTube want to return to some ideal America, an ideal to many observers that is beginning to look very white and European. And they want to go back to an original Constitution based on a strict interpretation of sacred, undying principles(These are the strict constructionists who firmly believe that everything in the Constitution, as it was originally written, should not be tampered with).
Tea Party senior citizens are angry that the government wants to clean up Medicare, even if it means eliminating cost overruns (full disclosure: I am one of those 65-and-over seniors who felt abandoned by Obama on this issue knowing that it was a concession to the Republicans who, historically, have never been strong supporters of Medicare. In the Kafkaesque world of changing alliances, Republicans are now decrying the potential Medicare cuts).
There are the long-suffering rugged individualists and modern freedom fighters who see any activist government intervention into the economy as just another form of socialism and an infringement on individual rights.
And there will always be the parasites living off the anger of anyone who is “agin’ it,” whatever “it” is.
Okay, the Tea Party followers are angry. They are frustrated. They feel abandoned. They sense that the ship of state is steering towards socialism. They are deeply worried that the federal government is taking over their lives. They feel overtaxed and underrepresented. The want their individual rights and freedoms protected. They don’t want their medical/health security tampered with. They want jobs.
I have tried to be objective in identifying the laundry list of Tea Party complaints. For the sake of a good, old fashioned town-hall debate, I would like to lay out my own responses to the concerns expressed by the Tea Party followers.
I’m not sure that the followers are open to arguments presented by someone who has spent over forty years immersed in American culture, for there is slight tinge of paranoia I sense in the group about anyone claiming to be an expert.
But here goes (Part II of “Tea-Party Patriots” will be available as next blog entry)