Echoing just about everything you read in the “mainstream” media these days regarding the “Tea Party” movement E.J. Dionne writes in the Washington Post about the “grass-roots rage” and finds in its heart all sorts of extremists views that are dangerous, ill-informed, and just plain scary.
I find it all amusing even as I worry, like most Americans, about the State of our Union and the direction we are heading.
I suspect I have an edge on Mr. Dionne is commenting on the “Tea Party” movement as, if my suspicions are true, my having attended not just one, but two, Tea Party protests give me an advantage in commenting on what they represent.
Summarizing a complex set of issues in a few sound bites is fraught with danger in that the over-simplification required leaves an opening for criticism that opponents of your position are quick to seize leading to the kind of tit-for-tat so much a part of the national debate leaving the crux of the matter unresolved. But I will do so anyway. Forewarned and all proceed at your own risk, etc.
The “rage” of the Tea Party is largely a product of the great political middle ground of this country – what Nixon called the “Silent-majority” I would think – having just about enough of the dysfunction and gamesmanship represented by BOTH political parties in Washington.
With deficits exploding and no credible solutions being proposed by either side people are fed up.
With the threat of terrorism being very real (the bodies at Fort Hood and the near averted disaster over Detroit not figments of a rabid imagination) people are wanting leadership and a sense we are being led to victory, not being subjected to a lecture on our moral obligations and the rights of the accused to be afforded billion dollar show trials so we can claim some righteous superiority.
With our Entitlement Programs spending exploding at a rate faster than any reasonable expectation of our economy to pay for them we do not want to be lectured about how we must insure the uninsured, whether in this country legally or not, even as the jobs that secure our future have been shipped overseas with no regard for the human carnage left in the wake.
We are tired of Republicans pretending that we can have all these programs and not raise enough taxes to pay for them and of Democrats seeking to expand the scope of these and other programs promising only to have “the rich” pay the bill when all evidence suggests that not only hasn’t happened so far but, by their lobbyists led corruption of the process of legislation, will not ever be the case.
We are tired of schools producing citizens who cannot tell you the basics of our traditions and culture, having abandoned “civics” as a worthy subject to be taught, and have guaranteed the enslavement of millions in the economic servitude a sub-standard education ensures, all while asking for yet more money to spend doing the same tired failed approaches that have given us these pitiful results.
We are angry because we are not listened to. We are not talked to. We are talked at, with the kind of paternalistic condescension that is so evident in the remarks Mr. Dionne wrote in the column referenced above.
That does not make us racist or in any other way opposed to anyone who believes in the freedom and ideals this country was founded on. And being accused of such just makes us more angry and more determined to find leaders and movements; parties and politicians who will listen and more importantly act to reverse the decades old decline that, based on their words and deeds, the political class in Washington has so cynically embraced as the inevitable result and something to be exploited for their own gain, political or otherwise.
This, of course, represents my opinion of what the “Tea Party” movement represents but is based on seeing, with my own eyes, the amazing cross-section of the citizenry represented at the events I attended. No wide-eyed radicals; no bomb-throwing racists among them. Just regular folks who have just “had enough” and are waiting for those who claim to lead us to stop lobbing claims and counter-claims and to lead us in the shared sacrifice any rational person knows will be required to right the ship of state.
In short we all know there is no free lunch and are impatiently waiting for both Democrats and Republicans to stop promising there is.