Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Birth of a Tea Party Nation

I'm afraid that the political scene is going to get worse before it gets better. With the liberals throwing out the moderate democrats and the right pushing out their moderates, there will only be pure ideology on either side. Where does that leave most Americans? We're becoming a country ruled by the minority. What decent person in their right mind would want to be a politician anymore? With Bayh's retirement, the republicans now have a shot at majority in the Senate and even John McCain is rivaled by someone more conservative than he is. And the ideology on the right is not a pretty sight. The tea party can call themselves whatever they want, but what they are is the party of fear:
Local Tea Party groups are often loosely affiliated with one of several competing national Tea Party organizations. In the background, offering advice and organizational muscle, are an array of conservative lobbying groups, most notably FreedomWorks. Further complicating matters, Tea Party events have become a magnet for other groups and causes — including gun rights activists, anti-tax crusaders, libertarians, militia organizers, the “birthers” who doubt President Obama’s citizenship, Lyndon LaRouche supporters and proponents of the sovereign states movement.

It is a sprawling rebellion, but running through it is a narrative of impending tyranny. This narrative permeates Tea Party Web sites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and YouTube videos. It is a prominent theme of their favored media outlets and commentators, and it connects the disparate issues that preoccupy many Tea Party supporters — from the concern that the community organization Acorn is stealing elections to the belief that Mr. Obama is trying to control the Internet and restrict gun ownership.

WorldNetDaily.com trumpets “exclusives” reporting that the Army is seeking “Internment/Resettlement” specialists. On ResistNet.com, bloggers warn that Mr. Obama is trying to convert Interpol, the international police organization, into his personal police force. They call on “fellow Patriots” to “grab their guns.”NYT
The NYT article seems to suggest that the tea partiers became concerned when the recession took hold. I question whether the tea party is about people worried about the recession. Who started the recession? People who bought homes they couldn't afford. People way in over their heads in debt. Wall Street in their greed took advantage of our greed. For tea partiers, talk about the recession and fiscal conservatism is a cover for an even deeper fear of a black president and what that means to them. How else could they let someone like Glenn Beck into their minds? Who would want to be associated with that kind of hate?
They are frequently led by political neophytes who prize independence and tell strikingly similar stories of having been awakened by the recession. Their families upended by lost jobs, foreclosed homes and depleted retirement funds, they said they wanted to know why it happened and whom to blame.

That is often the point when Tea Party supporters say they began listening to Glenn Beck. With his guidance, they explored the Federalist Papers, exposés on the Federal Reserve, the work of Ayn Rand and George Orwell. Some went to constitutional seminars. Online, they discovered radical critiques of Washington on Web sites like ResistNet.com (“Home of the Patriotic Resistance”) and Infowars.com (“Because there is a war on for your mind.”).

Many describe emerging from their research as if reborn to a new reality. Some have gone so far as to stock up on ammunition, gold and survival food in anticipation of the worst. For others, though, transformation seems to amount to trying on a new ideological outfit — embracing the rhetoric and buying the books. NYT
I normally loathe Keith Olbermann's derision of moderates and his usual partisan babble, but he's spot on about what the tea party is about. It has dredged up fear among Americans who hadn't even been aware of their prejudices. Fear is a good word. White Americans are scared out of their wits by the change in this country. They feel that others, "foreigners," have taken over and made their lives worse, which has led to all this anti-government speak. We wouldn't know of the tea party if there was a white democrat as president. None of us want to think the tea party is about racism. We want to think that there's more to it. But there's not.