Sunday, April 11, 2010
Is there really a Tea Party Movement?
No, there is not. There's a loose conglomeration of the reactionary right, conservative (whatever that means) senior citizens who have been mislead in thinking that their Medicare is going to be cut, closet racists who had no problem with eight criminal years of Bush II but don't like having a black president, tax protesters, gun rights activists, the rural and suburban unemployed, wacko evangelicals, Libertarians, disgruntled former Republicans, militia nuts, neo-Nazis, and a lot of other people I'd never invite over for a drink or a cookout anytime soon.
What the so-called "Tea Party movement" is constitutes reactionary, rightist populism. In other words, misguided, misdirected populist rage that's apparently not willing to be "co-opted" by the GOP let alone the DNC.
In some crucial sense, they're the opposite side of the coin to the progressive left, meaning the majority of the public when you look at the polls regarding social issues and the spending to combat social problems. The majority is for a leftward reformist model, not a rightward trend. Where does that leave these red-headed stepchildren of the right? As far as anyone can tell, an ineffectual demographic minority that, yes, gets it that Wall Street is the problem, yet doesn't like the idea of New Deal reforms and progressive taxation of the wealthiest.
You know: the dumb assholes who still cling to the American Dream.
There is an off-chance that some of these folks will have that "road to Damascus" conversion and actually see that their own interests are best represented in joining the antiwar and progressive left in the streets (as well as on the Internet), in joining together to stop the corporate assault on our rights, but so far it's a pipe dream. Instead, we all harp on more fringe elements of this demographic, and while that's not entirely misplaced in its importance, it's not all about the problem children, it's about the overall group that's been labelled as "Tea Party." Some have implied that many of these self-styled "Tea Baggers" could only attend many of these events by being small business owners, and indeed, there's a kernal of truth to this. But it's not the entire story, some are simply retired baby boomers.
I'm not really sure why the GOP would even want this disparate gaggle of the terminally confused, but what else do they have left as a base? Yet, as stated before, the demographic is fundamentally mistrustful of the entire political establishment and stubbornly resists being used, of being co-opted. Regardless of that, they have been used pretty effectively by both the GOP and DNC to assist in a creating a smokescreen so that bogus health reform could be passed. It doesn't surpise me that this pseudo-movement began with Texas congressional representative Ron Paul since it's as confused in its viewpoint and message as much as he is. To add to the confusion, the mainstream corporate media affixed the labels to them and let things fly, and fly they have, right out the window.
Is there really a Tea Party movement? I don't think so, and it's not going to decide any national elections anytime soon. What it will do, and has done, is to provide one more spectacle, one more distraction, from the worthwhile goals of reformists and the dreams in the hearts of American populists of every stripe. The Mesopotamian priests used the corruption of language to control the builders of the Tower of Babel--but it went bust, and no one could understand each other anymore, and the pillar that was the society of that time, the work towards real civilization, remained unfinished and the people disbursed. The show was effectively over. Funny that religion is part of the equation again, but if it's broken don't fix it when it comes to holding onto power.