In a measure of their naivety of complex issues and ignorance of how politics works, in a room of some 600 people at the recent Tea Party convention, nearly 80% raised their hands when asked if they “had never been into politics before.”
Mob: a large or disorderly crowd; especially one bent on riotous or destructive action.
The original tea party of 1773 were a mob of merchants and locals concerned with taxation by England without representation (or favor) of the local populace of the colonies. But it was not just tea taxes that upset the Massachusetts colonists; it was a build-up of tension brought about by the Stamp Act, the Townsend Acts, and the Boston massacre. The modern Tea Party is a mob made up of right-wing “pure” conservatives angry and hateful at taxation without representation (in Tea Party meaning: taxation without their support) and debt. But it is not just taxes and debt that upsets the modern day Tea Party, it is a build-up of tension brought about by years of watching liberalism and socialism take increasingly prominent positions in society. For an outlet of this tension the Tea Partiers have found scapegoats of programs and people with little ability to defend themselves within the media of the right-wing. Scapegoats like president Obama, government run anything (except for our military), infrastructure based earmarks by congresspersons, gun control laws, regulations of the “free market,” health care reform, welfare and entitlement programs, government overreach into the business of the states, same sex marriage, economic bailouts, abortion rights, RINOS (republican in name only), and religious restrictions by mandate of the U.S. constitution and it’s pesky separation of church and state.
“We believe in Limited Government, Free Speech, the 2nd Amendment, our Military, Secure Borders and our Country!” – Tea Party Nation web site
To the Tea Party “limited government” means that government should only protect us and keep us militarily secure from our enemies. They use a Thomas Jefferson quote to justify this ideal: “The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others,” (found on a Tea Party web site). Jefferson was speaking in generality of the purpose of United States government. “Injurious,” in this quotation does not only mean physical harm by a foreign military, but in all matters which could be injurious and in which government intervention, enforced through written law, can protect individuals from harm. Such government interventionist laws as making slavery illegal nationwide, workplace laws that protect the vitality and safety of the worker nationwide, civil rights laws that protect minorities and individuals from harm and unfair treatment nationwide, and business regulation which protects the populace from monopolization and unfair business practices across state borders.
“Free speech” in Tea Party nuance means that the religious should be able to express their faith through government entities like in a public school. Support for the 2nd amendment, means all gun control laws are unconstitutional (never mind that pesky Militia part). Support for the military is support for supreme United States power, empirical status and interventionism toward the favorite enemy of the moment. “Secure borders” is all about immigration, illegal and legal, and supporting English only in all government communications and in the schools especially. Their love of country is jingoism pure and simple (extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy).
The movement and the members of the Tea Party were indeed born yesterday. But their ideas are as old and as wrong as conservatism itself. From Birthers to Gun Nuts to Pro Lifers, the Tea Partyers revel in their own justification of their conservative ideals. Despite the successful history of U.S. style liberalism they are certain they are right. They have even made their own media to further cement their right thinking ways. They now live in a bubble of right-wing media. A comfortable place for a Tea Partier to be
The world we live in is not black and white and unfortunately we do not vote by jelly beans in jars labeled with issues as the Tea Partiers might wish. We vote on a huge sundry of modern issues, some complex and some simple, using representative democracy in a republic. And unfortunately for the Tea Partiers we do not live by the literal words of the U.S. constitution, we have a Supreme Court which relates our modern day problems to solutions offered under constitutional foundation – that is clearly how the founders thought it should be.