The Tea Party and the Mad Hatter's agenda
On a national stage, the "grassroots" TeaParty implodes under the weight of its own remarks about poor people deserving to die.
Tea Party? Will the real Mad Hatter please step forward?
Just who are these people, these tea drinkers, these partiers? When they started out, the Tea Party sure sounded like a good idea. What happened to that promising beginning, and why did it happen?
On the face of it the Tea Party appears to have evolved from its early days--and a good idea--into what it is now, a group of disgruntled grouches with the major unifying thread being their grouchiness. They are a faction, almost a political party in their own right.
In its earliest forms, The Tea Party was supposed to be more of a grassroots gathering of discontent with the status quo. It seemed to exude an innocence and a very popular sentiment for reform in government. But was it ever really that innocent child that it appeared to be? Was it ever even a legitimate grassroots movement? Was it ever just about reform? Or was there something else involved, something darker, more ominously representative of that status quo, which the Tea Partiers claimed they wanted to reform?
This week there was a marvelously revealing quote from the Republican debate, in which Tea Party members gladly and even gleefully interjected their sentiments that people should be left to die instead of receiving public funding. It was a very revealing (some said shocking) statement of callous disregard for human life, from people who claim to represent a religiously oriented base of followers. Personally, I was anything but shocked. I have known the Tea Party for what it is for several months already. Its collective extremism has become well known.
But the question for me today is, "Where did this movement begin, and who was ultimately responsible for its inception?"
The presumed gathering of Good Old Boys, with an agenda of improving the government by honing its priorities, now appears to have been a deliberately contrived façade, intended to mask the ultimate leadership of this organization. And as in any organization, it behooves not only the participants, but particularly the critics, to simply follow the money to see who is behind the scenes. For the Tea Party, following the money trail leads to some pretty impressive (spelled wealthy) financiers, making the Tea Party little beyond one of the more highly successful lobbying entities in today's political world.
Tea Party, the grassroots good-guys, have revealed themselves as Tea Party, the lobby for the retention of wealth by the wealthy.
Ever since a group of angry Tea Partiers descended upon a peaceful gathering of left-leaning MoveOn.org members in a very public State Park, and drove them out of the park (and then hounded them all the way to one of the MoveOn members' homes), I have had their number. They are radical fringe, and little more. They are a group of angry dissidents, who claim to represent the average American, but in fact represent the moneyed interests in a way that even the baseline Republican Party cannot match. They are a radical fringe with a moneyed purpose. Quite an interesting combination, really.
The Tea Party never was simply a grassroots gathering with noble intent, only to be later taken over by more radical elements. Indeed, the radicalism, itself, is a guise masking the more deeply structured traditional allegiance to money and power. The Tea Party was not taken over by these falsely identified miscreant malcontents. It was started by them. And their discontent with the status quo extends only so far as the established governmental aspects that assist those not already "in the money."
The Tea Party cannot begin to figure out the value of compromise, which is a key concept to our Democracy. They are obstinate and argumentative. They are even obtuse to a fault. And they are limited in both their scope of understanding, and their time to be a factor in the current politics of America.
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