Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party


Leave Captain America out of it…

This photo was on HuffPo representing a tea party rally.  I must respectfully ask that tea party people please stick to the tri-corner hat costumes and leave the superheros out of it.  Captain America would probably come down on the Republican side, but he is no tea party guy.  He is straight-laced but compassionate.

The photo caught my eye, but the article was worth reading.

Hope the exit polls and AP polls they are citing are good surveys… if so it is promising to think that only 30 percent of adults are supporters of the tea party crowd – but that 60 percent of Republicans align with the tea party. If the Republican party shifts hard right to please that 60%, then the 70% of adults not supportive of the tea party can regain ground and perhaps quiet down some of the yelling. Although, that 30% sure makes for good TV…


The American Fundamentalist – Tea Partyism

More reading material. I found the article by Andrew Romano in this week’s Newsweek, America’s Holy Writ, a nice summary of the Tea Party phenomenon. Follow the link for the story (Newsweek needs the support).

Exploring the Tea Party through the lens of fundamentalism is instructive. While many of the Tea Party group may be religious fundamentalist, that is not the point here. Their fundamentalism is based on the “scripture” of the constitution. It goes beyond strict constructionist thought or even the worship of the document. It is that there interpretation is correct and static. Or, as the article puts it: “Like other fundamentalists, they seek refuge from the complexity and confusion of modern life in the comforting embrace of an authoritarian scripture and the imagined past it supposedly represents. Like other fundamentalists, they see in their good book only what they want to see: confirmation of their preexisting beliefs. Like other fundamentalists, they don’t sweat the details, and they ignore all ambiguities. And like other fundamentalists, they make enemies or evildoers of those who disagree with their doctrine.”

That is the aha moment for me. It is like any religious fundamentalist. We know best. We have the answers. If you don’t understand, we will explain it to you. When you talk to a fundamentalist Christian, you are not going to change their mind, or even have a discussion on any issue. They have the answers right in the book in their hand. The earth is 6,000 years old. God just planted those dinosaur bones as a joke on scientist. They can tell you that their God is love while Allah is hate – while holding a book that expressly tells stories of their God telling his people to go and slaughter everyone in a city. They eat shrimp, they don’t own slaves nor do they stone anyone. But, they know that every word is the word of God. In the fundamentalist world, they don’t have to think about it anymore.

In this view, I can see the Tea Partiers as filled with fervor rather than just hate. It is no less alarming, though. They are a loud and offer something soothing: black and white answers, absolutism, a romanticized vision of the past. But, just as god, any god, would not create a human with a brain and then ask them not to use it, I don’t think the Founders thought they had created the end all, be all of a constitution. If they had, they wouldn’t have made room for amendments. Mr. Romano ends his article by quoting several lines from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote to Samuel Kercheval in 1816. While in the confines of an article his clips serve, I think a fuller quote is even more interesting. (My emphasis added.)

“Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the arc of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book reading; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the dead. I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind.
As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors. It is this preposterous idea which has lately deluged Europe in blood.”



God help us

I was depressed this morning. Sometimes it seems that everyone has gone mad. I saw a clip of Glenn Beck barking at a video of the President talking about the stimulus, saying it was time “we took back the country”. (Never mind that the report on the stimulus is that it has worked, not perfectly, but the 2 million people working because of it probably think it is working ok. Even the Wall Street Journal reported its achievement.) I watched a Teabagger in Washington state say that she wanted to hang a senator – the message to rise up and take back the country. Yesterday I read the comment of former representative Tom Tancredo saying we should have literacy tests before people could vote and “This is our country. Let’s take it back.” These were the things on my mind when I heard that a plane crashed into a building in Austin. My first thought was of the OKC Bombing and my second was “please let it be an accident”. As the reports come out, still many unconfirmed by authorities, it appears this was an act of domestic terrorism. Amazingly, it appears the pilot is the only fatality.

How much did the shrill, hateful and hyperbolic ranting mood that seems to engulf our media, if not really the country, contribute to his deciding to do this? Is any, one, yelling talking head culpable? Can we call out Beck? Can we call out Roger Ailes for his disregard for facts in favor of tabloid journalism and overblown commentary? What about Palin and her ilk running for future office by playing to the angry mob? What about Rick Perry and his flirting comment about secession?

Or do we have to look no further than ourselves. All of us too busy to pay attention. All of us unwilling to truly participate in our own government. All of us as a whole who wish to pay no price for all the services that we want and then look away in disgust as the politicians tell us exactly what we want to hear. Do we have to look no further than our infantile culture.