Mr. Grimes, who receives Social Security, has filled the back seat of his Mercury Grand Marquis with the literature of the movement, including Glenn Beck’s “Arguing With Idiots” and Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law,” which denounces public benefits as “false philanthropy.”…. “If you quit giving people that stuff, they would figure out how to do it on their own,” Mr. Grimes said.
Lest you harbor any doubts about the true silliness and hypocrisy that is the Tea Party, allow me to offer for your consideration one Tom Grimes, a financial consultant who lost his job 15 months ago. Granted, I’m also currently unemployed, so while I share at least a modicum of common cause with Grimes, we part ways early in the journey. Like so many in the Tea party movement, Grimes has no problem using government programs when it serves his purpose. When a program has no direct benefit for him, however, suddenly it’s evidence of government tyranny and the evil hand of that Kenyan socialist, Barack Obama. The hypocrisy is almost palpable, and the ignorance of reality borders on laughable. Grimes expects his Social Security to arrive as promised, and you know he’d be screaming from here to Friday if those payments were to cease. He, and so many others, whine about “government-run health care”, and yet who would be the first to man the barricades if Medicare went the way of the buffalo? And what is Medicare if not “government-run health care”? Grimes, like so many teabaggers, ignores the realities that don’t fit with his prejudices, and twist what reality is left into something virtually unrecognizable. That’s not ideology; that’s hypocrisy- pure, simple, and plain as the day is long.
I’m not here to deride the ideas of the Tea Party, though it is a target-rich environment. This country needs a functional, reasonable, and SANE opposition. Dissent is, and has been, the hallmark of American democracy since the very beginning. The problem with the Tea Party is that you simply can’t have a civil discussion with people whose idea of debate is to scream at you. You can’t talk with people so intellectually dishonest and so thoroughly ill-informed. Fundamentalism has been defined as the sound of a mind slamming shut; the same could be said for the Tea Party movement. How can one hope to engage in a fruitful exchange of ideas with people so thoroughly steeped in racism, ignorance, and vile propaganda? If you honestly believe that Barack Obama is a Socialist, if you believe that he’s not a,n American citizen, and/or if you’ve convinced yourself that he’s a Muslim…well, I truly feel sorry for you, because you’re beyond hope. If you believe any or all of those things, you truly are too stupid for words, and there’s simply no way that a reasonable person is going to be able or willing to debate anything with you.
The sad thing is that I really would like to see a rational discussion take place with the Tea Party participating. We might learn something from one another. Lose the volume, the bile, the racism, the ugly propaganda, and the silliness…and, well, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon, is it?
I realize that no self-respecting member of the Tea Party will give a tinker’s damn about anything I have to say or stand for, but that’s never stopped me from offering my two cents. So, if you’re a member of the Tea Party and you want to know what your movement has become a national laughing stock…well, here’s your sign (apologies to Bill Engvall)….
Your signs demand to know why government isn’t paying attention to you…yet you ignore the reality that you’re a pronounced minority. You may or may not have bothered to notice, but Barack Obama was elected President in November, 2006 with 53% of the votes cast nationwide. “Majority rules” is still the way things work in this country…and you are not in the majority. No one’s ignoring you…how could you be missed? You’re screaming like banshees, holding up signs with ridiculous and offensive slogans, and carrying pictures portraying Barack Obama as Adolf Hitler. No, you’re not being ignored, but no reasonable person is going to take any of y’all seriously. As long as you embrace people like Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and Steve King as prophets, you’re destined to remain fodder for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert…and you deserve nothing more.
IF you want to be taken seriously, if you want to have a place at the table, then try shutting up for awhile. Figure out how to co-exist. In case you might have missed it, America is a melting pot. We’re composed of many different creeds, colors, and ideologies. Yours is no more or less worthy than any other. Being White, loud, and racist doesn’t mean that this is your country any more (or less) than it’s mine. You have every right to participate in the political process; what you DON’T have is the right to be taken seriously. That you earn by calmly and rationally explaining what you stand for and trying to convince Americans of the correctness of your cause. Screaming about “watering the tree of Liberty” only makes you look like the off-your-meds wackjobs you are.
This country is better when it has two (or more) rational, reasonable political parties. Currently, Democrats are the only party that could possibly fit that description. While I’m a proud Liberal Democrat, I’m also a realist. Having only one lucid, rational party is not a recipe for success. America needs people who are willing to examine issues from different perspectives and viewpoints. We may think we have the answers, but that’s not always the case. The George W. Bush years can be taken as proof of what can happen when arrogance and self-righteousness are allowed to flourish unchecked. It’s not a recipe for a healthy democracy.
Despite what y’all might think, I WANT your Tea Party to flourish. I WANT a rational, lucid opposition party in America. Competition keeps all of us sharp and focused on becoming the best we can be…because we’re really all on the same team. We’re all Americans. We all want the best for the country we love. Honestly, though, screaming, vitriol, and racism is no way to get there. As long as all y’all insist on relying on hatred, aggressive ignorance, and vile propaganda, the Tea Party has no hope of becoming anything more than a tiresome voice for division and conflict. The louder you yell, the less people like me care to hear. Eventually, you will (deservedly) be little more than a motley collection of angry, frightened racists in the middle of the Nevada desert, screaming about…well, no one will really care.
Y’all can and will do what you will, of course. I doubt that any advice I have to offer will matter those of you already absolutely convinced of your own moral and ideological superiority. If you believe that White (and heavily armed) Makes Right…well, there’s really no hope for you. I can only hope that your movement eventually burns out from inability to maintain the currently world-class level of rage, hate, and lunacy. Y’all are crazy.
WE DESERVE BETTER.