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TEA PARTY EVALUATION FINAL

VIEWS: 6 PAGES: 3

									TEA PARTY EVALUATION
Jason D. Jordan
Friday September 2nd 2011


    What began with one noble mission outlined by the acronym in their name Taxed
Enough Already (lower taxes) has been corrupted by every single interest on the right
hand of the political spectrum. First it was the second amendment crowd, and then it was
mainstream Republicans who wanted to keep the party from fracturing. Then big
business got in on the act, and The TEA Party became something that was no better than
those at whom they were aiming their holier than thou attitudes towards. I never hated
what the TEA Party was, but I cannot believe it has lasted this long and there are so many
hangers on after the corruption of its platform became evident. This corporate take over
of the Party kept them from becoming a widely accepted populist movement, and instead
further hardened the opposition.

   There has been a complete lack of control over their overall message since its
inception. The primary problem is that there has been no clear leader or voice of the TEA
Party from the beginning, just an amalgamation of self interested people with ulterior
motives who are constantly trying to deify themselves by running down their opponents.
The TEA Party as is exists today owes its popularity not to the issues they support, not to
good solid organizing tactics, but to the hatred of Democrats.

   Much of my problem with the TEA Party is based in their portrayal in the media.
Organizing around the: anybody but Obama slogan, signs that show President Obama as
Hitler or threaten his life are inappropriate. However, Fox News pundits will defend it to
the death as Freedom of Speech. While a rally of organized labor constitutes a dangerous
exercise in Communism which aims to incite class warfare and threatens the very fabric
of America. It all reminds me of the 1960s when Democrats were demonized as reefer
smoking, head in the clouds, dirty anarchist hippies. I am not saying that the TEA Party
and what it stands for as a whole is racist or bigoted. What I am saying is that it is not
very well thought out and I think purposefully leaves out or alienates a lot of people when
considering their platform including many who back them. The plain and simple truth is
that most people have no idea what they are getting behind, all they know is that they’re
mad and that is no way to organize.

   Those who believe that the TEA Party and its rallies are full of diversity have a very
narrow idea of what America is and should be. Sure, there will be one or two ex-
Democrats upset by a single issue who have lost sight of the big picture at Tea Party
events, others show up to counter-protest or to fulfill their curiosity. They use the TEA
Party moniker and calling themselves patriots to popularize the hatred of specific
government institutions and opposing parties. Some organizers knowingly used and
exploited the void left by the defunct birther and Obama is a Muslim conspiracy theories
which were outwardly and unapologetically racist on many levels. For me even one racist
or classist epithet (By organizers and guest speakers, not bystanders) at a rally is one too
many. For supporters to insist that the flying of rebel flags, the talk of secession, and
dehumanizing people who are recipients of public assistance is not bigoted is
disingenuous.

    I also find it ironic that many people who rely whole hog on public assistance claim to
support the TEA Party. At a recent rally I spoke to one gentleman in his late forties or
fifties. I asked him what he did for a living, making small talk. He said that he drove a
truck for a construction company. He was now recovering from his third heart attack and
unable to work. He, along with many other people in the crowd that day had forgotten
exactly who and what was paying for the care they otherwise could not pay for, and the
people they were backing for office intended to alter or eliminate those programs.

   While a student at Syracuse University in March 2010 the TEA Party Express tour
rolled into town and I decided to go. I was considering a run for public office at the time
and wanted to see what the fuss was all about. If their message was solely about fiscal
conservatism I probably would have gotten on board. As I mingled with the crowd
talking national politics nearly everyone said I don't care who the next president is as
long as it’s not that damned Obama. At that point the debate of Healthcare Reform was
beginning to heat up, and people were choosing sides. A group of about 150 Democrats
organized on the other side of the park in support of the President. They hailed passing
motorists, and they honked their horns in response to signs favoring the President. They
got harassed and cussed out by some of the TEA Partiers for their counter gathering. This
incident further cemented in my mind the idea that these people at least in part were
purposefully confrontational; an attitude that seemed to be exemplified by the politicians
representing them. Their Our way or the highway ultimatum didn’t play well during the
summer debt ceiling debate.

    The House TEA Party Caucus led by Presidential Candidate Michelle Bachmann has
perverted their supporters message to justify attacking the big 3 government programs
which 80% of people (including many professed TEA Partiers) say they want to preserve
as is. They believe that by cutting spending they can lower taxes across the board and
thereby create jobs. Sounds good in theory, but in practice not so much. I have already
levied my opinion on this stance many times in the past, and to sum it up briefly. . . The
health of big business and the availability of capital to big business is no longer attached
to the creation of jobs. Big business will continue to find reasons to sit on their money
instead of reinvesting in American labor. Start ups and companies in their first 5 years
naturally have the most incentive to hire. It takes more people to climb a mountain than it
does to stand at the top and pat yourself on the back. The problem is not Medicare and
Medicaid. The rising costs of care which are inflated by HMOs and insurance companies
who only offer a fraction of the cost of care, and pass the buck to those without insurance
who rely on government paid care. Hospitals also take advantage of Medicare by running
unnecessary tests on patients because it is a pure profit enterprise. All things that are
addressed by the TEA Party dreaded Obama care; and these facts are not a big secret.
Prime time hospital dramas mock that fact week in and week out.

   The TEA Party began with good intentions and a moral direction. However, people
armed only with good intentions stand no chance against an army of experienced political
organizers and business interests who are perpetually looking for the next hot ticket.
Because of this I see no longer see value in the TEA Party and see no reason for people to
continue hanging on to a once noble dream now deferred by power, money, and undue
influence.

								
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