So, you are now an active member of the burgeoning Tea Party movement! Your youth is restored; you have a fervent passion for a vibrant new cause. You will be attending exciting rallies, meeting celebrities, bathing in the sun, and all the while, you are crusading for lower taxation, and a rebirth of Americanism. Perhaps in this pursuit you can become a group leader — no longer a mere foot soldier, but someone that your children can take pride in! Do you my friend have an income greater than $250,000? Is your participation in the stock market more than a casual dabbling? You have come to the right place! If you are making a living in health care, banking, in real estate, or in any number of lucrative industries, you have my full support.
But wait! Upon retirement will you really need a full monthly stipend from what you have invested in Social Security? And have you ever been unemployed to the extent that you really needed that unemployment compensation to sustain you as you prepared resumes and developed the interviewing skills necessary in the modern world? Some concerns may give us pause. Will you or your children ever struggle with disabilities that prevent you or them from sustaining yourselves; are you concerned about affordable housing? Might you at some time need subsidy if you experience the need for long years in a nursing home? The Republicans to whom you now vow your support have called the folks in some of these categories lazy, undeserving of assistance. They know that money can be saved if people “take the responsibility for themselves”. The poor may be left to struggle in the streets, and, should the panhandlers bother you, what of it? If they are no longer fed, will they resort to crime?
You shop for food, toys for your children, and for your prescription or over the counter drugs, but you know that you can trust your instincts as to the reliability and safety of these products. The government shouldn’t have to spend money to protect the consumer; what is the worst that can happen? It has been said, “let the buyer beware!”
Another consideration to ponder: with the Tea Party platform in place, we might see a restoration of unwarranted mortgages to individuals whose faith is good, but whose ability to pay is limited. Less regulation seems to equal less expense. The recent elections were to some degree defined by a promise of transparency, and accountability. They were defined too, by a vow of the parties to “reach across the aisle”; now many Republicans and Tea Party affiliates disdain accountability, and have been so obstructionist for whatever reasons as to shed concern on their regard for the very principles which they espoused.
Remember too, you have chosen a course of admiration of those who would “Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran”. The free market makes untold billions of dollars from putting young Americans in uniform, feeding them, providing them with weapons, and armored vehicles, and from tending to their wounds. The free market can profit as America moves into areas that we need to “democratize” and rebuild them, infrastructure, schools, the very buildings that our artillery has destroyed. Corporations will thrive, but will you?
The Tea Party has gone to unprecedented lengths to preserve the ability of corporations to determine the course of our future. Will a politician in the modern world oppose placing guns in the hands of citizens, when by supporting the gun lobbyists, his election is assured? Statistics have proven over and over that a gun in a man’s home is far more likely to kill or injure a family member than it is to prevent any intrusion, but still, the lobbyists want you to own such firearms.
Recent trends include the ability of foreign nations to contribute to the special interest war chest. This doesn’t include only Greece, or China, now a valuable ally; it also includes Arab nations, some of whom are terrorist friendly. There was a time in our history when politicians voted the will of the people, and permitted wisdom to enter in favor of those constituents who may not have the time to study legislation. Today the voting of politicians seems shameless and certainly not in keeping with the view of the founding fathers.
Some Tea Party candidates have been we know outspoken in their disregard for Negroes, Hispanics, …all minorities. This comes at a time when minorities were beginning to relax after decades of frustration. Do we need a return to the hatred and fear of the 30′s, the 40′s, and the 50′s?
If the press chooses to call your attention to these matters that I herein have broached, then might we restrain the press? Sarah Palin was opposed to freedoms of publication before you or I ever heard her name. Freedom of expression is an American tradition; it may be unique in the world. Is there anything to gain by moving away from these high-minded values?
School children in remote areas of America should not be taught perhaps, the usual routine; if a group of pastors or radical educators chooses to favor Creationism to evolution, who is to say they are wrong? Some educators would change the perception of those who brought slaves to America. Our very history seems subject to change. The preemptive strike on Iraq might be reconstructed for future generations. In all these cases, the local politicians in the Tea Party view can determine what will be right for the local community; the federal government they insist should be disallowed from interfering. And in similar discussion, why should students be allowed to believe that a recent Republican administration permitted the torture of those accused of crimes, when they might as easily be persuaded that that administration ended such torture? That change to the view of recent history comes from now Republican candidate for the Presidency, former Ambassador John Bolton. History is easy to rewrite. It is not so easy to see the consequences of this rewriting down the road.
So, you are attending rallies, and being made to feel important, not by reason perhaps, but you do perceive the strong emotion of the Tea Party leaders. You believe you are doing the right thing. Who is to say? The future rests on today’s decisions. Change should be well thought out, and not hastily embraced.