Thursday, April 15, 2010

One lump or two?

I won't be attending this afternoon's Tea Party downtown. I don't believe in tying up Worcester's traffic in the name of confused history and 'independent' politics. Despite my (almost) constant voting record in favor of third party candidates and independents, this is a movement I won't support.

Let's be realistic. This movement would have some legitimacy if their call for financial responsibility railed against the Administrations of Reagan and Bush 43 for raising the deficit along with the Obama Administration's stimulus. Everything I read and hear from the Tea Party ignores Bush 43's signature on September 2008's TARP and places the blame on Pelosi and Reid (ignoring the Republicans who voted for the package.) Partisanship currently trumps principle among the Tea Party crowd.

If the Tea Party movement can only criticize one party and one political philosophy, then it isn't independent. Principles cross party lines and philosophies and finds the best solutions and candidates, regardless of affiliation. A truly independent movement would run their own candidates (and probably lose to the established two party system.) A truly independent movement exists regardless of electoral success, and their influence resonates throughout intra-party debates over platforms. In the case of the Tea Party, they only seem to care about invalidating the elections lost in 2006 and 2008. America's greatness exists because of peaceful electoral transitions between parties and movements, not through threats of violence, secession, and revolution because one party won control of two-thirds of our government. (Here's a hint for the Tea Partiers- checks and balances has nothing to do with balance between political parties. It's about the balance of power between the three branches of our government and limits any one branch from exerting too much power. In other words, checks and balances invalidates the Cheney philosophy of an imperial presidency.)

My other problem with the Tea Party is their resurrection of State's Rights argument. State's Rights and the 10th Amendment has been historically used to justify the continuation of slavery and Jim Crow. The 10th Amendment was rendered null by the 14th Amendment after the Civil War. Resurrecting this argument after Barack Obama's election seems like too much of a coincidence especially when combined with the racist rhetoric, ignorance, and fury coming from the fringes of the Tea Party.

It seems like the Tea Party has become a mainstay in our daily media, despite it's utter lack of electoral or mainstream success. I don't remember the Green Party, Libertarians, or even Ross Perot receiving sustained daily attention on par with the Tea Party. Giving credit to the Tea Party for Scott Brown's election completely ignores the actual results of the election. The largest swing vote in the Senate election were independent voters who voted for Obama and then voted for Brown. I doubt the Tea Party embraces anyone who shifted that quickly, and I doubt there will be many of those 'turncoats' present at Lincoln Square today.

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