Leaning to the Left

Writing from a liberal persuasion

Posts Tagged ‘tea party’

The Problem Behind Tea Parties

Posted by Beau Winiger on April 16, 2009

Yesterday citizens all around this country gathered to protest at Tea Parties. The target of these protests ranged from taxation to government spending to state rights to socialism to Obama is Hitler. At first glance these protests might seem to be unworthy of serious cause for concern given the easily refuted nature of the protester’s causes. Taxes have gone down for most Americans, and the highest tax bracket is now taxed at a rate of 10% less than under Ronald Reagan. Furthermore, America has been a part socialist state for some time now, and to act as if Obama has brought about socialism is to show a willful ignorance of history. If you wish to stop socialism in America you had better be willing to explain to the seniors of this nation that Medicare won’t be there for them, and I don’t see many conservatives lining up for that job. Finally, it is hard to take the outrage of protesters seriously when these are the same people that stood by George W. Bush’s side as he greatly expanded the scope of the government, trampled the rights of Americans, and ran America into the largest deficit in history.
The true threat of these tea parties, and the movement that is propelling them, is revealed once you get past the issues that serve as the false front. These parties had more than their fair share of people who still believe President Obama was not born in America, people that believe he is the new Hitler as well as a Socialist anti-Christ (being both fascist and socialist is quite the feat), the same sort of people that were calling for him to be assassinated at Republican rallies during the election. Gov. Perry (R-TX) has made statements supporting secession, and this idea is popular among Texans despite the seeming infeasibility of an independent Republic of Texas.
Of course, there is always a fringe element to any cause, both left and right. The majority of conservatives are not radicals that believe Obama is Hitler, just as the majority of liberals are not radicals that believe Bush is Hitler. It is an inevitable consequence of causes that there are fringe groups. The danger apparent for the Republican Party is that they are allowing these fringe and radical groups to speak for them, to be their loudest voice. Radical elements in a political movement are only valuable when they have a counterbalance, and the Republican Party is absent that crucial balance.
Although there might be some liberals that would see the death of the mainstream Republican Party as a blessing, the growing fringe base of the Republican Party is driven by fear, and that makes it extremely dangerous. The times we live in are scary, there is no denying that, but when you have leaders whipping up support based solely on fear of terrorism, economic collapse, immigration, etc. there is no time for questions, for thought. One need look no further back then the Bush presidency to see the disastrous consequences of unreasoned reaction as leadership. For the sake of this country I hope that someone in the conservative movement has the integrity to stand up and ask people to question what they are hearing, not just from the left but from the right as well.

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