There is a relatively new political movement mobilizing in the right wing and I’m apprehensive.
The movement, like the Republican platform, protests “excessive government spending and taxation” and has a literal interpretation of the Constitution. They cite three core values they feel should guide public policy: fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government and free markets.
I understand fiscal responsibility. The phrases “constitutionally limited government” and “free markets” throw me.
The movement kicked off on the heels of what is one of the worst financial disasters faced by our country. The Obama administration issued the stimulus package because of the collapse of Wall Street in 2008 that was largely the result of unregulated and unchecked financial markets.
The Tea Partiers oppose government intervention in our free market, but this is exactly what got the country in to financial trouble in the first place on Wall Street.
The movement protested the increase in our national debt due to the stimulus package, bailout money paid to the banks and subsequent monster bonuses to corporate elite employees that followed.
This fiasco proves that we need some regulation and assessment in the financial industry and this is one of the purposes of government. Yet, the Tea Party sees this as an infringement by “big” government.
Tea Partiers feel that any solution by big government is bad, especially if it costs money. How this undermined our liberties, I am not sure, as big banks and investors were able to undermine the financial freedom and security of so many Americans.
This is a big mess to clean up; the bigger the mess, the longer it will take. But, movement on financial policies is happening in Washington, D.C., it’s just coming slowly.
The House churned out revised legislation on lending late last year. This will hopefully prevent another market disaster. It is now in the hands of the Senate Banking Committee.
There is a jobs bill being bounced around the Senate and Obama wants some of the TARP funds released to help small business regain their foothold.
The Tea Partiers are capitalizing on the anger and fear of Americans who feel the results aren’t coming fast enough.
Moreover, the talking Tea Party heads seem dangerous to me. Party leader Mark Williams illustrates this better than I can explain it.
Williams resorted to a proven tactic from grade schools across the country: name-calling. On his blog, he called President Obama “an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief.”
When asked, in a television interview, if he really thought that Obama was racist, Williams replied, “He’s certainly acting like it. Until he embraces the whole country, what else can I conclude?”
The Tea Party uses negative banter and aggression to rally the conservative base. This is no way to make progressive change. This single-handedly erases the idea of unity and bi-partisanship.
The government and American people need civilized, organized debate. The good thing is the Tea Party does bring energy, passion and the occasional viable issue for such a discussion, but it’s muddled with name-calling and cheap shots. For example, we can do without Palin’s taunting with her “hopey-changey” phrase in her keynote speech at the recent Tea Party convention in Nashville, mocking Obama’s campaign slogan, but in a way that only four-year-olds would have understood.
Many protesters are upset with the financial state of affairs and this is justifiable. They have the right to a voice. Sadly, this voice is minimized when Williams or Palin make inane statements that rise above the din.
“Let’s stand up and take our country back,” say the Tea Partiers. However, the movement does not concern itself with viable solutions to what they perceive are problems. The only solution I am aware of is their action plan of voting in the most conservative government officials possible.
The process begins with rallies and members educating attendees how to get themselves, or others, on the Republican ballot in county elections. Senior members will also help them devise their campaign strategy and message.
This constructed message is incredibly compliant with the intention of our founding fathers, which, they say, upholds their three core beliefs. But instead of coming to the middle of the issues, they stand against the furthest right wall and and use their message to feed into the fanaticism and emotional hook they have in many Americans.
What they‘re putting forward is not practical with regard to the financial sector. We have tried unfettered capitalism and it nearly collapsed.
On the other end, the alleged socialism from the Obama camp is not practical either; communism failed long ago.
So here we are with the Tea Party yelling about big government and the problems with the current administration. They will continue to beat their drums until elections, but it’s unlikely there is anything they can do if elected. In the meantime, go ahead and beat your drum.