Tea Party not all scones and crumpets

March 19, 2010 — by Mira Chaykin

Since President Obama took office last year, the United States has endured a series of ill-fated health care bills and a financial crises. All America really needs to hit the trifecta is a group of fanatical far-right wingers to step forward and denounce the government as socialist, stampeding into a full-fledged attack against the president’s authority. Luckily for Obama, the Tea Party has stepped up to the plate.

This populist movement, which draws its namesake from the famed Boston Tea Party, gained strength in 2009 as it protested government spending on health care and the stimulus package. The movement is factionalized from the lesser radicals, who call for a more constitutionally adherent government, to those who believe Obama is intent on creating a personal police force to further selfish ambitions. Included in the party’s more radical members is Joseph Stack, the so-called “Tea-Party Terrorist,” who elegantly protested taxes by flying his plane into an IRS building in Texas.
Ironically, the party members benefit from the very public spending programs they oppose. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social safety programs are not socialist projects intended to establish some kind of utopian totalitarianism. They have been instituted to protect and ensure the well-being American citizens. With record unemployment and increasingly inadequate health care coverage, the government and American citizens must support and bolster these programs, instead of ranting over tea and crumpets with Sarah Palin.
Moreover, the Tea Party vocally opposes bailouts and all forms of economic recovery involving heavy government spending. This is all well and good; however, in the absence of government stimulus, how do they propose to fix today’s severe economic slump? Well, quite simply, they don’t. The party is quick to identify problems with existing solutions, but not quite so prolific in offering their own. Such a party merely hinders political progress in our country. Bipartisan tensions are retrogressive enough without an ignorant and hopelessly confused third party to spoil the soup, or more appropriately, the tea.
The ideology of the Tea party is deeply flawed, with egregious errors spanning from its blanket acceptance of all anti-establishment and anti-federalism to a glaring lack of acknowledgement of its own platform. The party self-righteously claims to be dedicated to the Constitution, reminding us that the document was created to prevent the government from overstepping its boundaries. Yet the Tea Party failed to speak up when Americans faced challenges to their right to Habeas Corpus this past decade.
The flamboyant organization was curiously silent when American citizens’ right to privacy through illegal wiretapped was disregarded in blatant violation of the 4th amendment. Only now, after their wallets and economic prospects have been jeopardized, has the Tea Party begun to mobilize and speak out against long-standing issues. Moreover, the party members seem to have done little research and investigation into the issues they boisterously bring to America’s attention. Instead, they clamor for our attention and create unnecessary divisiveness, sanctimoniously using the defense of constitutional morality to support their claims.
But that’s not all, folks. No, the ridiculousness of the Tea party extends much further. In addition to lacking a clear focus and leadership, the party has of late begun a dangerous trend in endorsing mainstream political candidate Sarah Palin. If they lacked sufficient hypocrisy to begin with, the self-claimed nonpartisan party now unabashedly shares a bed with one of the most partisan and narrow-minded politicians in America. Moreover, the party receives considerable support from republicans on the far right and consistently helps usher Republican politicians into office.
Americans must endeavor to foster a spirit of bipartisanship and cooperation in politics in order to effect any meaningful change. However, it is entirely unnecessary and inappropriate to form a splinter coalition insane enough to advocate the formation of civilian militias to oppose the government like the Tea Party. If there is one thing that can be learned from the Tea Party, it’s a lesson from the Boston Tea Party: namely, it is time to hoist Sarah Palin and her “non-partisan” Republican cronies and heave her from the boat of domestic politics like a chest of bitter tea.

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