Monday’s NY Times (a corporation that never needed the SCOTUS for official permission to be involved in politics) ran a story on the Tea Party movement (probably because of Sarah Palin speaking at their convention last week).
Besides predictably highlighting the more militant gringo-jingo elements of the movement, the story serves notice that the movement has hit critical mass, propelling even my favorite music reviewer Mark Prindle into doing his little left-leaning heart proud by writing in Facebook “If you don’t believe that living in a free society is worth paying taxes, then GET THE HELL OUT OF MY COUNTRY!” before wishing the proposed budget defecit wasn’t so big.
Me? My reaction to first hearing of the movement early last year was one of cynicism. The previous administration did unconstitutional things aplenty that went by with nary a peep from this particular crowd.
And the crowd that actually was doing the peeping back in the Days of Bush, as spearheaded by moveon.org, has now set its sights on pushing for the public option in healthcare reform, despite the fact that the war continues in Iraq and is now ramping up in Afghanistan.
So it’s all about whether the guy has an R or a D next to his name. Hooray for our side, leave all principles at the door.
On the one hand I’m happy to see any public sentiment pushing toward personal liberty and free markets (something the government itself hasn’t even tried to do in about 15 years), and on the other there’s the stark reality in knowing that Big Government Republicans will happily co-opt the sentiment to win elections (see Massachusetts last month). I’m still cynical.
And then Sarah Palin urges the Tea Party movement to pick a party? Nope, she doesn’t get it. So why in hell did she get invited?
And I’m really off-put by people calling for civil wars (I’ll fight if I have to, but don’t expect me to fire the first shot), Obama birthers, and the whole white power/John Birch element that has attached itself to all this as far back as when Ron Paul was running for POTUS. Almost as much as I am off-put by left wing dunderheads that wear Che Guevara t-shirts and 9/11 truthers.
Urging economic freedom and going back to the market is a good start. But wonder if I’d go over well at some of these meetups advocating a non-interventionist foreign policy (including an immediate worldwide troop withdrawal), the legalization of drugs and an open border (of which my otherwise best hope, Ron Paul, gets it wrong). Not many parties (tea or otherwise) that claim to truly stand for individual rights and responsiblity will go for this package.
So I’ll just keep doing what I’ve always been doing: giving to and participating in the email campaigns of Downsize DC. Rs and Ds don’t mean crap there. We’re equal opportunity holders of fires to Congress’ collective feet.
Their signature issue is the Read the Bills Act, a bill that would deliver the transparency most politicians falsely promise. There are plenty more issues where that one came from.
It’s my kind of party, and I’ve been there since before the tea was brewed.