#781 – Dick Bernard: The Tea Party, Anger and "Freedom"
Out of curiosity, I checked to see when the words “Tea Party” first became part of my vocabulary on this blog.
The answer: April 15, 2009: “Today is Tax Day, April 15, 2009, the annual celebration of the loathing of taxes. This day there will be a new spin on an old theme: “Tea Parties”, apparently well organized and heavily publicized by certain media (thus, not spontaneous “breaking news”), and supposedly grassroots protests against the tyranny of “taxation [with] representation”, in the model of the Boston Tea Party of December 16, 1773.”
It was my 7th blog post.
That post has been followed by 72 others including those two words, the most recent this one. That’s nine percent of my total blogs. I’ve paid personal attention to this angry rabble which has become so dominant in the American political conversation, most recently with the threatened government shutdown about to happen – perhaps – in Washington.
Scrolling through the subject headings of those 73 blog posts there is pattern of topics that only someone completely politically unengaged would not have noticed in the last four years; issues marinated in anger; an impulse to attack anything with even the slightest attachment to government, at least, aspects of government they don’t like.
The movement has been very successful. Here’s a brief history. At this moment, a small minority of the U.S. government is controlling actions there, and these are people who have no interest in the essence of government, the part which requires compromise. In fact, they detest government.
The Tea Parties greatest strength is our greatest vulnerability as a nation: it is unfocused, a rabble of fragments, and runs perfectly well completely on emotion. Facts and context are irrelevant. Tea Partiers tend to operate by soundbites, tunnel vision prevails, all that is important is winning, now.
We had a tea party Congresswoman here for several years. Michele Bachmann is still the Congresswoman, lives in our district, but is now Congresswoman in another district and there is a strong Tea Party Republican presence in my town.
So, the Tea Party is not an abstract entity to me.
Their local leaders are typically loud-mouthed bullies, usually big men with domineering demeanors. They are difficult to take on, but as is true with any bully, if confronted, they back off.
The “Tea Party”? Presently a pretty powerful engine, with no pilot and no rudder. We’re among the passengers, and unregulated, there’s a wreck ahead.
We can only hope some common sense prevails.
We’ll soon see.
(see also on-line comments)
from Jeff P, Oct 1: Yes sir.
from Peter B, Oct 2: What seems to be missing from the entire “Tea Party” conversation is some assessment of its design function. The design function of a car is to carry people on roads from place to place. You would not use it for a house unless it were ruined as a car (or there was no gas anywhere). By the same logic, the wars, invasions and occupations in the Middle East have a design function, which is to be seen in the results: smoldering ruins and social breakdown, leaving countries wide open to plunder by the extraction industries who profited most.
The same strategy is being applied at home now. Remember the “Sequester?” What was done about it, except to quietly exempt certain functions useful to Empire? Nothing. Life got very much harder as a result, and it is not being repaired. The wave of municipal bankruptcies, cutbacks and collapses, both physical and economic, has swept across the country leaving homeless, destitute people in its aftermath. While politicians feigned helplessness, this was the result they produced, and I assert it was a successful operation conducted by their paymasters.
In the case of the “Tea Party,” what has happened? Wacky, reactionary, under-educated and misinformed “grass-roots” people have gotten a significant chunk of legislative power – at least, power to gum up the works – and have now “shut down the government.” But that was the whole idea in the first place. Whose idea? We must ask ourselves, who benefits from a disabled Congress?
Can there be any doubt now who has perpetrated this crime? It is an implementation of a very old strategy that has brought down many a government, notably the German government before the Second World War, but scholars could probably identify it in Roman times. The monied interests behind this “movement” don’t care a rip what form its antics take, as long as the Legislative Branch is totally disabled. Unless the perpetrators are branded as what they really are and brought to justice, it will play out as it always has. The country has been sold out, and so far, there doesn’t seem to be any way to stop this.
Some time ago, corporations, particularly financial institutions, acquired more actual, temporal power than any government on the planet. They are flexing this muscle, as the new governing system on Earth. The old governments work for them, are owned by them, and for generations, the US military has done their dirty work (read Gen. Smedley Butler’s potent little book, “War Is A Racket” for a basic education.)
After knowingly precipitating global environmental catastrophe that is now undeniable, the banking and corporate cartels know they are liable for compounding disasters on every front, from the economy to the dying oceans. Effective, rational legislative remedies for the multiple looming catastrophes we now face would require at least capping the size and power of corporations, if not revoking the power to create money from the tiny number of families who have actually controlled this function for so many years. If the cartels don’t destroy the Legislative Branch now, they see reason to fear that their feeding frenzy will come to a halt pretty soon. And then, never mind a slight drop in profits: they might be on the hook.
The cartels are going to stop at nothing. We are in a very serious process. It is happening across the board, and it began quite a long time ago. I call it “Neo-Feudalism,” but there really is not that much that’s “neo” about it. We will, or will not, know about the spectacular amount of suffering going on while our world is re-configured. Much of the process happened decades ago. But make no mistake, life is not going to return to anything like what we were used to.
All Americans have been taken hostage by a few radical right leaders. You called it right, but calling them “bullies”. Unless the more moderate politicians and the business community rise up against these “bullies” we may in for a long impasse.