The Thinker

Some Mad Hatters plan some tea parties

What’s with all these teabagging parties planned on Tax Day, April 15th? Fox “News” seems to be urging Americans — well at least their brand of “real” (read “white and conservative”) Americans — to come together for “tea parties”. The aim of these parties is to protest what they perceive as onerous new taxes enacted recently as well as express their concern about the perceived new socialist administration and congress. As I pointed out after the elections last year, these folks apparently do not know what real socialism is. To them, anything the government does to help those making under $50,000 a year is socialism.

The way Americans voted last November could not possibly be a natural reaction to the last dreadful eight years of largely Republican control. Teabaggers are greatly alarmed, not just over hikes in cigarette taxes, but also over Obama’s $3.5 trillion dollar budget. They say Obama is taking federal debt to new and stratospheric new levels.

However, all the debt accumulated before January 20, 2009 is completely forgivable, particularly the massive debts accumulated during the Bush and Reagan administrations. See, it’s good debt if it goes to national defense or to show American muscle in hellholes like Iraq. It is bad debt if money goes to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure or to give low-income working parents affordable childcare. Is that clear? It makes perfect sense to the teabaggers. The rest of us think they are worthy of derision. I will be chortling while watching their rallies on television on April 15th.

These teabaggers suffer from one common characteristic: cognitive dissonance. In their peculiar world, cutting taxes is always good. Apparently, government could function just fine with no taxes whatsoever! You can bet all the teabaggers out there, who are now so concerned about our burgeoning national debt, would be okay with more debt if they were back in charge, providing they got more juicy tax cuts and it could be used to get rid of more of the Axis of Evil, perhaps North Korea this time.

So let them congregate and wave their teabags. The right to peaceably assemble is protected in our constitution. Americans are entitled to their opinions, no matter how crazy and ill informed they are. I, along with millions of other Americans, have the right to laugh at their lunacy. Of course, if we had had some of their new found fiscal conservatism back in 2001 we would not have gone on a tax cut binge and raised the national debt up to ten trillion dollars. We could have used some of that extra tax money to fund things like bridge improvements so people did not have to fall headfirst from their cars to a watery grave in the Mississippi River. Perhaps rather than add another trillion dollars to our debt, we could have levied an Iraq War tax. Instead, our Republican Congress did what other cowardly Congresses have done and put it on the national charge card. After all, Dick Cheney told us that deficits don’t matter. What he meant to say is they don’t matter until your party is out of power and it can be used for political leverage.

Today many of these self-professed patriots want to start a new American revolution. Apparently, working through the democratic process is fine only until you become overwhelmingly marginalized. Then it is okay to have a revolution. Hence, the need for tea bag parties to allow their nut jobs to connect and perhaps actually bring about a new American revolution.

Timothy McVeigh might have fired the first shot, so to speak, when in 1993 he killed 168 people and destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Other incidents suggest some other right-wingers take revolution seriously. Just last week, a well-armed man in Pittsburgh murdered three police officers and wounded two others when police responded to a disturbance at his house. According to a friend of the alleged shooter “Pop” Poplawski, “always said that if someone tried to take his weapons away he would do what his forefathers told him to do and defend himself.” Many teabaggers are apparently convinced that President Obama wants to take away their guns, even though he has explicitly ruled it out. Teabaggers though are a paranoid bunch and are buying guns and ammunition in record numbers anyhow. Demand is so high that police are having a hard time buying ammunition.

After President Bush won reelection in 2004, many of my liberal friends including my wife made noises about moving to Canada. They were convinced America was entering a new dark age. Some of these people actually moved. Now, just four years later, some teabaggers apparently want to throw in the towel when democracy becomes inconvenient. Perhaps they could move to Alaska and join the Alaska Independence Party, like Sarah Palin’s husband. Since they are now looking at a prolonged period of being out of power, to some of them revolution is both acceptable and justified. As for us other Americans, who apparently are satisfied with the way government is now being managed, since we are wrong our opinions do not matter. It appears that the many Americans are armed to the teeth and could facilitate such a revolution if they chose. Moderating some positions to return to power is not an option.

I doubt too many teabaggers will actually take up arms, although they could inflame enough of the nutcases in their midst to cause more terrorist incidents like the Oklahoma Bombing. Some might call for a new civil war, or at least a partition where the South rises again as its own country. There taxes will always be low, gays will be kept in the closet, global warming can be blithely ignored and Ward and June Cleaver will always sleep in separate beds.

It will not happen. What will happen is that, over time, the pendulum will swing back their way again. It is inevitable. They just need to exercise some patience. This is America. One party never controls all the levers of power for long because, as Republicans proved, corruption eventually ensues. The inevitable result is a backlash. To regain power, compromising their so-called bedrock principles must happen eventually, and that will be hard for teabaggers to accept. Whites are quickly becoming a minority and nothing can stop this change in our national demographics. The Republican Party will likely evolve into a more libertarian and less religious party.

Teabag parties speak to Republicans’ political impotence, which for now is very real. Thus far, Americas are quite happy with their Democratic Congress and Administration, perhaps because they are working in the best interest of the American people for a change. We will never return to the way things were. The way things were was never the way teabaggers thought they were anyhow. We have always been a multiethnic and pluralistic culture.

The mixture in our national melting pot is changing once again in the 21st century. Political parties that hope to prosper in this century had best put down the teabags and instead start appealing to our new and changing demographic groups.

 

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