The October 15 issue of Rolling Stone includes a nice little article which explores the tangle of internal inconsistencies, pure irrationalities, simmering hypocrisies, and just plain random folly of the ultimately elusive Tea Party “ideology” (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/210904?RS_show_page=0). The Kentucky seniors community, many blithely mounted on Medicare funded scooters or sucking on Medicare funded oxygen tanks, raptly worshiping at the anti-government alter while suckling at government’s teat; Rand Paul followers not batting an eye at their candidate, who wants to cut every government program but is indignant that the government might cut Medicaid payments to doctors such as himself, because, after all, “physicians should be allowed to make a comfortable living”; the life-long government employee who thinks it’s okay that he’s taken money from the government all his life (but that it’s not okay for anyone else to) because he doesn’t earn too much. All willing to take their share of the pie, but all eager to deny it to those far more in need.
But the author sums this mess up with a very cogent observation: The Tea Party isn’t really about issues; it’s about “us-versus-them,” about opposing those out-group members that they revile because they revile them, those “socialists” who are somehow inchoately evil and committed to a policy that will cause all that is good and holy to shrivel up and blow away. They are about “taking back their country” from whoever stole it, from whoever contributed to the discovery of electricity and the freeing of the slaves and the relative equality of women and, most of all, the invention of Velcro. It’s just blind, irrational, angry, ignorant rage. And it’s coming to a theater of culture war near you.
The phrase is mine, of course. President Obama wouldn’t, and couldn’t, use it. But in his recent, candid interview in Rolling Stone magazine (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/17390/209395), President Obama very cogently captured the essence of the dilemma: The current divide between a Democratic Party primarily (though not universally), and in its leadership, characterized by a sincere desire to get it right, to pass the laws which best serve the interests of the American people, against a Republican Party primarily (though not universally), and in its leadership, characterized by a cynical willingness to act in ways which purposely harm the American people in order to be able to blame it on the Democrats who are currently in power, and win an electoral victory this year as a result.
There are two groups to be strongly rebuked in this narrative: The Republican Party, which has demonstrated its single-minded commitment to acquiring and retaining power, in order to serve the interests of the wealthiest Americans and continue the historically record-breaking concentration of American wealth into fewer and fewer hands (http://coloradoconfluence.com/?p=548); and the majority of the populace itself, which allowed itself to be a puppet on these bastards’ strings, blaming the president and the Democrats in Congress for the Republican obstructionism designed to accomplish exactly that end, at the expense of the American people themselves.
It’s time to side decisively with reasonable people of goodwill, in whatever political party they are found, with whatever ideological predispositions they may have. And it’s time to relegate these cynical enemies of the public interest, most resoundingly exemplified by the current Republican leadership and their fellow-travelers, to the dustbin of history, once and for all.