Everything old is new again! Like fashions and disco music, some Americans have revived one of our old political parties, the Know Nothing Party, later renamed the Native American Party and then simply the American Party. It’s been renamed yet again, now the Tea Party. Like the original Know Nothings, today’s Tea Partiers have latched onto immigration as one of their their good-versus-evil issues, with the immigrants of course being cast as the evil ones by these right-thinking sons and daughters of immigrants, who want to relocate the Great Wall of China to Arizona. Go figure.
The original “evil immigrants” that so upset the Know Nothings were Irish and Germans, who came to America in droves between 1830 and 1860, bringing their Catholic religion with them, which many American Protestants feared even though they lived in a nation that kept religion a private affair by law, so private that more than a few of our early presidents were not affiliated with any church at all, something that would be unthinkable in today’s God-charged political climate.
These days we have all sorts of Christian Fascists gravitating to the Tea Party and claiming all sorts of divine rights to make rules for everybody else, not different at all from the sort of people America is fighting in wars both hot and cold all over the world, the Muslim extremists who would spread Islam and Sharia law globally. Like their Christian Fascist brethren, their calling cards are fear and hate. These mullahs and Imams are your basic garden variety would-be tyrants who don’t let their own intellectual shortcomings get in the way of their grand ambitions.
They simply play to the dumb ones in the audience, those with no skills or much of a work ethic, an easy crew to rile up, then make a lot whole lot of noise, figuring that louder means better. So far they are still searching for a second act after blowing up the World Trade Center and starting a global war on extremism. Apparently that was the extent of their planning, noise and death on a grand scale for their own sake.
Not exactly a coherent political philosophy, but one that has the attention of the entire world. To the bin Ladens of this world, knocking down the two biggest towers in the capital of the world automatically makes you a political genius leading a popular movement, even though that act brought hellfire and destruction on the Medieval nation of Afghanistan that gave him sanctuary and a base of operations. Since that day, bin Laden’s “operations” have consisted of hiding in the barren mountain wastes of South Asia and moving quite frequently, occasionally making video tapes outlining his “plans” to conquer America.
Our own religious extremists are also a set of jackasses, priding themselves on not knowing a damned thing about the American political process, the Bill of Rights or the United States Constitution. They only know that they want what they want and they want it now, never mind how things actually get done in America. Oh, and they also think paying taxes is evil and say so quite loudly as they crisscross the nation on taxpayer-built roads under the protection of taxpayer-paid law enforcement agencies.
And, bless their hearts, just like the original Know Nothings, they seek to demonize other people’s religions while acting like demons themselves. Just like the mullahs and the bin Ladens, they play to the dumbest of Americans, those too stupid to realize that the party they supported for 8 years under Shotgun Dick Cheney is the party responsible for most of the misery in America today, people so stupid that they support every measure designed to keep this nation a nation of haves and have-nots.
These dunderheads regularly vote against their own interests and support treasonous laws like the Patriot Act, forgetting that taking away the sacred protections of the Bill of Rights from “them” also takes it away from “us.” They insist that rich people shouldn’t have to pay their fair share of taxes to the nation that made them rich, the same sort of rich people who sold their jobs overseas and sold them a scam mortgage, and wouldn’t be caught dead rubbing elbows with them after they are finished issuing their marching orders from the podium.
This “People’s Movement” is a lot like another people’s movement in the 1960’s, with irritating and childish assholes like the Yippy Party spouting all sorts of gibberish that made a serious movement against an unnecessary war in Vietnam somehow appear ridiculous. Reasonable voices were drowned out by ignorant clowns with more slogans than solutions. The fact that the Yippies coupled sane political questions with a call to get stoned on drugs sort of put a crimp in any plans they might have had to get anything done.
Martin Luther King was correct to distance his Civil Rights Movement from these hippy clowns and the equally ridiculous and militant Black Panther Party. His cause was just and the task was huge. Dr. King and his his fellow civil rights workers were serious men and carried themselves as such. He was a lucid man with stirring ideals and solid ideas, the stuff that political movements are made of. King had a lot more than just a dream, he had a plan. Knowing you are right and changing the world are two different things. King succeeded where the buffoons failed, and peace eludes us still.
So far the Tea Party has gone the Yippy route, offering completely ridiculous people as their leaders, many of them even more off-the-wall than Timothy Leary and Abbie Hoffman combined. At least those guys had LSD to blame for all the silliness. What’s the Teas Party’s excuse? With all the problems facing America these days, these dopes have elected to rail against rich people paying their taxes! “Power the people” used to be the Yippy’s motto. What’s these people’s motto: “Even more power to the greedy pricks that stole all our fucking money in 2008?”
Right off the bat you’re thinking that maybe they dropped the ball here. Here they have an America pissed off at going broke, sick and tired of two more unnecessary wars, 40 million Americans living in poverty and reeling from 8 years of corporate treasury looting under the Cheney Administration, and all these assholes could do to stir up a restless population was to champion the wealthy? That’s where you waste this wellspring of passion? As the kids say, WTF!
They choose instead to be angry that President Obama hasn’t been able to fix the monumental damage to our economy wrought by Shotgun Dick and The Hole In The Head Gang. Cheney and his uber-wealthy contemporaries launched an era of greed, acquisition and theft on such a monumental scale that less than 1% of Americans now own more wealth than the bottom 95% of us. That dough had to come out of somebody else’s (your name here) pockets. That doesn’t bother anyone in the Tea Party?
Their chosen people also lied us into a war in Iraq where grand fortunes were made by American corporations at the expense of over 4,000 American lives and 100,00 Iraqis. Now American corporations are selling Iraq $113 billion worth of modern weaponry, a nation we are supposedly leaving but will maintain an occupying army of 50,000 soldiers. Does that make sense to anyone? Just in case that doesn’t make the Middle East a big enough tinderbox, Saudi Arabia is buying $60 billion worth of American fighter jets too.
There’s some stuff for a political movement to question from this Democratic president who voted against the Iraq war as a Congressman. Instead, they attack Obama’s health care reforms, again not winning a lot of hearts and minds by equating healing the sick with the Third Reich. But then again, reality is not really their strong suit (see Glen Beck). When seeing Russia from your front porch is enough to be a statesman to your supporters, the bar is set pretty low in the Qualifications Department.
The idea of a new political party and a movement to shake up Washington to make some changes for the better in America is exciting. America has always been a work in progress, striving to live up to the immortal words and sacred ideas upon which this nation was founded. From time to time a leader emerges and a movement arises that stirs us to action and we move closer to our ideal America.
This is not one of those times, at least not yet, and the Tea Partiers are simply whack jobs too nuts to be regular Republicans, just like the Yippies were too crazy for the Democrats back in the day. They both hurt their respective causes with their willful ignorance and buffoonery, drowning out the voices of reason with empty noise. America could sure use another Martin Luther King right about now. Reasonable geniuses are hard to come by.