Monday, July 12, 2010

'Tea Party' as an obscenity

I don't get it. Not really.

Sure, I guess I understand why some people would think that the Tea Party movement is a racist, close minded, prejudice group. But that IS NOT because of what I've learned from listening to and watching the actual movement. I understand why some people think that way because I've listened to what those against the Tea Party movement have said about it.

This article is a case in point:

Those who have joined Tea Party groups across the country seem to be those who would label themselves as conservatives or of the political right. Those vehemently against the Tea Party groups seem to be those who would label themselves as liberals or of the political left.

Among those who label themselves as politically independent I've also noticed a split between the politically independents that are more conservative and those that are more liberal. There are also some that are scratching their heads not yet knowing where they stand when it comes to the Tea Party movement.

I suppose I am one who sympathizes with the Tea Party movement. I haven't joined a local Tea Party group or even been to one of their gatherings, but I am definitely attracted to its small federal government stance. AND I have NEVER seen or heard anything that has led me to believe that the Tea Party movement is racially motivated or driven.

Now, do some people for the Tea Party movement say stupid things? Absolutely. But that happens on both sides of the political stand. But I have yet to see any immoral or disgustingly hypocritical actions from the Tea Party movement itself.

At its core, I believe, are Americans who think government is getting too big and too involved in our daily life. I think, and this is just my observation, that this movement is fueled by the desire of Americans to govern their own lives and to keep America fiscally sound and strong enough to protect itself against its enemies. And America does have enemies.

You can disagree with those points, but these points are what the Tea Party movement is all about. They don't care about the color of the President, they care about the content of his policies and the policies of those around him. They are local organizations not governed by a large national head.

If you disagree with those against the current administration, and think that the policies being presented and passed by our government are good strong policies that our country needs, then you need to do a better job at explaining to your neighbor why these are good policies. The name calling, prejudging, hypocritical bantering that is coming from those who despise the Tea Party movement is doing NOTHING to convince the other side that their ideas are wrong.

Using 'Tea Party' as an obscenity is dividing America.

I'm a relatively young guy and have not seen the political movements my parents and grandparents have seen. But just in my lifetime, the current heat and political fervor is dividing neighbors, friendships, families, and America like I've never seen before.

I believe the main reason for this is that no one is willing to sit and listen to each other any more. All because of the political obscenities used by many of those in power, which are being used to keep and grow their power not to help what is true and best for America.

This is America, and we are only as strong as we are willing to listen to each other and work together. Disagreement is fine and needed for imperfect beings to find perfect solutions. But I'm guessing that if we listened to each other, disagreement would decrease and cooperation and common ground would increase.

Both sides have a lot more in common than is currently being publicized. Using each other as obscenities is not how we are going to find that.


Michael said...

I'm with you I definitely lean towards the tea party's stance but am not a member nor have I been to an event. The thing that gets me thought, is that there is no proof that anyone actually said racist things to the Members of Congress. It is a "his word versus mine" battle. What happened to innocent until proven guilty! In this day if something like that really happened you would think there would be cell phone video or audio of it since everything else is caught that way. I think people have made way too much out of this!

buildauniverse said...

As someone who identifies with liberal/democratic parties I have nothing against the Tea Party movement.

I see them (fairly or not) as similar to any other protest group. No matter what someone is being outspoken about, there will always been someone else to be just as outspoken back. I think the very act of speaking out opens the flood gates for attack no matter what you're speaking out against.

I don't see a problem with the Tea Party groups and even if they were heinously racist/sexist/from Mars, I love the validation and exercise of our Constitutional rights.

merrilykaroly said...

I have something against the tea party movement because I don't drink tea. Just kidding.

I agree that it is ridiculous the way people can be so vehemently against the opposing party, regardless of what the issue is-- to the point of sounding really stupid as they bash the other person (specifically I am thinking of some online comments I have read). People just need to chill and stop trying to blame the other guy. I agree that there is a lot of common ground and working together we could do a lot.

NoSurfGirl said...

I actually joined the "coffee party" on facebook :) And I like what they have to say, a lot of the time. Their mission statement is all about promoting good dialogue between parties/political viewpoints, though of course, being the "coffee party" they are immediately taking an "against teaparty" stance and therefore may be more left than center.

But I like what they have to say.

As to the tea party... I did a post about that a while ago. I know the teaparty is really a patchwork quilt of ideologies and viewpoints and factions and issues. You can't label the teaparty any "one thing" except perhaps, anti-party. Which in a way I agree with.

However, some of the signs that have gone up, ostensibly representing the teaparty, as well as some of the things that have been said on the news, have made me cringe and not want to touch "teaparty" with a ten-foot pole. yes, the teaparty isn't racist. It's a group of diverse people. But I'd like to see people within the teaparty stand up and revoke/rebuke those who say things that are racsit, or express their desire to kill our president.

I mean, killing our president wouldn't even be smart. Because next in line is Joe Biden (who is experienced, but says a lot of silly things, and is perhaps more leftist than Obama in a lot of ways, or at least, is more establishment than Obama) and third in line is... Nancy Pelosi.

Of those three, one might say Obama is the most moderate.

Josh said...

NoSurf, to address your last point, even if Obama isn't the most moderate he is definitely more appealing than the other options.

About people within the tea party revoking/rebuking radical people that are racist and voicing the terrible, despicable, most abhorrent idea of wanting to kill the president. From those that are voices within the movement I have heard a lot rebuking and separating from anyone or any group that may think that way.

I have heard Glenn Beck denounce those individuals numerous times and I'm not someone who listen's to or watches his shows everyday. He even denounces the "birthers" (those that think President Obama's birth cert is fake). My hearing Glenn denounce these comes from random listenings in my car or random show watchings at home. We're talking 5-10 instances that I have personally heard and not counting all the other minutes/hours of his show I have not listened to or watched. That's just one voice of the tea party movement.

Rick Santelli, the guy on CNBC, is another voice for the movement, has also denounced any racist ideas.

Now I don't know how well these examples are publicized. But those within their respective spheres of influence are at least (most likely) those that are taking an active part in the tea party movement and so are hearing the denunciations done by at least these two.

There are no prominent "leaders" of the Tea Party movement that I have ever heard support any form of racism and idea whatsoever of assassinating the president (I put leaders in quotes because there really aren't any official leaders of the movement). Any I read about, watch or listen to always denounce the ideas if those ideas EVER surface. The problem is, most of what I see outside of listening or watching those in or supporting the Tea Party movement are little snippets that catch the one sign in a crowd of thousands that may be taken as racist. Never do I hear them quoting the supposed "leaders" of the movement or even those who claim to be a part of the Tea Party movement.

There are racists still all over this country and in many different political groups including the two major political parties (although my optimism is that this number is small and is still declining, President Obama's election I believe is proof of that). But I don't believe we are doing a good enough job across the board of denouncing any form of racism.

Now I understand the apprehension many may have with a new movement that starts up after a black man is elected president. I think everyone in the back of his or her mind was thinking, "I hope this works, that we really are ready to not allow race to separate us any longer." And when opposition to this President comes many will first ask themselves, "Wait are these racists? Are they trying to destroy the progress we have made as a people?" So they should ask those questions that are on their mind.

But I've watched the Tea Party movement relatively closely and have seen absolutely nothing that supports the idea that the Tea Party movement is helping racism or assassination in any form, even in the form of turning a blind eye to it.

I also, think there are areas to criticize the Tea Party movement, but those criticisms are the same ones I have for most any political movement or political party. That criticism is primarily that they can be too biased or too politically driven instead of principally driven. In that regard, I don't yet know how I feel about the groups that are coming from the Tea Party movement. I don't know if it just another form of politics instead of an actual movement that is principally driven.

Wow that was much more than I was planning to write. I just wrote another blog post...

As always, great comments and awesome feedback. As I write these posts I'm realizing that I'm more passionate about some of these posts or ideas within the posts than I thought I was.

NoSurfGirl said...

OK...after reading this I'm actually tempted to go watch a little Glen Beck. Just to see. Which I NEVER thought would happen so let's just say you're a good missionary for the cause (if in fact you are a teaparty person... I'm not sure you decided or not in your post or comment :)

Um... you're also right about there not really being any clear "leader" of the movement. Maybe that's the real difficulty--there SHOULD be a leader so that people are a little more unified, or at least the messages of the teaparty become clearer. But SHOULD there be? Would the movement quickly become just like any other party, with rigid platforms, political-speak and a gladiators-style nomination for every election? Just thinking aloud here.