This morning I received an email from an old friend. He wanted my thoughts and comments on the Tea Party. Here is my reply.
I watched the rise of the TP. I listened to Joe the Plumber, Sarah Palin and the rest. I thought the TP sounded like a drunken father raging at his kid for something kid couldn’t help doing. Or more accurately, raging at his kid for something the father did himself.
I also got a strong whiff of nihilism. In its rage and frustration at the effects of the 2000s, the TP just wants to destroy anything and everything it can find — including its own economic well-being. The mentality of the TP is that of a shopping mall shooter who kills everyone he can see, then blows out his own brains.
The only thing I ever hear from the TP is its knee-jerk cry to “cut taxes and spending”. I haven’t heard the TP propose anything new. All the TP wants is the same old same old, but the same old doesn’t work anymore and that’s why we are where we are.
As to their special demon, regulation, the TP has forgotten, if indeed it ever knew, that regulations exist to stop us from ripping out each others’ throats. For example: Company X is not regulated so it dumps all manner of crud and corruption into the local water supply. So then, what is the poor little shopkeeper downstream to do when the crud and corruption poisons his child? Answer? The only one possible: Kill the son of a bitch and burn his place down,
Here’s another example: Congress did away with the old Glass-Stegal act, “unshackling Wall Street” from its regulation, and look what happened.
There’s a monstrous cruelty at play too. The TP foams at the mouth about Medicaid/Medicare, programs whose exenteration will jam-up people who are powerless to object, much less able to resist. It’s like kicking small dogs. I wish Paul Ryan could have ridden with me on the bus for a few days.
Then there’s the homeless vet standing on the corner with his little cardboard sign. He’s broken in mind and body by war but because we must mind the deficit, he can’t get a decent meal, a warm place to sleep or help exorcising the goblins.
Now about that deficit: Has the TP proposed reducing it by, say, killing the oil depletion allowance? Or ending agricultural subsidies? Not that I’ve ever heard.
Bottom line, the TP is negative, resentful, paranoid, inwardly focused and smacks of sociopathy.
Fortunately, holding all this TP stuff inside gets painful and most people eventually tire of the pain. When they do, they drop all the TP’s unpleasantness and become the people they once were. This is demonstrated by the noticeable fall-off in TP membership and sympathy. Oh, it will sputter on no doubt, but it won’t be the hotbed of incivility and buffoonery it was in 2010.