I got an invitation last week to participate in a local Tea Party rally. Now, I must admit, when I saw the first Tea Party rally several years ago, I was definitely intrigued. The idea of a grass roots movement to try and get our bloated, wasteful, incompetent government back to some sense of normalcy and serious governing was very appealing. And they clearly stated that they weren’t Republicans or Democrats; they wanted, and invited, everyone to be involved, from all political persuasions.
But it didn’t take long for things to change, or should I say for the truth to come out. They started inviting Sarah Palin to speak at the rallies. Four of them, to be exact, and they paid her $100,000 per appearance. And what did she do at the rallies? Blast the Democrats, and blast President Obama. Excuse me? I thought this was supposed to be a non-partisan movement? What happened to espousing the values they were trying to promote? When did it turn into bashing the opposition, like business as usual, at political events? It has quickly turned into a Republican pep rally, although they still deny that to this day.
But what followed was even more telling; they have made major financial contributions to candidates this election season, such as Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio—Republicans, all of them, and ultra conservative at that.
One might have hoped that the Tea Party would have been a return to “real” conservatism, and I would welcome that. But they are showing themselves to be the kind of fake conservatives that run the present day Republican Party. The kind that say we need to keep the government off our backs and out of our lives. Oh, pardon me, except for issues like being gay, or choosing to end a pregnancy. When it comes to things like that, you have to live your life like they think you should. Real conservatives would be hands off, all the way. Limited government, only to provide what’s needed.
And when they are asking people to take the Tea Party movement seriously, do they really want someone like Sarah Palin as their major spokesperson? This is someone who couldn’t name Supreme Court justices, or the major Supreme Court cases of our day, who couldn’t name foreign leaders or who what founding fathers she most admired. And the same one who admitted when she was younger her family used to go across the border into Canada for health care, yet now says a system like that would lead to the downfall our country. Of course, now that she’s wealthy, she doesn’t have to worry about getting health care. Is this the kind of person who should be the face of a movement predicated on bringing government back to its senses?
A little further research shows that the FreedomWorks, an organization led by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, the ultra-partisan Republican politician, has been a major force behind the Tea Party movement.
They have published a list of 10 main focus points. The points focus on a number of things that politicians from both parties have talked about; balance the Federal budget, reduce spending, reduce taxes reduce earmarks and simplify the tax system. Of course, Republicans controlled Congress during the recent George Bush administration. And what did they do? They increased spending, increased the budget deficit, increased the use of earmarks and added extensive tax laws that complicated the tax system. They did reduce taxes, but since they didn’t do any of the other things that have to go along with that, and at the same time greatly increased spending, that just exasperated the other problems instead of making any progress toward solving them.
So why do they think that supporting Republican candidates this time will help them reach their goals? If they want to really be a new and exciting facet of American politics, they need to end this fascination with the Republicans and start fresh. They would do better with their own candidates, or if they wanted to stick with an established party, they should really try Libertarian candidates, who would be more in line with their thinking and might actually try and implement some of the policies they say they support.
The New Jersey Tea Party rally? No thanks. I’ll wait for a real grass roots party to come along, one that will concentrate on what they believe in and work toward achieving those goals. One that will work toward real change, not serve as a proxy for the same old, tired, hypocritical politicians we currently have. Not providing a mouthpiece for divisive, manipulative and incompetent retreads that will only continue the business-as-usual, special interest political system that we’ve developed in this country. One thing is for sure, the Tea Party isn’t it.