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Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Tea Party is not the extremists you may believe them to be

Senator Ted Cruz, a Tea Party favorite,
is under continuous hateful attacks from liberals and RINOs....
He must be doing something right.
When one hears the Tea Party mentioned, there's generally going to be a variety of negativity attached to it. deliberate attempt by the opposition to make them look like the most horrible people on this planet (oh, the irony).
 Whether you're one that believes all the bad things or a tea party supporter that has put up with said bad things being said, there's been a negative stigma attached to them since their inception.  They've been called extremists and terrorists.  People have nice little nasty names for them Tea Baggers and Teahadists.  They're called the "fringe right" element.  And today, I'm writing to say that not only are all those accusations unfounded and false, but they are also a

What is the Tea Party isn't

Before we get into what the Tea Party actually, let's cover all the things the Tea Party and its supporters are not:
  • Racist
  • Sexist
  • Science Hating
  • Climate Change Denying
  • Extremist
  • Political Terrorists
  • Created by the Koch Brothers / Manufactured by Evil Corporations
Of course, the litany of accusations about the Tea Party could fill an entire page, but these seem to be the major accusations.  So let's just get those out of the way.  In a broad swath of forms, from entertainment to the media itself to raving liberal activists to even members of Congress and the President himself either on the radio, TV, Twitter and other social media, the Tea Party has been called all of these and more.  The effort against the Tea Party has been so successful in its branding that even those who share the same values as the Tea Party are hesitant to voice their support for fear of getting smacked with the RWNJ (Right Wing Nut Job) label.  

But for now, let's put those aside and focus on what the Tea Party actually is...

What the Tea Party is

Origins

Contrary to popular belief the Tea Party movement didn't begin with the election of Barack Obama.  It didn't begin with the passing of Obamacare.  It, in fact, began during the Bush administration as a reaction to TARP and the bank bailouts.  What they saw, at the time, was a grievous injustice to the American people being taxed hundreds of billions of dollars to clean up the mess many banks had left behind in the housing bubble collapse.  This is what gave rise to the modern day Tea Party. Other events, such as Obama's stimulus package and, of course, Obamacare, only strengthened the movement's resolve to do something.  

No, the Koch brothers did not manufacture the Tea Party.  While yes, the Koch Brothers have indeed lent their support to some Tea Party groups, there was no vast hidden conspiracy of right political operatives whipping the "dumb" people into a constitutional frenzy.  The members of the Tea Party were, in fact, just every day people that started to get fed up with the government.  

And the fact that the beginnings of the movement cannot easily be traced to one individual (though Keli Carender is commonly, but not exclusively, cited as the first protest organizer) points to the legitimacy of its grassroots origins (unlike Occupy).  

Beliefs

To sum it up, the core of the Tea Party's beliefs are that:
  • Federal taxes and spending are too high and that the government has a moral obligation to be responsible with the people's tax money.
  • The politicians in Washington are not listening to their constituents and instead believe they vote based on their own personal agenda. 
  • The federal government has been, for decades, eroding the people's constitutional rights.
  • The Constitution has endured the test of time (ie not oudated) and is the foundation on which the country should run.  
While there may be other beliefs someone affiliated with the Tea Party might espouse, you can guarantee that these four are universal among all Tea Party organizations.  

If you were to boil it down further, you could say all the Tea Party wants is for power to return to the people as it was originally outlined in the Constitution.  That's pretty much it. 

Again, these are pretty much every day people alarmed with the way the country is going and doing it the way that the Consitution allowed: peaceful protest and the power of the vote.

Connections with Conservatism

The Tea Party and conservatism go hand in hand.  The reason for this is the Tea Party is based on the notions our founding fathers laid down (hence being named after the Boston Tea Party).  Conservatism, in practice, aims to conserve that founding framework as much as possible because it's been seen as the reason why our country has prospered as much as it has.  But what is that founding framework that has led to our nation's success? It's simple:  The founding fathers knew one thing: the key to success lies in unlocking individual freedom.  When anyone had the opportunity to become great, you increase the nation's success rate much more so than if you just limited greatness to a stagnant upper class (aka nobility/royalty).  However, in order to allow that freedom, two things needed to happen:

  1. The government's power needed to be explicitly restrained.  All of the founding fathers had first hand knowledge how unchecked power can corrupt.  A government without limits is a government ruling despite the people, not for the people.
  2. Citizens needed to have economic freedom, for it's the cornerstone of all other freedoms.  They knew if people were free to keep the fruits of their labors, then they would not only have the incentive to succeed, but the power to do so


This is why you will not see any liberals or left leaning folk affiliated with Tea Parties.  Their beliefs aren't really compatible.  However, this doesn't mean that Democrats and other liberals haven't converted.  One of the Tea Party's staunchest supports, Andrew Breitbart, was a liberal for most of his life.  And, of course, the venerated Ronald Reagan was a liberal long before he was a conservative.  

The Tea Party and Barack Obama

Ok so you know what the Tea Party is about.  And I've also mentioned what it's not about: racism.  Yet, when it comes to President Obama, I believe the relationship between the two needs to be further explained.  Let me just say one thing though:

The Tea Party does NOT oppose Obama because he's black

Despite mounds of evidence showing that is not the case, the lie persists.  Back when the Tea Party protests first started to gain momentum, charges of racism were raised against the protesters.  Claims were made of racist signs and posters being spotted at rallies.  But when Andrew Breitbart vehemently denied these claims and offered $100,000 for proof of this racism at any Tea Party rally, no one could produce the proof.  In fact, the only evidence that might come close to that happened nearly 5 years later when someone at a recent veterans rally had a confederate flag present (which I, and any many others, do not support). Hardly proof of the rampant racism the Tea Party has been accused of.

Anyway, the Tea Party opposes Obama's agenda because it is indeed the most liberal, farthest left of any president before him.  This is what they oppose:
  • The ~$900 billion stimulus that the tax payers ended up paying for, very similar to the bank bailouts, that did nothing to help the economy.  
  • Obamacare's individual mandate and its attempt to take over the healthcare industry.  
  • Obamacare's burden on our economic freedom
  • A number of alarming scandals under his watch:  Fast & Furious, IRS targeting conservatives, Benghazi, mass wire tapping, and criminalizing journalists.   
This is whyTea Partiers, and myself, oppose this president so vehmently.  And it's not only those things, it's how this adminstration truly is different than any other liberal administration before it.  It's different than the Clinton administration or Roosevelt administration.  This is not just "another liberal administration". It's fundamentally different.

No administration has ever been so secretive about their agenda despite their promise to be most open administration in history.  No administration has so brazenly disregarded the law as this one has.  No administration has been so polarizing and uncompromising.  No administration has vilified a news organization or a talk radio host as they've done with Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.  No administration has ever blamed such organizaitons and individuals for their own shortcomings.  No administration has ever attempted to teach the military that evangelical Christians and the Tea Party are extremists despite the fact that the Occupy movement and other leftist advocate groups cause far more destruction, are far more violent, and far more disruptive than anything the Tea Party has ever done.  No administration has systemically purged its military officers that do not agree with their ideology.  No administration has lied so brazenly to the American public.  

We don't oppose this administration because "we lost".  Keep in mind that the Tea Party opposed the liberal stuff the Bush administration did as well, particularly the bank bailouts.  Again, this isn't politics as usual. This administration is different.  And this is why the Tea Party has risen.

Legitimacy

Unlike a great many other advocacy groups, the Tea Party has actually had some real success by doing
exactly what's outlined in the Constitution: they protested peacefully and then spoke with their votes.  They're the reason the Republicans took the House back with a mission to restrain the government from its reckless path.  They did exactly what our constitution outlines.  They did that, and got demonized for it.  Why?  Because this administration, and its public supporters and cohorts, fear a populace that would become wise to their deeds.  If the general public understood and knew what the Tea Party has come to understand and know, they - and every other Democrat - would be swept from office and be kept out for a long time.  So they do their best to make these average people who want the country run according to the constitution look like the worst people possible.  They have to since that's the only way to keep the rest of the country from catching on.  

Sarah Palin has been called many hateful names.
Liberals have even made fun of her mentally
handicapped son, Trig.
So the next time you see someone on TV or facebook disparaging the Tea Party, really take the time to examine their remarks.  It's usually hateful and bigoted.  It's usually highly uninformed.  Keep in mind that a majority of the country identifies with conservative values and morals.  And that what you see on TV and facebook are not how it's like everywhere.  Keep in mind these Tea Partiers are every day people trying to get the government back to the way it should be run through peaceful and legitimate means.  

The irony is that the people telling you the Tea Party are extremists are actually the extremists with beliefs that most Americans do not hold. They want you to believe the Tea Party is the enemy when in fact the Tea Party is for helping all Americans prosper.  They're not extreme, they're standing on principle and integrity.