Tea Party Random Musings
Now that its Tea Party season again, I’m starting to hear some of the same complaints once again. Stupid, rednecks, racists, and where-were-YOU-when-Bush-was-spending-so-much. Thought I might throw a few of my own thoughts up for that.
I have been following politics for quite a few years. I generally find the OpEd section of the paper more amusing that the comics. I’ve been known to watch CSPAN for hours just for a few laughs. And for as long as I can remember, I’ve been on the Conservative side. Part of that has to do with when and where I was raised, which was in the country where we grew our own food, hunted, cut firewood (no gas burned in our house, we had a wood burning furnace), and pretty much repaired about anything that went wrong.
We also recycled, building at one point an entire structure from wood salvaged from tearing down old houses. And the nice red barnboards from taking down a neighbor’s old barn made a beautiful wall covering in the basement. We composted, used minimal chemicals in the garden and instead opting for the rich “fertilizer” *I* had to shovel from the barns. We had a rainwater cistern system, to give us a backup water supply to the well water that would run low in the hot summer months. Sort of funny to see the ultra-greenies who try to live “off the grid” doing the very things that I grew up with as a matter of life.
All the while, us kids were taught the value of work and a dollar. We got a couple of rows in the garden that we would put in green beans, and got to pocket the money when we took them to the Farmer’s Market one weekend. And other things, teaching us about business and paying debts.
After leaving the country, I came of age in a suburban setting, so to speak. I don’t think I lost most of those values, though some got set aside for a while. I spent several years in the US Navy, before leaving there and entering my current profession.
But I almost always found time to keep myself informed. Once I found the Rush radio show, I was amazed: Finally, someone who thought like I did, and had the guts to say it on the airwaves! Informative, and entertaining, a very hard combination to top. Used to bug the heck out of folks I worked with, as I would often be found with my Radio Shack “Stereo Mate” radio on and the ear plug in while I was leaning over a car or setting up the brake lathe. (One gentleman referred to talk radio as “That government s**t!” But he was the one who also complained that the business owner somehow ‘screwed’ him on his taxes, because he got back $X last year, but only $less than X this year. Genius!)
I will admit that many times I played the my-side-your-side game. Anything Republicans would do, why that must be good. Anything the Democrats did, obviously evil and intended to destroy us all! Cheerleading the whole time, as for the most part, it didn’t seem to have much to do with everyday life outside of a few percentage points of taxes here, or a new law there.
When the Clinton Administration tried to push their Health Control Bill through, it was serious. Add to that the totally misnamed “Assault Weapons Ban,” and we were motivated. And took the Congress, and then the White House.
Which brings us to “where were you when Bush was bankrupting us?” Fact is, this country has been bankrupt for a long time. The closest we’ve come to being solvent was in the late 90s with the short-lived budget “surpluses.” Folks can argue what brought that about, whether it was Clinton or the Republican congress, but either way, a couple billion here or there was still no match for the several-trillion dollar debt.
So, we get some tax cuts (For The Rich! ™) and some decent economic growth. Then comes Sept 11th. Crashing it all down. We had to take this fight to the radicals. Could it have been done better, smarter? Probably. Maybe not. But it is what it is. And we have to follow through.
Now, President Obama is doubling on what Bush added to the debt. (As an aside, none of it can be blamed on Obama, Bush, or for that matter, Clinton, Bush, or Reagan. A President can not spend one dime without Congress approving it. But anyway…) And it’s gone too far.
I can be counted as one that did not like the spending that Bush ushered in. I did not want the Medicare Part D to pass. I did not want the amnesty deal for illegal immigrants to pass. And I for darn sure wanted a private option for Social Security to come through.
The truth is, though, that for the most part, it’s been relatively small potatoes. Yes, millions and billions are big, but still. A good, low tax rate, and sustained economic growth would eventually erase those deficits, just like they did during the Clinton years.
MrsJamesLee and I discussed this a while back. It’s sort of like the unruly kids; they keep their room a mess, they don’t cut the grass, and leave their dirty dishes lying around. Annoying, and yes, they should do better. But now, it’s like they are messing up the whole house, breaking the dishes in the kitchen, and crashing windows in the backyard. That’s just too far. That’s what the Obama Adminstration and the Democrats in Congress are doing now.
Should we have been louder before? I think so. Should we have stopped things before they got to this point? Absolutely. Both Republicans and Democrats alike, for the most part, have been complicit in this. We’ve always known Washington politicians were corrupt. But it was one thing when they were just lining their own playpens, while bad, it wasn’t that bad. But now, they are trashing the whole house, and breaking the windows. And its time to stop them.
According to a recent survey, upwards of 24% of Americans consider themselves part of the Tea Party movement. No matter how you slice it, that is a helluva lot of votes. When is the last time you can say 24% of Americans agreed on pretty much anything political? Fifty-Two Percent voted for Obama? Ah, but that’s only sixty-some odd million votes, or about a fifth, maybe even a sixth of the population. Less than 20%.
These Tea Party protesters are not a group of racists. They are not crazed redneck mobs, looking to make a scene. These are people just like you and me, they work everyday, try to raise their families, and do the right thing. And want to be left alone to live their lives.
As Thursday Tax Day comes around, watch the coverage. Read about it the papers the next day. Run the internet a while and find other things. And as always, look for what is not in the news reports. Look for what is emphasized, as well as what is downplayed (which is usually the attendance numbers; while “dozens” is technically accurate when describing a crowd of ten thousand, it leaves the exact opposite impression). Learn for yourself who they are. And you might be surprised; you might find you have more in common with them than you think.