Tea Partiers unified by anger, but what about the devil within?
Gary Hart picks up on a meme that has been troubling me for a while – namely that the common denominator among the disparate cells of the Tea Party is anger. But who the hell are they to claim a monopoly on anger?
One thing needs to be made clear. If anger is the admission dues for membership, then I qualify. I'm as angry as any tea-partier. So tea-partiers have to get over the notion that only they have a right to be angry. A lot of Americans are angry who don't necessarily therefore want to impeach Barack Obama, or spit on congressmen, or scream at town hall meetings, or bring down the government of the United States. No one, including the tea party, has a corner on anger.
One of the reasons I think that people have a difficult time taking teabaggers seriously is that, despite boasting a national sympathy of somewhere
Image: If Karl Marx was alive..., a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from binaryape's photostream
between seventeen and twenty-eight percent of Americans, they lack any unifying platform. More specifically, their grasp of what they don’t like has not, to date, extended into a coherent articulation of what they would do differently. Shouting a cacophony of nebulous buzzwords – free-market, small government, anti-socialist – lends the appearance of a political ideology without actually having to engage with any of the intellectual rigor mandate in proffering an alternative.
Like Gary, I am no Palin-come-lately myself. I became so angry in 2000 at the Supreme Court’s Gore v. Bush decision that I’ve spent the better part of a decade working to dismantle the opportunistic, corporatocratic policies that are being jammed down our gullets. Am I a touch less angry with Obama behind the wheel? To quote Palin, ‘you betcha’. But let’s be clear – we’re talking about a kinder, gentler machine gun hand here. I have my eyes on the real problem - the usurpation of global democracy by an unchecked oligarchy of free-market ideology.
And herein lies the ultimate irony – after years of voting against their economic self-interest, the angry masses are being crushed by the free-market ideologies they so fervently supported, yet remain zealous enough to believe that the answer lies in greater commitment to a free-market. I would say that Palin and her ilk would do well to read a little bit of the Marx they claim to so despise as I would imagine they would find a great deal of themselves in his work.
I know that may be too much to ask, but I do hope the Tea Party soon learns that the real problem is far bigger than a single politician or party. And I hope they learn this lesson before somebody gets shot.