Wednesday, April 14, 2010

In A Nutshell (no pun intended): Here's What's Wrong With The Tea Party Movement - Intellectual Dyslexia.

Today, the Tea Party held a demonstration in Boston.  One of the guest speakers (the Big Draw™) was 1/2 term former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

She trotted out the same jingoistic, bumper-sticker catchphrases ("Drill Baby, Drill!") and ("we'll keep clinging to our Constitution and our guns and religion – and you can keep the change.") strung together by her usual, otherwise incoherent,  word-salad.  
The crowd loved her.  
Somehow, the Tea Partiers think she's "one of them," in spite of the fact that between her book and speaking engagements, Grifter Palin has raked in an estimated $12 million since abdicating the Governor's office.

Folks, she's not "one of you."

She is now filthy rich.  She doesn't really care about you, except that you can continue to maker her wealthier.

Almost a year ago, Bristol Palin's baby daddy Levi Johnson nailed it.  

Do not delude yourself, Tea Party people.  This is designed to make her more rich.  She even demands rock star treatment these days.

But I digress.  This post isn't really about Palin.  
She's merely another symptom of the problem... the intellectual dyslexia from which the Tea Partiers suffer.

Here are a couple of examples.
From today's article in the Boston Globe:
John Killion, a US Postal Service worker from South Boston, one of the other Tea Partiers in the group... said it was his first Tea Party event ever and he was looking forward to hearing Palin speak. "She tells it like it is," he said. (emphasis mine)
So, the guy is a government worker, employed by a government agency that is subsidized by taxes; issues him a paycheck; and provides some pretty decent healthcare and retirement benefits... and he sees no intellectual dishonesty in his protest against the government that provides him a decent living (paid for with the dollars of his fellow Tea Partiers).

On NPR today, I listened to a story that compared the original Boston Tea Party in Dec. 16, 1773 with the current Tea Party objectives... and was struck by the fact that most modern-day Tea Partiers know little or nothing about the original one.  Most think it was about "high taxes" (which is, of course, what they have been led to believe).
It wasn't.
The crux of the original demonstration was two-fold.
The first issue was "taxation without representation."  
The colonist objected to the fact that even though they were taxed by the British government, they had no representation in Parliament... therefore, no say in the matter.  
Modern-day Tea Partiers can't legitimately make the same complaint.  They have elected representation in both houses of Congress.
The second issue was a British government "bailout" of the British East India Company. It gave a tax break that enabled British East India Company to undercut Colonial tea merchants, threatening their businesses.

So, one might make the comparison with today, and say that the Tea Partiers are justified in "protesting a bailout and their own unfair taxes."

But the fact is, what the British were doing is little different than what the US is doing today with companies like Exxon,which paid out some $47 billion in taxes - but NONE to the USA.  They aren't alone, either, and haven't been for some time.  

But I have yet to hear ONE Tea Party member decry the fact that they, and most of us ,pay more in  income taxes to the US than Exxon does.

But near the end of the story, Christen Varley, the President of the Greater Boston Tea Party (who says that a year ago she was a housewife who decided to get involved in politics) was confronted with one fact:
When it comes to taxes, the Obama administration has actually cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans through a federal income tax credit.  (emphasis mine)
Varley's reaction?  She doesn't believe that — no matter what the government says.

How can you engage in meaningful discourse with people who simply deny facts they don't like?

I don't know, either.


Tom Harper said...

I don't know what it is about Sarah Palin and why she's able to connect with so many people who should be able to see through her.

There's a local restaurant that serves excellent food. Just the basics -- burgers, fries, shakes. The owner is notoriously rightwing, with bumperstickers and flags all over the walls, etc.

The other day he was interviewed in the local paper. He said he doesn't have much respect for any politicians. And then he said "But I like Sarah Palin."


Steve said...

These people are thinking emotionally, not rationally. They think world they believe in is being taken from them. Their identity is being threatened. (And, btw, today's NY Times report on the survey of Tea Party members shows them to be reasonably well off financially. So it's not rich/poor that's the issue.) You can't talk to them about facts. You could talk to them about their feelings and what they fear and perhaps come up with a more intellectually satisfying discussion. When they address their feelings they are at least getting close to their own truths. And perhaps when they see their fear is doing their thinking, then, maybe, there is a chance to show them other options.

Wolfe Tone said...

Perhaps you are right, Steve, perhaps if their fears are assuaged, they will be more open to dealing with issues logically.

Of course, the difficulty there is that their fears can't be addressed unless they are willing to accept some facts.


freeper said...

These people aren't going to change, they've been the way they are for years and years.

These folks aren't any 'new' phenomena, they're the same people who formed the John Birch Society, the Minutemen, the militias, the Perot Party, etc.

It's just a new day and all their old labels have been compromised, so they picked a new name for themselves.

They want to 'rebrand' themselves. They're not looking to change their tune.

Once the tea-bagger moniker loses it's luster, these same people will still be around and looking to find yet another label for themselves.

Just because Arthur Anderson rebrands itself as Accenture doesn't mean it's comprised of a whole new batch of people. It's the same with the tea-baggers as it is with Accenture.

kodiakgriff said...

Hello Wolfe,
Many good points made as usual. I will admit these folks are fringers, who have the time to gather and swing signs. I wish that the original Tea party movement had been trademarked. Am I the only one who remembers those folks? They were a non-partisan peaceful group. They advocated for every citizen to mail to the elected officials a tea bag on April 15th. That is only if, you were dissatisfied with their representation. A noble, respectful, and peaceful demonstration.
I may agree with some of the new groups ideology, but never their methodology. They are far closer to new minuteman than the original Tea Party.
Peace & Sleante

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