This “tea party” movement really scares me. The hate, the vitriol, the incendiary remarks, especially about Obama, are really disturbing and, in my opinion, dangerous. Yes, these types of tactics certainly get attention and win converts, but what types of converts? And some of the arguments (if you can call them that) being put forth are really nothing more than attempts to foment unrest and win votes. The criticism of Obama is especially nasty and, often, not based in reality. I mean, for Glenn Beck, that rabble-rouser of the right, to call Obama a racist and say he doesn’t like white people is just plain loony, and does nothing but thinly veil his own prejudice. One wonders if he actually believes the nonsense he spews, or if he is just trying to boost his ratings and create a false reality at the expense of inciting people to hate blacks and drag us back to the fifties. Neither explanation is very palatable.
Yes, the economy is lousy and the country is hurting. You can thank George Bush for that, not blame Obama (and, admittedly, people sometimes went too far in their criticism of Bush as well). How quickly some people forgot that, and now they want instant results from the new guy. It took eight years to drive the country into recession on the backs of unnecessary wars and tax cuts for the rich, it’s not all going to be fixed in one, or two, or even four years. Was everything Bush did bad? No, of course not. Is everything Obama does bad? No, him neither. But, overall, I think Bush dug us into a pretty deep hole, and it’s not going to be fixed quickly – by anyone. So give Obama a break. A long one. I don’t think he has evil intent for the country. To call him names, to demonize him, to dislike him just because he’s black, or erudite, or has a foreign-sounding name (let’s not forget that “Hussein” part!) is just plain ignorant. It scares me how many people in the country seem to get stirred up by such passions. I mean, I strongly disliked Bush, but not the man – rather, his running of the country. I’m sure he’s a fine person. I just think he was a really poor president. Let’s be adult and separate people’s actions from their core being.
And while we’re at it, let’s not label people and lump those with similar traits into rigid categories and thereby make broad assumptions (all Muslims are heathen, all gays are immoral… And Obama, by the way, is not Muslim… not that there’s anything wrong with being one.) People are people. They’re all different and multi-faceted. I’m sure even Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin have many admirable qualities. Rational consideration of differing approaches to problems and acceptance of those who are different from them are apparently not among them.
My point is, stirring up public dissent is as dangerous as it is easy (especially right now, when we’re scared and vulnerable), and we have to tread carefully lest we risk going down a very dark alley. Strong vitriol is a funny thing. It can really turn a person off, or turn them on – you never know which way it will go. It takes advantage of the weak, of which there are many. So let’s temper the discourse and debate issues rationally (I know this won’t happen. It’s much easier and more effective to incite the sheep). If the tea-partiers think they have better ideas than the Obama administration that haven’t been tried and will actually work, then talk about that and run on that.
If they are going to name a movement after one that conjures up memories of our Founding Fathers, they should at least try to emulate them in other ways and not act like two-year olds. Even Benjamin Franklin admonished that the destroyed tea should be repaid to Great Britain.