Skip to main content

It was an unusually warm day last week at my local state fair. I was busy helping staff the Democratic Party's booth there when a hot-headed working class woman angrily marched up and started yelling at my face. She was a tea partier, and she was as mad as hell. She yelled at me about President Obama. She yelled at me about Jeffrey Immelt. She yelled at me about the new health care reform bill. She yelled at me about nearly everything in our current government, every program, and only left Tea Party Republicans unscathed. At times it seemed as if she would violently react at my attempts to calm her down. Finally, after nearly 20 minutes of ranting at me, she finally left after we threatened to call the security service.

There are parts of her story that she told me which almost make me feel sorry for her. She is currently unemployed, and her husband is a minimum wage truck driver. Together, they live in poverty along with an orphan they adopted from Russia. They survive paycheck to paycheck and constantly worry about whether or not they will have enough food to put on their table for their next meal.

This woman serves as the perfect picture for the dangerous ignorance which has captured a large portion of the Tea Party. Many liberals make a mistake by dismissing the movement as an astoturf organization made up primarily of the wealthy. The Tea Party, by and large, is a movement made of the poor and working middle class who, through their ignorance, serve primarily the interests of the wealthy. A New York Times Poll shows 88% of Tea Party supporters make less than $250,000 a year in family income; however, 100% of Tea Party supporters are fighting for the benefits of those who make over $250,000 a year.

The problem is they just don't see it. The Tea Party worldview is one that views government and big business as one entity. Many see government as serving nobody but the super-rich, and thus they see any government at all as the ultimate evil. On one hand they see corporate bailouts, and on the other they see a 9.1% unemployment rate. They have been spoon fed lies that government workers having good wages and great job security (though public workers are facing similar economic hardships -- just ask the over 400,000 who have gotten pink slips since the recession), while seeing their private sector friends being laid off. They believe big government as only helping a select few, and the rest are left to suffer. This right wing populism leads to an interesting caldron of paradoxical ideological views. To stop big government helping big business, the Tea Party wants to stop.... regulations that prevent corporate abuse(?). To end government spending which keeps the elite in power .... let's completely demolish our social safety net (?). The list goes on and on, and demonstrates the ignorant beliefs of an extremists organization which refuses to believe that government can ever do good.

Let's just look at this quote that Sarah Palin gave at a Tea Party rally:

"Today, one in five working-age men are out of work. One in seven Americans are on food stamps. Thirty percent of our mortgages are underwater. In parts of Michigan and California, they’re suffering from unemployment numbers that are greater than during the depths of the Great Depression."

... "Yeah, the permanent political class – they’re doing just fine. Ever notice how so many of them arrive in Washington, D.C. of modest means and then miraculously throughout the years they end up becoming very, very wealthy? Well, it’s because they derive power and their wealth from their access to our money – to taxpayer dollars.  They use it to bail out their friends on Wall Street and their corporate cronies, and to reward campaign contributors, and to buy votes via earmarks. There is so much waste. And there is a name for this: It’s called corporate crony capitalism. This is not the capitalism of free men and free markets, of innovation and hard work and ethics, of sacrifice and of risk. No, this is the capitalism of connections and government bailouts and handouts, of waste and influence peddling and corporate welfare. This is the crony capitalism that destroyed Europe’s economies. It’s the collusion of big government and big business and big finance to the detriment of all the rest – to the little guys. It’s a slap in the face to our small business owners – the true entrepreneurs, the job creators accounting for 70% of the jobs in America, it’s you who own these small businesses, you’re the economic engine, but you don’t grease the wheels of government power." Sarah Palin

That's hardly something I would call as a conservative rallying cry. In fact, I'd go as far to say I agree with most of the things she said. Not only does she bash corporations, she manages to do it in language similar to that of Ralph Nader. The Tea Party's ignorant faithful sees itself the sole entity fighting corporate power; and they believe the only way to fight corporate power is to fight the government's power, because the two are endlessly intertwined. They see everything from the government, every policy, every dollar, every employee, every regulation, as nothing more than something used to prop up the corporate elite. Therefore, since the Tea Party believes any government policy must help the elite, nearly every government policy must be eliminated. In essence, the entire Tea Party ideology is nothing more than a crackpot conspiracy theory. This is the Tea Party worldview.

So, because the Tea Party assumes the government is corrupted by the elite and is therefore completely bad and incapable of any good policy, you get the following policy paradoxes is their beliefs:

The corporate elite has bought our politicians, so therefore let's stop any campaign financing regulations.
The wealthy elite have all of the power and are destroying the country, so let's not give government power by raising taxes on the wealthy.

Because of the elite, unemployment is high right now and food stamps are being used like never before, so let's stop our social safety net.

The big corporations have too much power, so let's lift regulations on them.

There is too much corporate welfare in this country, so let's make it easier for them to abuse workers while we dismantle welfare for the poor.

And how, you might ask, do any of these statements make any sense? And, the answer is they just don't. Herein lies the ignorance, the idiocy, and the delusional nature of the Tea Party.
Stay tuned. This diary is the first one in a series about the Tea Party.

Poll

Is the government currently being used as a force for good

8%4 votes
31%15 votes
60%29 votes

| 48 votes | Vote | Results

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  The Teabaggers hate the very things (3+ / 0-)

    that they have been fooled into supporting.

    Well, except maybe the racism. I have a feeling they don't have a problem with that part.

  •  If this we true (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chinton, lyvwyr101
    The Tea Party worldview is one that views government and big business as one entity. Many see government as serving nobody but the super-rich, and thus they see any government at all as the ultimate evil. On one hand they see corporate bailouts, and on the other they see a 9.1% unemployment rate. They have been spoon fed lies that government workers having good wages and great job security (though public workers are facing similar economic hardships -- just ask the over 400,000 who have gotten pink slips since the recession), while seeing their private sector friends being laid off. They believe big government as only helping a select few, and the rest are left to suffer. This right wing populism leads to an interesting caldron of paradoxical ideological views. To stop big government helping big business, the Tea Party wants to stop.... regulations that prevent corporate abuse(?). To end government spending which keeps the elite in power .... let's completely demolish our social safety net (?). The list goes on and on, and demonstrates the ignorant beliefs of an extremists organization which refuses to believe that government can ever do good.

    There would be a significant number of liberals in their ranks.  This is not the Tea Party world view.

    "Because I am a river to my people."

    by lordcopper on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 03:12:49 PM PDT

  •  Sarah's team studied many terms, crony (4+ / 0-)

    capitalism came out on top. Now, if someone would force her to define it without platitudes or sarahisms.
    That would be really amusing.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 03:13:11 PM PDT

  •  she adopted from Russia? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Floande

    If you meet another Tea Partier, like that, remind them that in the past, insurance companies would jump at the chance to deny health insurance to international adoptees due to "pre-existing conditions". We have Ted Kennedy(RIP) to thank that our children were automatically approved when we brought them home. We also got a tax credit for the cost of adoption. Many kids adopted from difficult circumstances depend on services provided at schools: my own son, adopted as an infant from China, was wonderfully healthy but slow to speak and had trouble around age 4-5 but was given free speech therapy at his school. Those kinds of services are being cut at the state level by Tea Party enthusiasts.

    Just some talking points. I know, they don't stop screaming. My mother is the same, and many Texas relatives. How is that "we are too broke to afford more firefighters" meme working as their homes and forests burn?

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/lightningtreedesigns

    by Chun Yang on Mon Sep 05, 2011 at 05:28:05 PM PDT

  •  I saw an excellent article (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Floande

    There was a great article way back in the fall of 2010 from a British reporter. He basically said that the Tea Party is nothing more than the Koch brothers duping people into believing that the movement is grassroots.

  •  Ignorant (0+ / 0-)

    Most ginorant (sic) comment I've heard in nine days:

    "The Tea Party worldview is one that views government and big business as one entity."

    Ruined my computer keyboard with a splash of coffee due to this comment made to support an entire diary that starts with a false assumption.  Why oh why?
    Regards
    Mike

    •  I probably should have expanded on that point (0+ / 0-)

      This article is based primarily on my own experiences with people who I know who belong to the Tea Party. The vast majority of them tell me they oppose big government because it helps only the few "elite" (including public officials, rich business people who Tea Partiers believe benefit from the government, ect.), and nearly all of them fail to see that government can actually be used as an utility for good if used correctly. For example, many right wingers I know oppose regulations because they believe the 'elite' of the corporations can find a way out of them, and thus they believe regulations only hurt the small business owners. Thus, because they believe both the government and the big corporations are run by the same elites, they see both as the same entity.

      I do not know if the Tea Partiers in your area are significantly different than those in my area; however, all I know is that the Tea Partiers I know try to explain their views based on their assumption that big business and government are related, if not the same, entities.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site