Despite my usually hardline attitude on this blog, I’m not an unreasonable person. If someone calmly presents their case for an argument I’m willing to listen, and depending on their points, might even change my mind.
This has recently happened with my view of the Tea Party movement….sort of.
For the longest time I felt nothing but disdain for the group that I saw as silent during the Bush crimes and record deficits. I viewed them as completely created & led by Fox “news”; gullible angry people being manipulated by big business and special interest. I viewed them as the people who felt the republican party was not conservative enough. An angry mob that claims to love the constitution without ever having read it.
Well, my views have changed a bit.
As for the origins of the Tea Party movement, as it turns out, they did exist back during the Bush ear as the Pork Busters. Apparently they targeted the republican big spenders who were running the deeper and deeper into debt. This is a cause I can applaud. I hate earmarks on both sides of the aisle, and any attempt to cut the pork is good with me.
So what about my view of the tea partiers being silent during the Bush years? Well, if they were supportive of pork busters, then that’s obviously not true. Yet I still feel a bit the same way about the people who are only now just joining up with the tea party. Some attribute this to the economic collapse, but that still doesn’t address the issue of destroying the constitution.
I hear Tea Party protesters claim that Obama is destroying the constitution, and they are furious. (I have looked, and I can’t find any examples other than some people complaining about guns) But for the people who just recently joined up with the Tea Party movement after the republicans lost power, I’d like to ask “Why were you not joining massive protests against the patriot act, or warrantless wiretaps, or indefinite detention, or the suspension of habeus corpus?” Those were far more drastic and real attacks on the constitution by Bush than anything Obama’s done. Or do you only care about the constitution if your wallet is being threatened?
As for my view that Fox “news” created and have been leading the Tea Party movement, that’s also changed. I accept that I was wrong about that, but it does look like Fox is trying its damnedest to capitalize on the Tea Party by portraying these protesters in a light drastically different from how they portrayed the massive anti-Bush agenda protesters. (But that is more of an attack on Fox than the protesters, for what “fair and balanced” news station would go to such lengths to promote one agenda over another?)
I can empathize with the anger of the Tea Party protesters. The rage they’re feeling now is something I grew up with. That type of anger, but directed at Bush, was constant. I can recognize that some of their aims are good. Smaller government, less waste, reducing the deficit, those are things I can get behind, yet it’s the side effects of the medicine that worry me.
While the Tea Party tends to avoid social issues, if they get power and the issues are laid at their feet, at the end of the day, a great deal of them are conservative. (Or I could be wrong, perhaps they are mainly true libertarians, socially liberal and economically conservative. But I get as riled up over social issues as they do over economic ones, if not more so.)