Now I have written about the Tea Party several times and some of the ass backwards thought processes they have, but I also do agree with some of their views and thoughts in principle. What I agree with is that government should be transparent, that civil liberties should be restored and that government needs to get its hands off certain things. I also agree that Obamacare is a very stuffed piece of legislation, necessary though it is. Where they lose me is by refusing, at all, to be moderate or to work with liberals or democrats at all. It is what coined the Tea Party as the party of no. With darlings like Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio they feel like they have taken it to the establishment of the GOP and showed them that they, the Tea Party, mean business. What they have really done in retrospect, is decimate their own political goals using a mixture of cut and paste and smash and grab.
What I mean by that is simple. The Tea Party has created essentially a new political group that masquerades as the Republican Party, but is somehow less willing to compromise. They believe that conservatism can save America, balance the budget and fix the woes of the people. The problem they have run into, and a problem that the base Republican representatives are running into, is a change in society. I have heard many radio shows where callers call in complaining about society changing and accepting homosexuality for example, this is something that the Tea Party staunchly refuses to back down on, but its something simple that a large number of polls on younger voters are showing support for (ranging between 60%-85% depending on the poll). I have criticized the deeply religious right many times, but the point I always try to make is beyond an ancient religious text what is the basis of excluding basic civil liberties to same sex couples? There is none, and that is their biggest flaw. The reason they are having trouble getting headway in democratically held states is because of their perceived bigotry be it right or wrong. Just like civil rights in the 50s, 60s and 70s for blacks, homosexual equality is going to happen whether the Tea Party likes it or not.
When right wing people tell me, “I don’t mind gay rights, but we have bigger problems like war, deficits and government stranglehold on freedom” I simply ask if DOMA (the Defense Of Marriage Act) is a government stranglehold on freedom. The answer is with a usual explanation that its impact is minimal. If it is so minimal then why make such a big deal? Repeal it and put through that civil rights extend to same sex couples. A little known fact in American history is that in the late 1800’s post Civil War all the way into the early 1900’s, interracial marriage was a real crime. It was against the law for a white man/woman to marry a black man/woman. It is no different today with homosexual equality save the jail sentence. I always simply argue 2 facts:
1.) You cannot legislate morality. When you attempt to do that you begin alienating people based on who or what they are or what they desire to do. Saudi Arabia has a ban on drug use that is punished by beheading, if this moral law worked as it was supposed to they would have had to behead 1 person. Sadly they do it regularly because someone felt like getting stoned, thus a moral law is a wasteful law. You cannot protect a citizen from themselves.
2.) The Establishment Clause. This piece of legislation, adopted within the First Amendment of the constitution states verbatim, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion…” DOMA is a direct law based on religious values therefore it is unconstitutional. It’s the same reason Bibles should not be in publicly funded schools or day cares and the same reason that businesses cannot turn away a customer because of their ethnicity, creed or sexual preference. A business owner has rights, but how many “NO BLACKS” signs do you see today? There is a reason for that, its called discrimination.
How does this tie into the Tea Party? Easily. Their problem is that they, like their darling representatives, want us to be established as a Christian state, a moral state if you will. Where laws determine moral norms within society. The problem is that these same people want to destroy Iran and other Middle-East countries because they view them as a threat to moral America. The ironic thing is that Iran itself is exactly what the Tea Party desires to be. Iran is run by a deeply conservative, deeply religious regime where their “President” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went so far as to declare that no gays resided within the borders of Iran. Ahmadinejad is not even their main decision maker, that is their religious leader and zealot Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei. He is considered the Grand Leader of Iran. Think of America with a President and an American Pope referred to something as “Grand Leader of the United States of America” and realize that this is exactly the mold of Iran.
The youth of Iran are shown to not care about their own religious state. The youth, like most youth, are more interested in arts, sciences and civil liberties. It is, however, the old guard that currently has power and makes outlandish laws, the same kind of laws that are reflected in a piece of legislation like DOMA. The Tea Party rightly brings up the police state and nanny state that America has become, where we devalue education and take away the rights of citizens from abusive law enforcement, but their belief that morality and a moral code founded on Biblical principles will solve our issues is dead wrong. Listening to Paul Ryan, who in my opinion is as powerless as they come now, explain our moral obligation to balancing the budget along with repealing Obamacare makes me laugh. While Obamacare is full of pork, it is a necessary forcible overhaul of a failed healthcare system that is run by corporations who want to bleed everyone dry of their money. Balancing the budget is mildly important, but not as important as the government kick starting our economy again by aiding workers with a lack of disposable income and by infusing money to businesses who follow the laws such as Obamacare. Instead of docking business for not cooperating with the law, who not give giant grants to businesses that do? Why are we so quick to smack the hand instead of offering it a bit more? Why not be positive instead of negative?
The Tea Party has valuable and well thought ideas and I value their right to speech and open discourse. What I do not value is their obsession with taking us back to the 1950’s and that style of fear, propaganda and bigotry. The Tea Party is increasingly becoming hostile because it is faltering, it has no main representative who can viably win President unlike the Liberal side. Barack Obama had Hillary Clinton, thus giving him Clinton supporters and if Clinton decided to run, there is a very good chance she could win. Rand Paul seems to be the current favorite, but just like his father, his ideas do not strike with the middle chord of America and even further from their youth. The internal battle between Republicans and Tea Partiers will come to a head in 2016. The lack of agreement on a Presidential candidate will cost them the election and send them running to the drawling board again trying to come up with a reason for their loss, but without blaming their principles or ideology. If they were to accept something as simple as legitimate, non racial, non radical immigration reform as well as civil rights for homosexuals, they would gain another 15% or more support. A parent is not going to go against the rights of their children. Dick Cheney was a big turn back when his daughter was openly a lesbian and now, from my state of Ohio, Senator Rob Portman, a staunch anti-gay rights voter, has a son who is gay. What did Portman do? Openly stated he sees no reason who same sex couples cannot have rights and that his son being homosexual has opened his eyes. How many more eyes need to open before the Tea Party realizes their denial of civil rights will be their undoing? I’m not sure, but they will clamor after 2016 when they lose yet another Presidential race.