Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tea Party Fantasy

Billed as a populist movement of middle-class citizens, the Tea Party movement brought together a hodgepodge of essentially single-issue voters angry over the economic and cultural changes reshaping America. From fears of losing their homes to their discomfort over the emergence of native dress at suburban malls, Tea Party activists see their privileged positions undermined by a government they believe gives special favors to a growing underclass of racial and ethnic minorities. Typically white, middle-age, blue-collar, and belonging to one of the major Protestant denominations, Tea Party supporters seek to restore the character of American society to the one they remember from the Fifties and Sixties – a period of American dominance following the global destruction of World War II.

What is unknown by the average Tea Party supporter and overlooked by its political elite is the ocean of private and corporate money fueling what is portrayed as a genuine populist movement. Swayed by a carefully crafted media campaign of misinformation and revisionist history, Tea Party members are deceived into supporting special-interest programs hidden within what appear to be common-sense reforms. Support for school choice carries within it the seed for a separate but equal educational system where the economically advantaged can isolate themselves yet receive federal funding. Support for smaller government can also result in reduced enforcement of banking, environmental, and worker safety regulations where economic penalties have always hit middle-class taxpayers the hardest. Support for expanded law enforcement also holds out the promise of billions in profits to be extorted from bankrupt states in building and operating for-profit prison systems.

Billionaires like the Koch brothers represent the real power behind the false populist movement known as the American Tea party movement. One can only hope the rank-and-file Tea Party supporters recognize this deception before the American Dream becomes only a faint memory.

“All things are subject to interpretation … whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” Nietzsche

“Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.” Bertrand Russell


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