The Tea Party

I really don’t know very much about this movement,
and am not doing much to make myself knowledgeable about it.
Nor do I have any idea how long-lasting its influence will be.
But I do occasionally run across columns on it.
Here are a few which seemed especially interesting.


"Give me Liberty or..."
by Patrick Lang
Sic Semper Tyrannis, 2010-03-01

Populism, Left and Right
by Justin Raimondo
Antiwar.com, 2010-04-19

Why the establishment hates it

A Tea Party to Nowhere
By Philip Giraldi
Campaign for Liberty, 2010-06-03

[His theme in brief:]

Most Tea Partiers claim to want
smaller and cheaper government,
less interference from Washington in their daily lives,
fewer programs that are intended to socially re-engineer the nation.
So far, so good, but then comes the huge failure to comprehend
that is as wide as the Grand Canyon.
Most also want a strong, assertive national defense
and are supporters of an aggressive foreign and security policy.

Tea Partiers have unfortunately been fed a line of hokum by politicians
aided and abetted by the mainstream media.
They fail to understand that
it is precisely the interventionist defense and foreign policies
that are driving the bad things they see in government.

[I stand second to no one in opposing
“the interventionist defense and foreign policies”.
But I think that to assert those are
the principal causes of the negative trends in our society that Giraldi mentions
is utterly wrong.
In particular,
the gigantic post-1965 expansion in healthcare spending,
and the general spread of
the Jewish campaign to expunge from our society
anything that even resembles aspects of the German Nazi social order
(e.g., its racism, sexism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism)
have next to nothing to do with
America's misbegotten foreign adventures.]

[The following is the full contents (seven paragraphs)
of a short column (titled “It’s My Party”) by one David Peterson
that appeared in the October 2010 Chronicles.
The emphasis is added.]

The Tea Party movement is known to be a haven
for those who are disaffected with both political parties and the party line,
and who want their voiced to be heard.
The mainstream media has made great efforts to silence those voices,
painting the Tea Partiers as cranks, bigots, and racists.

There is a “democratic forum” at the website Tea Party Nation,
which bills itself as part of the Tea Party movement
and facilitates Tea Party conventions.

I posted a blog there,
advocating an “even-handed” U.S. policy toward Israel
as a means to achieve a just and lasting peace.
I made the case that blanket support of all Israeli actions and positions
is not reasonable,
and that certain neoconservative writers are being unfair when they claim that
“America has now abandoned Israel.”

When I returned the following day,
I saw that a dozen or so interesting responses had been posted,
the comments were evenly divided pro and con,
and none were objectionable or racist.
The following day,
I was banned from the website.

Apparently, there are hidden rules at Tea Party Nation
governing discussion and debate on an “open forum.”
I received a two-line message from a commenter
who identified himself as Vern Shotwell.
He declared,
“You are anti-Semitic and also presumed to be a pacifist.” [Ooooh.]
Within an hour,
I was unable to return to the site, and another message informed me
I was no longer a member of Tea Party Nation.
I immediately responded to Mr. Shotwell,
objecting to his use of defamation
with such a highly charged, false, and reckless accusation.
[I didn’t know that the term “anti-Semitism”
had any fixed, well-defined meaning these days.]

I insisted that Tea Party Nation either
demonstrate specifically where anything in my post
was racist, anti-Jewish, or anti-Semitic,
or else retract the charge.
No one has responded, and I remain exiled.

The Tea Partiers have always claimed to be conservative in outlook.
They insist they are not affiliated with any political faction
and remain nonpartisan,
supporting the best candidates—Democratic, Republican, or Independent.
The Tea Party supporters’ central message is
small government and fiscal responsibility—
views with which I sympathize.
There has never been any mandate of ideological purity on foreign-policy issues.

One week before my excommunication,
Tea Party Nation carried cries of outrage at statements by the NAACP
charging Tea Partiers with racism.
Perhaps they should remember the old adage
about people who live in glass houses.

— David Peterson