This whole Tea Party thing is somewhat confusing. Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great that people who are upset about politics are participating in protests rather than being apathetic. However, some things that they’re saying don’t make sense to me. The big cry is, “Give me my country back.” Where do they think their country went? Did they have a bad dream in which they wake up and suddenly can’t find all of the states? “Oh, no! I can’t find California and Arizona. Whoever took it, should give it back. And I don’t want to hear, “Finders, keepers.” Who do they think took America? Was it some country with fewer problems than we have? Are they calling out in this dream, “Hey, Monaco, we know you took our country. That’s not right. You don’t even have room for it.”
Many of us were surprised by the recent demographic statistics that showed the Tea Party is not a movement consisting of people who have been unfairly deprived of achieving the “American Dream.” Tea Partiers say they don’t want the government so involved in their lives, yet the majority of them are in favor of Social Security and Medicare. In other words, they are against the government spending money on programs to help people except for the programs that they like. The majority of Tea Partiers are wealthier than the average American, better educated, and own nicer homes. So they achieved the American Dream. They just don’t care if anyone else ever gets to have that dream.
So just what are they unhappy with? What do they think has changed too much? Do they yearn for a time when there was runaway spending by the Bush administration? They shouldn’t worry about that. We’ve still got runaway spending. Do they miss the days when we waged a senseless war in the Mideast? Cheer up. We’re still waging that war. Are they afraid that since Obama was elected, Wall Street’s traditional greed has been halted? There are two words that should get rid of this fear — Goldman Sachs. So where’s the socialism? What are the radical moves Obama has made?
Is it just about health care? Come on. Is there one American who either personally or through his or her family hasn’t had a horrible experience with a doctor, a hospital, or an insurance company? I don’t know any. Besides, if for some reason, you love your nice, caring insurance company, nobody’s making you change to something else. That doesn’t sound so radical to me.
So why are they upset with the Obama administration? It goes beyond the Democrats who were upset with Bush becoming president. These are not the usual feelings that those among the political “outs” have for the political “ins.” There are some things having to do with the anger that these people feel towards Obama that is over the top. I’m talking about the out and out disdain, the name-calling, the drawings of Obama looking like Hitler that are displayed at their rallies. This is not just the traditional American rhetoric of those who were disappointed that their people were voted out of office. This is unabashed hatred.
I’m thinking of forming my own political group and calling it the Cola Party. I want my country back, too, and not just the good old America in which Coke cost only a dime. I would love to see the old America in which people could disagree politically, but still respect each other’s opinions — and their right to have them. Give me back my America in which people could calmly discuss their differences without calling each other un-American. Is it really “American,” is it really “patriotic” to not act this way?
Those who are actually spewing disgusting invective or bringing those Nazi posters to the rallies might very well be on the fringe of this fringe movement. I’m certainly not suggesting that everyone in the Tea Party is filled with this venom. But I worry that too many of them are.
So what makes these Obama opponents so much angrier, so much more threatened, and so much more involved in using violent images than Americans who haven’t liked previous presidents throughout our history? It’s a mystery, isn’t it? Let’s see. What is it about President Obama that’s different from all the other presidents who’ve come before him? Maybe it’s not really such a mystery after all.
Lloyd Garver has written for many television shows, ranging from “Sesame Street” to “Family Ties” to “Home Improvement” to “Frasier.” He has also read many books, some of them in hardcover. He can be reached at email@example.com. Check out his Web site at lloydgarver.com and his podcasts on iTunes.