If there was anything instructive about the two Spokesman-Review editorials addressing the “TEA Party” movement is that they were both valid and expressed legitimate concerns about the direction this movement is taking. Both Gary Crooks writing his “Smart Bombs” column “Don’t tread on truth” and Kathleen Parker’s focus on the fear of violence that could too easily be sparked by particularly violent rhetoric coming from specific inciters, such as Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and even Glenn Beck. You could not say of either columnist that they were discussing a “pro or con” view of this neo-radical movement, but rather, different aspects of what this movement can and does represent.
Such as Crooks noting in his column that the “TEA Party” representatives are more than happy to let a politician lie to them, as long as that politician is Governor Butch Otter, Republican, state of Idaho and attending a rally in Spokane, Washington. But; never, never, never should a Democrat be presumed to lie, especially if he is a Democrat by the name of Barack H. Obama. Well then, seems to me that the willingness to applaud someone lying to you must come with the party, the Republican party. The specifics of Otter’s lying to the “protest” rally are this, Health Care Reform. As Crooks notes:
His embrace of states’ rights quickly transitioned into the bashing of the recently adopted health reform law. He deftly incorporated the myth that 17,000 Internal Revenue Service agents will be hired as enforcers and likened this to King George’s writs of assistance.
This country hasn’t been under the rule of a “foreign power” since the late 18th century. And the collection of taxes with representation has been going on since practically the founding of the country. But you mix in a party platform of the perennial “hatred of the IRS,” with the new twist on “what I don’t like about paying taxes” (I am now a “victim” ideology by way of coercion or enslavement) especially when it comes to paying taxes toward “my neighbors’ health care ‘entitlement,'” then it becomes quite simple to spook people over a matter that as Crooks notes, is easily researched and more readily refuted. Even further, Crooks had this to say about Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas: “When U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, told Fox News of this supposed threat, he noted that the agents would be armed. All of this has been thoroughly debunked at Factcheck.org, and the item is worth reading because it demonstrates how political pros can transform innocuous bill language into the specter of federal thugs busting down doors.” My further take on both of the above quotes is that the same sort of people who decry Congressional ignorance about the passage of Health Care Reform into law prefer to express their own ignorance and even further to be willfully gullible to the manipulations of “the pros.” Well, as long as those “pros” are Republican. The stench of hypocrisy over this is worse than that fishy smell coming out of Denmark. We all know what the GOP hopes to gain out of this, that’s to retake Congress by 2010. And if they have to lie their way into that majority control, so be it.
From Ms. Parker’s column published on the 18th of April 2010 edition of the Spokesman-Review; she pointed out the upcoming fifteenth anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing and expressed legitimate concerns of what the violent rhetoric coming most specifically out of the “TEA Party” movement and their inciters such as Fox News could do to cause further tragic havoc (perhaps in the form of domestic terrorist attacks—the possibility of this, mine). Her point is well taken. That all it takes is one to exact a heavy toll on this country. And her next point is also well taken, that if a racist joins a “TEA Party” rally, and abruptly becomes its “face,” it is the unwillingness of the rest of the participants at the rally to reject the presence of such a person that enables him (or her) to ultimately represent the movement. As it has become apparent throughout Parker’s column that underlying violence, a willingness to break a nation up into warring factions simply because of who is now in office, also is at base (and not rejected) by the “TEA Party” movement as a whole. The time when a “TEA Party” representative pushes for a “militia” with the “full approval of the state legislature.”
In more tempered remarks, another Oklahoma tea party leader, J.W. Berry — whose newsletter boasts the motto “Buy more guns, more bullets” — explained that the militia idea isn’t “a far-right crazy plan or anything like that. This would be done with the full cooperation of the state legislature.”
In a state that should too well remember what Timothy McVeigh did to 168 of its citizens, a “militia” that enabled McVeigh to act violently against truly innocent people should be the one thing that its state pols should not desire. And besides, doesn’t Oklahoma already have a “militia” called the National Guard? And given the fact that people who are members of the National Guard are there voluntarily and receive a stipend of tax dollars for their participation, who exactly would “fund, train and keep from running amok” an authorized “militia” totally separate from the National Guard? Would that be out of the taxpayers’ wallets too? If the Oklahoma state legislature authorized it, they’d also have to be fully responsible for everything that “militia” did after the fact, as well as whether such a “voluntary force” could expect to be equipped and trained on the taxpayers’ dime. Oh, and when was it “far right” to oppose legitimate institutions here in this country just because right now, they are run by Democrats?
I can understand some legitimate concerns about too much government. But, that argument is only valid if you fear “too much government” from both the major parties. Of the sort of spending that can leave the great grandkids in debt up to their ears. But to with hold speaking up about such debt until after the Democrats take over? That is to make that specific argument many years too late. Or the “loss of freedom” because of the federal overhaul of health care by law. Shall we make it plain that the people most at loss of “freedom” is that of health insurance companies that can’t screw you out of coverage from any umpteen number of excuses because health care reform is as much about new regulations over the health insurance industry as it is about anything else. Of the facts that you are going to “get fined” if you don’t have health insurance as an individual or “get fined” if you don’t offer it as a business to your 50+ employees. That would rankle me too. At the same time, am I “free” if prior to health care reform I couldn’t afford a too pricey insurance plan that didn’t cover what needed to be covered in medical expenses? Where the people selling this plan could immediately cut me loose if I faced a catastrophic illness? Or refuse to sell me one just because I faced a pre-existing condition? Make that 6 of one and a half-dozen of the other.
And, as Leonard Pitts, jr. was to disclose in a months old column also republished in the Spokesman-Review about “TEA Party” representatives who “just want their country back.” Uh, the fact that the democratic institutions in this country could put Obama into office, that a majority of the voters were more satisfied to elect him as president in 2008 than they were McCain, then is “TEA Party” rancor really directed against government and “Obamunism” or against their fellow voters? Crooks noted in his column that the “TEA Party” might indeed deem themselves to be a popular movement following a righteous course of action. However, when you consider the polls that Crooks mentioned (CBS, among others); the “TEA Party” is reduced to a fringe movement very quickly. Well yes, when out of a million or so souls living in Kootenai County, Idaho only 2,500 show up for a Post Falls, Idaho rally; they aren’t popular and yeah, scary too. —Parker.