One of the fun things about the Tea Party folks is that they are so easy to make fun of. TP stands for tough potatoes (which is the attitude toward everyone outside of the moneyed class), totally pathetic, and toilet paper (which is what the idle rich class will use them for eventually). Unfortunately, witty one-liners won’t fix the damage they are doing.
If the party faithful, whose grasp of basic logic approaches that of iguanas, were to reap the logical rewards of their stupidity alone, it could be very entertaining. However, when they reap the logical rewards of their stupidity, it will not be much fun for anyone, except the billionaires pulling the strings.
This week, the government has decided to address the federal deficit. All insist that the United States must close the hole in the budget to avoid loss of vitality, competitiveness, and influence in the world. Anyone who has ever struggled to pay the bills is inclined to agree that allowing expenditures to outstrip income than is a recipe for disaster.
So it is with great cynicism and true sycophancy that the Republicans in Congress have decided to wield their newly obtained power to make sure that the rich don’t have to pay more taxes in the foreseeable future. Because, as every person burdened by debt knows, the best way to get out of debt is to cut income.
When this is pointed out to them, the TP-ers typically respond by ad hominem attacks. They are impervious to facts, reason and logic. The puppet masters have keyed into several emotionally-charged topics and use these to manipulate them. The result is that the outlook for the United States is bleak.
When the U.S. Supreme Court decided the Citizens United case, it allowed corporate business interests to buy seats in the U.S. Congress. Since the way that senators and congressmen get their jobs has not changed, corporate interests spend money on advertising designed to influence the elections. “Truth in advertising” does not apply to political speech, so the corporations have effectively found a legal way to put their thumbs on the scales of justice.
The people with the most to lose are also the most easily deceived. These are the ones violently in favor programs that will reduce them to corporate serfdom. Saying the words “labor union” in their presence is like dropping the f-bomb at a debutante ball. A short list of the preposterous beliefs they hold includes:
Corporate growth is always beneficial; unchecked human population growth is not a problem. The so-called free market will deliver a just society; the environment is indestructible; measures that prevent corporations from destroying the environment unfairly inhibit business growth. The way to energy independence is to drill for oil domestically and drive ever bigger and more petroleum-consuming cars. People who exhibit basic critical reasoning skills are “elites” and should be run out of town on a rail. Sarah Palin’s innocence of the issues will not impair her ability to be a good president. Ignorance is innocence. The list goes on.
No amount of reasoning gets through, and after a while, people get tired and think perhaps it might be time to find a way to protect themselves against what is shaping up to be a massive handover of rights, freedom and wealth to the richest among us.
The midterm elections were not an expression of the “will of the people.” They were the direct expression of the will of corporate interests. Those who think that Americans are much too smart to allow someone like Palin to rise to the presidency have forgotten that a lot of really smart people said the same thing about George W. Bush. Not only can she become president, if the Koch brothers decide that she is pliant enough, she will become president.
Hope is not lost. Representatives in Congress are required to at least hear from their constituents. Writing letters telling them to rein in the ability of business to control politics will help if enough people do it. That means ignoring the form letters they send back promising to do exactly as they please, and agitating for a return to democracy. Getting the country out of the hands of the robber barons is worth it.