I have tried to be patient and understanding with the Tea Party, I really have. I respect anyone who makes time in their life to participate in their government and voice their concerns about how that governance occurs.
I share the Tea Party's disgust with the fact that our government no longer represents the majority of American people. I, too, feel the erosion of my civil liberties and crave life, liberty and happiness.
The Tea Party perspective, however, is so fundamentally flawed that it's hard to know where to begin. If the government's intrusion on our civil liberties is such a motivator, where were the angry Partiers when our government's warrantless wiretapping program came to light?
If adherence to the Constitution is so important, where are the Tea
Party voices rising in protest against inanimate corporations being
granted the rights of free speech?
Our nation's crippling debt is a concern? Then where were the
teabag-brandishing patriots when our president started two wars of
occupation with no plan to pay for them and no plan to end them?
One might argue that the debt crisis was the final straw, the event
that finally pushed average liberty-loving Americans over the edge and
forced them to respond. And the Tea Party solution is less regulation?
Lack of regulation is what allowed rapacious investment brokerages to
gamble with the money and homes of millions of citizens and nearly bring
this country to its knees in the first place.
Using the Boston Tea Party as a namesake is also misguided if you
think that free markets are our salvation. That revolt was not simply a
response to overbearing taxes on tea imported into the colony, but to
the fact that the British East India Company (the largest corporation of
the day) was exempted from those duties. The patriots didn't toss their
own tea into the harbor, but raided the corporate ships -'so much for
respecting private property and leaving no mess behind.
If you are unhappy with the way our government operates, look no
further than the vast fortunes spent in the name of political influence
on both sides of the aisle. Billions of corporate dollars are spent by
lobbyists to influence Congress, by consultants to influence voters and
by advertisers to influence media producers and viewers.
Big money knows no political ideology - this bipartisan cancer on our
democracy insures that the Golden Rule applies: He who has the gold
makes the rules. As for the rest of us, the 99 percent of Americans who
don't have enough money to buy a congressman or fight a massive lawsuit
against a behemoth company? Well, let them eat ... sorry, all the cake's
been recalled due to salmonella poisoning.
As I said before, I also feel deep discontentment and I believe the
individuals who align themselves with the Tea Party are earnest and
sincere in their activism. From where I stand, however, their energy has
been co-opted and corrupted by some of the very forces that caused our
We won't succeed in reclaiming our government until we understand who
we're taking it back from.
Carla Critz is a Crescent City resident.