Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tea Party again

very interesting... my post on the Tea Party has received about 3X's more hits than any other post I've made. So, I guess if I want my blog to get more readers, I should keep posting on the Tea Party.

In addition to just a few comments, I've gotten some notes sent directly to me so there is a bit of material to which I can respond.

One person reminded me that the Tea Party is not monolithic and that many in that movement would not agree with everything I said. I agree. It is not a monolithic movement... but that frightens me even more. It seems to me that many of the more extreme voices are in positions of leadership and that while large numbers of the participants may not agree with some of the more radical views, they are still supporting and voting for the more radical fringe. For example, there are a number of very visible and vocal folk speaking out against public education. Does that mean all Tea Party folk want to see the public schools all shut down tomorrow? No, but if that vocal anti-public education leader gets elected, you can bet they will run with their agenda and claim a mandate for it. Same thing is true about social security, medicare, unemployment benefits, the FDA, OSHA, etc. etc.

One person chastised me for adding in infrastructure to my argument saying that n Tea Party person is against the government keeping up the infrastructure. Well... if that is true, and I'm not sure it is, then it won't be long. Let's be consistent here. If they are truly advocating that we stop the government from doing anything that is not explicitly outlined in the constitution, then they have to come out against government maintenance of infrastructure. It ain't there. And FWIW, Eisenhower's interstate system is the most "socialist" thing the federal government has ever done.

This same person said to me, "there are those with common sense who simply want to see smaller government and less taxes. We know it will be painful. And frankly we don't care." And that is the difference isn't it? I do care. And there are some pains that I believe we as a society should do everything we can do to alleviate.

I have no illusions that government can fix everything or save us from all ills. I see the problems, the corruption, the game playing, and the cronyism. I do believe though, that there are some things that only government can do and, that if this is to be the kind of society that I believe God yearns for us to be, then, government must do those things. Yes, it needs serious reform. Yes, we need to hold our elected officials accountable, but making government so small and weak that we can drown it in the bathtub is exactly the wrong answer. Again, I don't want to live in a Tea Party world and I would bet that most folk at the rallies wouldn't either if they really thought about the implications.

Finally, I've gotten a few comments about the "fruits and nuts of California," obviously putting me in that crop (sorry for the pun). By way of bio, I grew up in a blue collar family in Pittsburgh, PA and lived 18 years there, 3 in central PA, 13 in Philadelphia, 14 in Albany, NY, and 8 in CA. So, I'm not quite a Californian despite being seduced by the weather, the produce, and the beauty of the place. That said, the common misconception that California is a bastion of liberalism is just silly. Think about the last two presidents who came from CA - Nixon & Reagan. Instead, California is a polar place with lots of extreme liberals and lots of extreme conservatives and they never talk to one another or work together for the common good. The end result is an extremely dysfunctional state government that does next to nothing. Add in the system of propositions and you have a real mess. Unfortunately, I think that California model is the one being adopted on a federal level. That does not bode well for anyone.

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