Tea Parties are Supposed to Be Classy

I read about a great Tea Party Rally the other day which I thought would be great fun! Being of British descent, sipping hot tea with an extended pinky and eating crumpets is practically second nature.

But I found soon that they had tricked me. There was no tea to be found, but instead a horde of retirees ranting about how lazy my generation is. Fair enough, we don’t have a solid work ethic, but I thought tea parties were supposed to be classy. A black tie affair. A meeting of gentlemen and ladies. But a tea party this was not. This was political war!

The problem is the Tea Party is, you can’t just hate them. Too many people I talk to full-out despise the Tea Party, which I don’t understand. I think of them rather as very misled hardworking people. I think it’s a problem to identify yourself with any political party exclusively, but that’s a theory for another day. Right now, I’d like to discuss particularly what’s wrong with the Tea Party.

I think there’s no one better to explain who the Tea Party is than Sarah Palin: “The soul of this movement is the people—everyday Americans who grow our food and run our small businesses, and teach our kids, and fight our wars. They’re folks in small towns and cities across this great nation who saw what was happening, and they saw, and they were concerned, and they got involved. Like you, they go to town hall meetings, and they write op-eds. They run for local office.You all have the courage to stand up and speak out. You have a vision for the future—one that values conservative principles and common sense solutions. And if that sounds like you, then you probably too are feeling a bit discouraged by what you see in Washington D.C.”

The idea really sounds great: normal people giving their input to the government. Here’s where the Tea Party crosses the line. They claim to represent “the working American,” but do not represent everybody. They tack up words like “fairness” and “low taxes” into their speech, because those things sound awesome. But in practice, they cater to companies. The top 1% of the nation pays 70% of the taxes- these are movie stars and CEO’s. So, that’s unfair, says the Tea Party. But they also make 90% of all the profits in the US. The problem is, the people they’re protecting are not the working backbone of America.

Now, understand, I’m the furthest thing from a liberal. But I don’t identify with conservatives either. I think both are basically rally points to trick people in investing in the self-funding of political parties and their sponsors. And the Tea Party is a movement claiming to be deriving power from the bottom up, but instead, it’s just ridiculous.

It’s impracticable. It’s all romanticism.

They want to take more funding away from schools, and yes, I think schools severely misappropriate money sometimes, but right now, Aiken County has none to waste. Cutting programs left and right. Kids, we have no opportunities to get to college sometimes. The other day, a woman complained to me that the private schools were not getting enough funding and wondered why everyone didn’t pay to send their kids to school.

Well, that’s America, lady. Free and equal education is something our country was based on. This is where the Tea Party and I have serious disagreements. They claim that we receive too much funding, but we don’t have enough to survive. And if we don’t have educated children, we don’t have a future.

We’re sabotaging our own destiny.

It’s us, the Mad Hatter, and The Cheshire Cat shouting for the end of socialism. And in doing so, we’re overreacting. We take a lot of people who want a simple cause: to make America better. Throw in a few people who deny Obama is an American, throw in some people who can shout really loud, and suddenly we have the front that the Tea Party is a huge crazy ruckus. It doesn’t have to be. It didn’t start out this way, surely, but now it’s as much a political machine as anything else. It’s so right wing, that even republicans are sick of hearing about it.

So, those are the problems I have with the Tea Party.

But moreover… I was really, really in the mood for crumpets.

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About Derek Berry

Derek Berry is a novelist and spoken word poet. Derek is the author of Heathens and Liars of Lickskillet County (PRA Publishing, 2016). He co-founded and organizes The Unspoken Word, a literary non-profit based out of Charleston, SC, which provides an intendent home for the poetic arts through regular readings, workshops, and community fundraisers. He is on the Executive Board of the Charleston Poetry Festival, the inaugural production of which will be Fall 2017. His work has appeared in The Southern Tablet, Cattywampus, Charleston Currents, Illuminations, RiverSedge, and other journals.He has performed in venues across the United States and Germany. He has worked as a photographer’s assistant, busboy, and bookseller. He currently works at a curation facility for Cold War History.

Posted on July 10, 2011, in Old People, Politics, Random, Writing. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I cannot believe kids like you are so enamored to liberal BS. Buying into Obama’s lies. Youngsters are so ill-informed these days.

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