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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Not my cup of tea

The New York Times' look at the Tea Party movement is a frightening must read.

Reporter David Barstow heads into the traditional haunts of the anti-government movements that have lived on the nation's undersides for decades. And what he finds is similar to the scene painted by Richard Hofstadter almost 50 years in "The Paranoid Style of American Politics."

No one is suggesting that all is well in the body politic. Staggering economic turmoil, fostered by a non-existent government hand that allowed a housing bubble to build with the aid of unregulated subprime mortgages, has created a lot of pain in the form of foreclosures and unemployment.

The institutions responsible -- Wall Street and the Congress that took its hand off the tiller -- go merrily along, awash in taxpayer-funded bonuses and campaign cash.

But the worrisome part is the effort to exploit the anger by many of the same folks who stood on the sideline and cheered when George Bush and the Republicans ruled Washington by launching wars, trimming civil rights and turning greed loose. That includes not only conservative political activists but media creations like Rush Limbaugh and the man who threatens to eclipse El Rushbo, Glenn Beck.

The reemergence of the John Birch Society and the Patriot movement that spawned our own domestic terrorists named Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols is frightening enough. Toss in the nonsense of the birther movement and the fact this virtually lily white movement equates the nation's first African-American president to Adolf Hitler, and you start to wonder if you may need a clean pair of underwear.

All of this is separate and apart from a Republican Party that has adopted obstructionist tactics (impeachment anyone) to stymie duly elected Democratic presidents. And it is also separate from the Democrats inability to govern with an 18-vote majority because of the perverse rules of the United States Senate.

The recent Supreme Court decision opening the door to greater "corporate speech" is only going to make things worse.

We all have a reason to be angry with the partisan gridlock that has brought the economy crashing to its knees and government to a standstill. But the Tea Party movement appears to offer all the wrong messages. Rather than bringing us together, they're looking for scapegoats to tear us further apart.

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Anonymous Hal Shurtleff said...

While you certainly have the right to oppose The John Birch Society, lumping The JBS with the likes of Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols is contemptable. These two individuals had nothing to do with The John Birch Society. They received their training from the U.S. Army. If you were informed on the subject of the Oklahoma bombing, you would have commended The John Birch Society and its journalist William Jasper.

The John Birch Society is against the "wars" in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is against the so-caled Patriot Act, spy cameras, and torturing. It opposses NAFTA, FTAA, and NAU.

Hal Shurtleff
The John Birch Society

February 16, 2010 12:24 PM  

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