Tea Partiers to Raise Private Army
This doesn’t look good – and of course, because our lawmakers are idiots, several of them support the idea of a non-state “Tea Party militia”; y’know, because our government is just getting too big.
This is a little difficult for me to swallow. Where were these people when President Bush was busy getting us into two absurd wars, creating the Dept. of Homeland Security (which was literally the biggest expansion of government since the ’70s), or reserving for himself the right to detain anyone, citizen or no, indefinitely without trial and interrogate them by torture? This is “big government” by definition, unlike this watered-down “Affordable Care Act”, which leaves the corporate system of health care almost entirely intact.
I guess I shouldn’t be arguing from a logical perspective because from the start this “tea party movement” has displayed an eerie, otherworldly indifference to reality. But from a pragmatic standpoint, well, let’s see what the Tea Parties have already done with the considerable shelter our government has given them:
- Threatening gun violence if health-care reform passes.
- Advocating the murder of census workers.
- Calling a civil rights hero and congressman a “nigger” repeatedly.
- Beginning a systemic campaign of harassment, including painting a swastika on one congressman’s office.
- Carrying automatic rifles to town hall meetings (including one where Obama was speaking).
- Threatening to murder a Democratic lawmaker in Colorado.
- Severing the gas line of the brother of a Virginia Congressman, with the clear intent of blowing up his house (they got the address wrong).
Et Cetera. Is this legitimate politics? Like, you don’t get what you want so you proclaim the other side illegitimate (the “birther movement”) and threaten to kill them?
I invite the reader to imagine what the result of this behavior would have been had it occurred under the Bush Administration. I have the feeling these “patriots” would have been labeled “terrorists”, rounded up in the middle of the night, and held indefinitely without trial with the media cheering. But there’s no need to speculate! In 2006, more than 71 Iraq War Protesters (who, I might add, were demonstrating peacefully – i.e. without guns) were arrested. In 2003, more than 275 anti-war protesters were arrested in New York. Shit – just last month, the government arrested 8 anti-war protesters at a rally. And these guys, I hasten to repeat, did not wave guns around, spout racial slurs, or threaten to murder congressmen. On the other hand, not a single Tea Partier has been arrested at a rally (to my knowledge).
It’s clear that this “movement”, such as it is, enjoys vast institutional support, from the corporations who fund the gatherings to the GOP congressmen who actively encourage this behavior (Rep. Steve King from Iowa, Mike Pence of Indiana, and many, many others have given bellicose speeches at these “tea party gatherings”) to the Democratic congressmen who have studiously avoided any serious condemnation of these actions whatsoever. As such, I think one can reasonably assume that these “Tea Partiers” serve a useful role to the corporations who fund senatorial and congressional campaigns. Clearly, if these Tea Party actions went against the wishes of our lawmaker’s benefactors (like, say, the anti-war protest crowd had), we’d be seeing a lot more “bipartisanship” against this movement.
When one takes a brief look at what the Tea Partiers want, it’s not difficult to see why. The Times reports on its front page today that Tea Party hero Sen. Mitch McConnell vehemently opposes new finance regulation (the old regulations worked so well, after all…), and indeed, the Tea Party ethos against all manifestations of “big government” can be seen to be anti-regulation by its very nature. There is nothing our industry elite – the JP Morgans and Monsantos of the world – would like better than a grassroots movement to look out for their interests. When JP Morgan says it’s against financial regulation, it looks, of course, like a crook. But when they convince (and pay) a bunch of ignorant hicks to march against “big government”, well, then it seems like the people are against financial regulation. Sure, some of them tend to get a little out of hand, what with the racial slurs and death threats, but even that serves a purpose – to keep uppity lawmakers in line.
It would be shallow to attribute the Tea Party’s rise only to GOP support of it, which, I admit, has been substantial. The Democratic silence on the matter has done just as much to encourage them. And that makes sense, considering both parties tend to work in favor of their corporate sponsors, who are clearly thrilled with the rise of a grassroots corporatist movement.
If the Tea Party succeeds in cobbling together a “militia” (it seems unlikely at this point), they will serve as the perfect complement to Blackwater. While BW remains a purely corporate mercenary force, it is only taken from the elite sector of society. A Tea Party militia would form the everyman’s Blackwater, as it were – an army made up of the public to work directly against the public interest.
Oh, if Orwell could see us now!