Fat, old, white people with fanny packs bitching about a black president. Sore losers in American flag clad sweatshirts made in China, yelping about "excessive spending" after years of supporting a president who helped make the mess. Medicare and Social Security collectors worried about a "socialist agenda" while supporting the very people who wish to take back their free scooters. Fearful racists who blame our problems on immigration. Fundamentalist Christians and heterosexists who call gays sinners. That's how I view these Tea Party people. Wolves in sheep's clothing? Maybe a tiny wool scarf, if anything. Surely their brand of poorly veiled bigotry and intolerance can only fool the like-minded, or mindless.
But these "new" kids on the block have their hands in the cookie jar with their heels firmly planted on the airways of social freedom, ready to stomp out its voice on "go". And some of them could be elected. Can you imagine the "free" world if governed by Tea Baggers? Let me help you...
Christine O'Donnell isn't just a crazy lady who dies a little each time you jack off, she also seems to shy away from knowledge. Last week, in a "debate" with opponent Chris Coons, O'Donnell seriously asked the question "where in the constitution is separation of church and state?" Coons became the first person since 5th grade to sound impressive by answering correctly (it's in the first amendment, for those scoring at home). O'Donnell continued to ask the question over, and over, as if the answer would change. The first amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." This means that the government can never favor one religion over another. There are several international examples of other countries that don't honor this value. France has recently outlawed "wearing a scarf over the face," a law specifically targeted against women who wear the Muslim burqa. This is a nation discriminating against a particular religion. In Iran, it's illegal for a woman to be seen without her head covered. This is a nation enforcing religious law. I wonder if O'Donnell's translation of "separation of church and state" is the same as what I've heard from many of the religious right, who seem to think that separation of church and state exists to keep the government from telling Christians what to do, and that's all.
David Koch, credited with masterminding and supporting much of the Tea Party movement, recently funded the "David H Koch Hall Of Human Origins" at the National Smithsonian Natural History Museum. The purpose of the hall is not to challenge evolution, but it does emphasize that human evolution was aided by climate change. While it is true that climate change has helped human evolution along, PZ Myers points out that "climate change may have shaped our species, but it did so by killing us, by pushing populations around on the map, by famine and disease, by conflict and chaos." Basically, even though climate change encouraged natural selection, it would be a serious mistake for us to help it along. (Here's much more on Koch, in an extremely enlightening piece by the New Yorker)
Mark Meckler is a co-founder of Tea Party Patriots. Meckler made his fortune as a top seller in the Herbalife MLM pyramid scheme, and according to this MotherJones article, the TPP are run much like a multi-level marketing company. The network builds and builds, and all to pad the pockets of fortunate 1% at the top, while the people at the bottom do all the work and suffer financial consequences. What an excellent way to add to your contact list if you're a top dog in a multi-level marketing industry that actually thrives in a bad economy.
Rand Paul has made waves with his views on homosexual marriage, and Joe Miller (pictured) has a heterosexist on his payroll who's so anti-gay that he actually called out Rush Limbaugh for hobnobbing with Elton John. In an ideal Tea Bagger-led government, states would vote on the civil rights of homosexuals. Subjecting civil rights and social freedoms to the delicacy of a vote is not what America is all about, but that's almost what we're forced to do this election. We're voting for or against people who want their friends to vote on your freedoms.
Tea Partiers seem to believe that in order to protect their "freedoms", they must limit the freedoms of others. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you quickly becomes Do unto others before they have a chance to do unto you. It's this mentality that leads to people vandalize mosques, and harass Islamic Americans. We'd better stop immigration because we don't want to be outnumbered in 20 years by Mexican people. We'd better stop gay marriage, because what are our kids going to think when they see classmates with two mothers or two fathers? Sounds pretty paranoid to me. But this is the social focus of the uber-right, and this Tea Party is uber-right. You don't get noble results from such base intentions.
The Washington Post breaks down the scope of the Tea Party, and suggests that it's not as vast as we're meant to believe, but it's still influencial. After careful and time consuming research, the Post was able to confirm 1,400 possible Tea Party groups, after the TPP claimed more than 2,300. Groups can be as small as 1 person, and as large as 15,000. There isn't a publicly recognized central brain that coordinates the groups; they seem to operate independently of each other, which only reinforces the MotherJones assessment of it as a political MLM scheme. The one thing that ties these Tea Party groups together is fear and desperation. The architects of this angry infrastructure have created a foundation that's ripe for radical leadership. The scary thing is that we haven't really seen it yet.