As we approach the next round of mid-term elections, we see a repeat of the 2009 through 2010 cycle where a small but angry, loud and often not so bright group of “conservatives” calling themselves the Tea Party are disrupting Congressional Town Hall events to speak out. As with last the last time, they are using bumper sticker phrases provided to them, heaven forbid they actually tried to think the issues out for themselves.
Last time the message was to get Congress to vote against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that they phrased “ObamaCare.” Their actions failed, ACA passed, but the coverage of the events soured the majority of moderate and liberal voters so when primaries and midterms came, even fewer than usual showed up to vote. As a result the extreme right wing took the House as well as many State Houses and Governorships around the Country. They were successful in taking over just as redistricting was about to take place, so they were able to gerrymandered Congressional and State Districts to make holding on to their power much easier. Just to be sure, they also started imposing voter suppression measures to make sure those not so inclined to agree with their fringe views would either have a difficult time voting, or won’t be able to vote at all.
ObamaCare passed but those who sponsored the Tea Party Movement got what they actually wanted, fringed right-wing pseudo conservative control of government that would favor the financial backers of the movement. It’s already been written about and confirmed that Charles and David Koch, as well as other extremely wealthy “Libertarians” and Ayn Rand following narcissists are the money and organizational support of the Astroturf movement known as the Tea Party. David Koch tried to run for office once himself as a Libertarian Vice President in 1980 and failed miserably. But why run for office if you can create an atmosphere of angry mobs spewing hatred of the poor, minorities, “takers” who are the real problem in this nation? Like many despots in the past, play to the worst in people to get them so angry they will do whatever you say to make them feel better. Because these people are so angry, they don’t stop to realize that what they actually advocate hurts them just as bad if not worse than those they are angry at. It has worked for centuries and is working again. Because they are so loud, angry and often violent; more tolerant, moderate and peaceful voices remain silent. The moderates and liberals also tend to just drop out of the system out of frustration and disgust.
The Koch Brothers and their paid “Think Tanks” like the Heritage Foundation and their political wing known as the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) have done a thorough job over the past 30 years, but even more so in the past 10 to essentially take over State and Federal Government, despite the majority views of the citizens of this nation. The Koch’s do this for themselves, not for the country and since they have the money, and get more money every day to fund their manipulation of the system, it has worked out very well for them. They push to keep the worst in office not to necessarily take over, but to obstruct those who are actually trying to help the people of this country have better lives. This serves to keep those people even angrier at a Government that doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because the Koch’s and their cohorts have been successful in getting people in office for the sole purpose of stopping government.
So here we are again in the lead up to the next cycle of midterms. The angry Tea Party faction aren’t really talking about ObamaCare per se, they want a new tactic that is this time directed at the Republican representatives, they want a Government shut down as a means to end ObamaCare. Now reasonable and intelligent people know that such a shutdown will not stop ObamaCare, but it will make Government even more non-functional and inept. This gives the money interests more ammunition to say that Government is a failure so it should be abolished. Those who think logically realize the problem with that statement. If government is so inept nothing can get done and people suffer, how does having no or little government at all help? The Koch brothers and their cohorts are hoping for the one thing that has never worked in the history of the world, a Libertarian style Government. They want a government where businesses rule completely, Oligarchy and Fascism on steroids. The voices of the workers/citizens be damned, only those with the money and power have a say and the rest of us are merely slave labor to keep those with the money even richer and more comfortable with increasing wage disparity and increasing poverty and suffering of the masses. Never in the history of this planet has such a form of government worked. It isn’t sustainable and would lead to more business government control of a growing disgruntled group of workers and citizens not happy being placed in serfdom to serve the uber wealthy. It would actually create the tyrannical government they say they want to abolish.
Polling is clear that the majority of this nation wants healthcare. Though they don’t like the term ObamaCare, when asked about each specific component of the Affordable Care Act, each one has majority support. Polling is also clear that a majority of the nation supports federal jobs programs, banking regulations, unemployment assistance, food stamps, infrastructure repair, educational support, and cooperation and compromise among the two political parties. Everything those who claim to speak for the Republican Party say their “base” the angry, misogynist, bigoted, racist, intellectually lazy and mostly white folks are against. The Tea Party is a minority voice in the Republican Party when it comes to total percentile of registered members, but they’re the only voices being heard. With the Koch brothers’ money and infrastructure, this loud angry voice shuts out the moderate and liberal politicians and voters in the GOP. For fear of being primaried by even more idiotic right-wing nut jobs, those who would be more inclined to vote for the people of the country and not the money interests are forced to go further right themselves. Others leave the party all together. Many retired Republican politicians, free of the mess their party is in speak out against what has happened. Many have simply left the party and gone independent. Problem is they still tend to vote for anyone with an R after their name, if they vote at all.
The angrier you are, the more easily manipulated you become by others who give you something to be angry at. Thoughtful intelligence and reason are often a defense against giving in to your anger and avoiding being manipulated by others. Sadly it also leaves you less inclined to take a strong stand to fix the situation. We all need to reach out to those who remain in the Republican Party who are disgusted with what has happened to their party and help them to take it away from the Libertarian Koch brothers and other money interests. We need to convince the moderates and liberals who remain to be heard over the loud angry voices of the Tea Party Faction and call them out for what they are. Yes, this will result in politicians being primaried, it will result in individual voters being insulted and despised by the angry mobs who are the Tea Party, but many respect those who do stand up against Tyranny. The Tea Party are the pawns of the Koch brothers plain and simple, and they need to be reminded of that. They need to explain to us how fighting for the things their leaders tell them to fight for helps them individually and the nation as a whole. It’s not easy, but we need to reason with them to latch on to what little intelligence they may have left and lead them away from the Dark Side of current day Republican politics.
We need to go further, we need to also make sure that everyone votes, Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Independents and whatever other parties there may be out there. The more people who vote, the more of the will of the people is heard and takes hold, not the minority corrupted views of the money interests who control and manipulate the Tea Party and uses them to do their will. We need to also demonstrate we respect and encourage debate, cooperation and compromise. Finally, we need to stop fighting among ourselves.
I’m seeing on this side of the political divide the same tactics being used on the extreme side of the right wing. Self appointed keepers of what is or isn’t liberal, progressive and/or democratic calling people out for not abiding by their litmus test. It would be nice if as the founders intended, we didn’t have political parties, only political views. Most Americans of all political factions and the independents actually agree on most core issues for the people of this country. Focus on those issues, not whether they’re your political clone and willing to kiss your ass on every subject. Encourage debate on this side of the aisle and see if it spreads to the other.
Debate our views with the views of the other side and maybe come up with compromises that will make this country stronger and better for all. The Republicans of old once did this on a regular basis. This is how we became an economic and military power as well as the most envied country in the world, all factions working together for what was best for the nation. It’s only when the Republicans decided that no voice would be heard but their own and that cooperation and compromise were bad words and a bad concept and then this nation started to fall apart. Now the Democrats are hinting at doing the same. This is no better. As many have said, no one person or side has all the right answers.
The current state of political discourse was several years and millions (possibly billions) of dollars in the making. Changing it will also take time and requires a plan.
First step is to encourage the Moderate and Liberal members who still remain in the Republican Party to stand up and make it clear they want moderate and liberal voices to be heard in the party or they will vote for someone from the other party.
Make sure that they follow through and vote, not sit any elections out.
We then need to work together to fight back all efforts to suppress the votes.
We need to join with those on the other side who’ve been afraid to speak out and tell them that we have their backs.
Just because they may now or were once registered as Republican doesn’t make them the enemy for life. That is the kind of litmus test many on the left want to implement. This is counterproductive and that is quite simply asinine. You have to question the reason of anyone who tells others not to listen to or acknowledge anyone they think once belonged to a party they don’t like. Listen instead to what people have to say, what their priorities are and begin the discussion.
Again, as many have said, we all have much more in common than what we disagree with on. Those who want to isolate completely others only tend to divide a movement and weaken it.
The more tolerant, more receptive, more inclusive we become, the stronger our overall movement becomes and then the power of the money interests fails because; though they may have the money, we will have the votes.
However, if we wait too long to start this change, we may no longer have the ability to vote anymore.
Bring all people back from the Dark Side to the good side of American Society where we all look after each other’s backs, even if we don’t particularly like them because if we do, they might just do the same for us.