Liberals tend to apologize for their outbursts. We even apologize for defending ourselves against some very unreasonable attacks from Republicans. Conservatives know that and like any form of predator take full advantage. Almost every time you see a liberal blast a conservative figure or activity, some conservative will announce they are outraged by the allegations or lack of civility and next thing you know, the liberal is apologizing and the conservative is smiling smugly for getting away with another one.
Our political discourse has been shaped by these types of exchanges for a decade. It has to change, and it seems to be changing, since the popular revolutions in Wisconsin and Michigan, and even nationally, to judge from recent outbursts by members of the Congressional Black Caucus. California Rep. Howard Dean set the stage on Face the Nation in early August by saying, “I think this is a tea party problem, I think they are totally unreasonable, and doctrinaire and not founded in reality, I think they’ve been smoking some of that tea and not just drinking it…”
But Maxine Waters took the Tea Party critique to a whole new level by announcing that “the tea party can go straight to hell!”
I know I wasn’t alone in cheering this courageous woman for saying what millions of us are thinking and looking forward to expressing in 2012.
Polls show that Americans increasingly agree with this sentiment, including a Pew poll from April of this year which reveals declining approval even among Republicans. Indeed, Tea Partiers are the only ones who show no awareness that as a movement of any substance they’re living on borrowed time.
This reversal in Tea Party fortunes is a positive trend and it has been too long coming. It is unfortunate that we had to let them bring the us to the brink of ruin before America woke up to the threat and began to do what was necessary.
For years now we have been listening to vitriol from conservatives and far from blasting them back, failing even to defend ourselves. The Tea Party IS the enemy, or at least, one head of a two-sided beast, the other being fundamentalist Christianity, with the two more closely affiliated than most Americans may realize. We can’t be afraid to name the enemy (conservatives are certainly free with their own attacks and nary an apology to be seen) – we can’t fight back if we can’t identify who we are fighting against. Nor should we feel any need or obligation to apologize for telling the truth.
Rep. Andre Carson, D- Indiana is one of those Congressional Black Caucus members who has blasted the Tea Party for its racism and has refused to apologize, and I commend him for it.
“I stand on the truth of what I spoke,” he said. “My intentions weren’t to hurt anyone or any group. I wanted to speak to the issues that concern me and the philosophical issues that concern me as it relates to certain leadership within the tea party organization, not the entire tea party, but certain elements that have concerned me deeply and for quite some time that I think should really re-evaluate what it means to be an American and we shouldn’t go along the path of taking America back to the ‘good old days’ because those days were not good for everyone.”
I do take issue with one of his statements, however, as being factually incorrect. He says “I think the tea party is absolutely right when they call for increased transparency in government.” I ask you t show me even one example of increased government transparency in any state now in thrall to the Tea Party.
The Tea Party has proven itself the antithesis of transparency, banning First Amendment rights to Americans, passing legislation illegally, and banning Democracy through Republican martial law. Like all totalitarians, the Tea Party likes to do its dirty business behind closed doors and then present us with a fait accompli. No debate and far less any public debate. They decide, and then they tell us what they decided. No questions asked, none, because questions aren’t permitted. You’re more likely to be beat up or arrested than you are to get an answer.
The Tea Party has proven itself the enemy again and again since 2008 and the events from 2010 onward can leave Americans in no doubt as to the Tea Party’s ultimate goal for America. We are being told that being anything but white is un-American; being non-Christian is un-American; supporting workers rights is un-American; demanding the rich pay their fair share is un-American; government regulations of rapacious corporations is un-American; women and minorities – even Democrats! - voting is un-American. Indeed, the First Amendment and the Constitution itself (excepting the Tenth Amendment) is seen as un-American, even though Tea Partiers and their champions are completely ignorant with regards to the Tenth Amendment’s true meaning.
Democrats have to speak out, speak loudly, and we need more denunciations, not less, and no apologies. People used to quip, “Be like Mike”. The new cry ought to be, “Be like Maxine”.
Speak up while you can, America, because if they win in 2012, you won’t have that right any longer – or any others. Tea Party Totalitarianism is coming to a community near you, and it might very likely be your own.