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Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Tea Party: Good or Bad?

Gonna do things a little differently this time.  The usual reader knows I normally cover a variety of topics in each blog.  But, been seein’ and hearin’ so much about the Tea Party, feel the need to devote a whole one just to them.  Not asking you to be fer or agin what I’m gonna throw out there, but hope you’ll take a little time to think about it.  If nothin’ else, hope you enjoy this week’s soundtrack.

Saw a headline the other day asking if the Tea Party is good or bad for the country.  They’ve obviously been getting a lot of press ever since they surfaced a couple years ago.  Most of it ain’t been very flattering, either.  Generally, they are portrayed as angry citizens who are against anything that the government, specifically President Obama, stands for.  Both the Pubs and Dems are running smear campaigns against them.  The mainstream media is falling in lock step and pouring fuel on the fire that Tea Party members are nothing more than a bunch of nutcases.  Can’t really remember any stories that are portraying them in a positive light.  If you know of any, hope you’ll post a link in the comments below so I can read it.

Will admit that I don’t really know all that they stand for.  But, have a real hard time believing they are ALL loony tunes.  Think they were a little quick to jump on the anti-Obama bandwagon (think they started protesting him before he even took office, could be wrong about that, though), but that don’t necessarily make ‘em crazy.  From what I can gather, they mostly believe the government is becoming too intrusive into our every day lives.  Based on their name, would think they feel like we are being taxed without proper representation, too.  Although we don’t always want to admit it, these are two of the basic premises our country was founded on.

With all this being said, here’s a few things been chewing over in my gray matter about these folks:

First, would like to say I think the Tea Party is good for America but not necessarily why you might think.  Have said before there’s a lot of people in this country who don’t officially identify with either major party we currently have.  They basically vote for whoever, in their mind, is the lesser of the two evils.  And, even if a politician is elected with 60% of the vote, there’s still 40% out there who might think their voice is not being heard. (Kind of lends credence to that whole “taxation without representation” line of thought)  Unfortunately, folks who feel this way generally tend to tune out of political discourse rather than getting more involved, even to the point of refusing to vote.  To me, the Tea Party is a place for some of this “silent majority” to vent their frustrations, get involved, etc.  Anything which gets more citizens involved in the political process has to be a good thing.  After all, at this time in our history, less than 50% of the people eligible to vote actually use this right men and women have fought and died for us to have.  That’s a pretty sad statistic if you ask me.  If the Tea Party can get more people out to vote, on a regular basis, I say more power to ‘em!

Second, think they are good for America cuz they have gotten the attention of both the Dems and Pubs, especially in this election cycle where several candidates they’ve backed have won their respective primaries.  Both sides are doing all they can to discredit them.  Since they are agin big government and more taxes, the Dems don’t see eye to eye with them.  Since the Pubs are losing a chunk of their supporters to the Tea Party, they’re not real happy with them, either.  Neither party has been this concerned about outsiders since Mr. Perot won about 10% of the vote in the ‘92 presidential election.  That’s the last time both parties actually listened to folks besides their “base” supporters in my opinion.  It’s time for politicians (and voters, too, for that matter) to realize folks outside of their hardcore supporters have ideas, too.  There are a lot more of the “middle” folks out there than extremists of either party, too.  So, if the Tea Party folks will remind the D’s and R’s they need to listen to ALL of the people (or at least more folks outside of their inner circles), I say more power to ‘em again!  

Third, if they want to be taken seriously, they need to do a better job of checking out the people they’re supporting in the elections.  The lady in Delaware is really coming across as a whacko.  She’s the subject of more punch lines than debates.  (She’s a good example of someone both parties are railing against)  The dude in Kentucky comes across as a little out there from time to time, too.  While few people could withstand the rectal exam that the media puts candidates through today, probably could have found some folks that had a few less cobwebs (or cauldrons) in the closet.  On the other hand, given the state we are in cuz of the so-called “normal” politicians, could be time to shake things up a little…But, for long-term survival, you need to have candidates more average Janes and Joes can relate to.  So, this is definitely one area they will have to improve on.

Fourth, they need to find a format where they can get their story out without coming across as being angry and irrational.  This will be the hardest thing for them to overcome in today’s world of the soundbite.  Unfortunately, if your ideas can’t be condensed down to 60 seconds or less, many people lose interest.  And, the TV media ain’t gonna give you any airtime without a visual hook of some sort.  A politician speaking rationally behind a microphone don’t cut it in their world.  But, if one or two (or more) of their candidates somehow manage to get elected, you can bet there’ll be a lot more in-depth coverage devoted to them.

Overall, I think they are a good thing for America whether you agree with their platform or not.  Are they the best answer to all our issues today?  Probably not.  Not now, any way.  But, ultimately, they are getting more people involved in the political process, which is a good thing.  Who knows?  IF they can find some viable candidates (which may be easier said than done), they could actually survive and become a viable third party (or maybe even a second party).  After all, there was neither a Democratic nor a Republican party in the first several elections inside our great nation.  You just never know what may happen…If nothing else, maybe they will show some of our “mainstream” politicos there’s a bunch of folks who are tired of the same ol’, same ol’, and it’s time they start working together to get things done before it’s too late. 

Appreciate you hangin’ in here with me.  Like I said earlier, not asking you to agree with my thoughts, just hopin’ it will spur some of your own. 

Y’all have a good week.

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