Tea Party Going Overboard
by Peter Remsen on Friday, February 21st, 2014
Right-wing fundamentalists’ pejorative rhetoric has evolved over the previous decades, becoming the gospel of fundamentalist Republicans across the country. These ideals are championed by a collection of usurpers calling itself the Tea Party, but their inflammatory and stringent ideals have stigmatized Republicanism as we know it today. Ultraconservatism has seized the House, and we are suffering for it.
The Tea Party loves America but hates the government that provides roads, police, firemen, schools, pensions for veterans, and more. Grover Glenn Norquist, an American political advocate responsible for promoting the “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” said, “I don’t want to abolish government, I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”
And if Americans are poor, they are simply too stupid to help themselves. Former Lieutenant Governor Andre Bauer (R) of South Carolina compared giving people government assistance to feeding animals: “My grandmother was not a highly educated woman, but she told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed… they don’t know any better.”
The Tea Party is willing to fight to the death to stifle movement and to crush compromise. According to Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, the Tea Party would rather see candidates lose to Democrats than adopt a more moderate stance. Before the last presidential election, the nominal leader of the Senate’s Republicans stated, “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term.” They place more focus on political feuding than running the country, an attitude that contributed to the government shutdown last year.
Instead of trying to appeal to a broader base of voters, the Tea Party is simply trying to disenfranchise them. As of now, thirty states have instituted or are considering voter ID laws. New York University estimates that 11% of American citizens, or roughly 20,000,000 Americans, lack a photo ID. Many of the unidentified cannot obtain IDs or would find it an unneeded burden, and most of them — immigrants, the poor, urban populations relying on public transportation — coincidentally vote Democrat.
Their defense, as Governor Rick Perry of Texas stated, is “making sure there’s not fraud, making sure that someone’s not manipulating that process, makes all the sense in the world to me.” Yet, according to ABC News, out of the 197 million votes cast for federal candidates between 2002 and 2005, only 40 voters were indicted for voter fraud. A Department of Justice study outlined during a 2006 Congressional hearing that only 26 of those cases, or about 0.00000013% of the votes cast in the elections, resulted in convictions or guilty pleas. If people won’t vote for them, the Tea Party reasons, they might as well make it unnecessarily difficult for them to do so. Not a single American supports corruption and fraud, but disenfranchising more than one out of ten Americans is not a solution to an apocryphal problem.
Of course, not all of the Tea Party is as radical as those who claim to speak for it. The movement has some noble goals — to “balance the budget,” to “make political offices available to the average citizen,” and to eliminate “special interests,” according to the Tea Party website. But these are no-brainer throw-away lines used by both the left and right, designed to fool constituents into believing that the Tea Party is trying to help America.
Extremism has replaced moderation on the right of the political spectrum. Common-sense Republicans have faded into oblivion. The Tea Party calls the remnants of this endangered species RINOs, or Republicans In Name Only. Although disparaged by the Tea Party, these Republicans are the ones willing to compromise, to aid the poor, and to govern responsibly. Republicans once espoused environmentalism, healthcare, common sense government, fidelity to the constitution, and social programs that work. Members of the Tea Party, on the other hand, have ceased to be Republicans, oppressing and denigrating the poor, intentionally disenfranchising constituents, exhibiting pathological hatred of the established government, and stifling progress.
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