Deconstructing Tea Party Nation

A stream of curse words. A river of filth. The coarsening of our culture. This article is a response to an email sent by the Tea Party Nation to its members that fits, in every important point, the notion defined by the previous statements. But the Tea Party Nation is not the only perpetrator of such offenses in our society. I am guilty of them; The Rational Middle, I have often noted, is an aspiration rather than reality. Liberals, conservatives, truck drivers, and school teachers; we Americans have become proficient in the debased art of degrading language.

What I will do in this article, I hope, is to deconstruct the obscenities hurled by Melissa Brookstone in the aforementioned email. I will not call her a traitor; I will not call her a bigot. I am writing this column in the full understanding that the Tea Party Nation email is written in a tone that more than a few friends and family members, folks that I respect and love, will agree with. This article is not being written about the character of the Tea Party Nation, it is being written to refute the premise of Tea Party Nation.

The goal of the TPN email is given in its first paragraph, and stated in no uncertain terms:

Resolved that: The Obama administration and the Democrat-controlled Senate, in alliance with a global Progressive socialist movement, have participated in what appears to be a globalist socialist agenda of redistribution of wealth, and the waging of class warfare against our constitutional republic’s heritage of individual rights, free market capitalism, and indeed our Constitution itself, with the ultimate goal of collapsing the U.S. economy and globalizing us into socialism.

The Rational Middle would like to point out that:

  1. Democrats are a majority in the Senate, but do not control the floor agenda of that body. Regardless of the right or wrong of the situation, from 2009-2010 legislation did not come to the floor unless a group of perhaps 5 conservative Democrats agreed on the legislation. Since the 2010 elections, no legislation has been given consideration in the Senate unless Republican senators approved of the bill.
  2. This paragraph begins a pattern of the use of the word “globalist” as a curse word, which is curious. Globalization is a process driven by multinational corporations, and championed by free-traders around the world. Globalization is, emphatically, a capitalist ideal, and depends on the reduction of tariffs (taxes on trade) to succeed.
  3. Our Constitution does not establish an economic system. While I am a capitalist by inclination and experience, the concept is emphatically not in the Constitution. What the Constitution does stipulate is that one of its missions is to “promote the general Welfare”. Our history on the subject of taxation is also quite clear, whether one likes it or not. The United States of America fought and won two world wars, a cold war, and a global depression, all while establishing itself as the global economic power. We did all this with marginal tax rates well above what we have today.
  4. Taking the point even further, the international instruments of globalism like the IMF and World Bank have consistently favored austerity (an explicit rejection of socialism), and the participation of for-profit actors in international development.
  5. The paragraph states that the goal of President Obama is to “collapse the U.S. economy”, yet the goal of the message is to collapse the U.S. economy to ensure that President Obama does not reach his goals.
The second paragraph forms the foundation of the email’s argument that the President and Democrats are guilty of treason, which are expressed in paragraph 3:
Resolved that: President Obama has seized what amount to dictatorial powers to bypass our Congress, and that because the Congress is controlled by a Progressive socialist Senate that will not impeach one of their kind, they have allowed this and yielded what are rightfully congressional powers to this new dictator.
The Rational Middle would respond in this way:
  1. This President has been unable to pass most of his agenda, and has not passed any agenda items in a form closely related to his original design. Dictators do not have to modify their agendas, they are passed. The case for “dictator-like powers” falls flat.
  2. The Tea Party Nation may point to actions taken in support of a NATO resolution in Libya, but it must explain why Senate Republicans failed to impeach President Bush for bypassing Congress (by explicitly fabricating the case for war). The action in Libya was taken in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; treaties, per the United States Constitution, are on par with the United States Constitution. The action in Iraq cost our nation over 4,000 lives, many times that number in lost limbs and shattered mental health, and over $1 trillon. Libya cost our nation no lives, was an action that took 10% of the time and less than $1 billion (about 0.01% of the war in Iraq). The result of action is the only similarity.
The fourth paragraph advances an argument that manages to tie Hollywood, the news media, and Democrats into a vast liberal conspiracy. The Rational Middle will not restate the criticisms leveled by conservatives in the wake of then First Lady Hillary Clinton’s statements in the opposite.
Resolved that: The current administration and Democrat majority in the Senate, in conjunction with Progressive socialists from all around the country, especially those from Hollywood and the left leaning news media (Indeed, most of the news media.) have worked in unison to advance an anti-business, an anti-free market, and an anti-capitalist (anti-individual rights and property ownership) agenda.
The Rational Middle will not attempt to debunk the entirety of the “anti-,anti-, anti-” premise; that happens with regularity in this space.
  1. It needs to be stated that negative coverage of President Obama has never been higher, and that a clear bias in favor of conservative candidates exists, per this recent study.
  2. The Rational Middle would also ask why citizens in a democracy should not be allowed to advance agendas through democratic action. The Constitution does not establish a government by the business, of the business, and for the business.
  3. It is a matter of deep public debate, with no clear majority on either side, about whether it is progressivism or conservatism that is more closely aligned with the protection of individual rights. It is not immediately apparent that such an argument, so clearly not decided, can be the foundation for a charge of treason.
The fifth paragraph turns the argument from establishment liberal figures to the protests called Occupy…
Resolved that: Our President, the Democrats-Socialists, most of the media, and most of those from Hollywood, have now encouraged and supported “Occupy” demonstrations in our streets, which are now being perpetrated across the globe, and which are being populated by various marxists, socialists and even communists, and are protesting against business, private property ownership and capitalism, something I thought I’d never see in my country, in my lifetime.
The Rational Middle responds:
  1. It is a fundamental right and practice with long and sanctified history, that people should protest. Americans have the right, enshrined in the Constitution, to redress of their grievance; participants in a real market economy have the right to express, in public, their dissatisfaction with business and industry. Consumers vote with their feet.
  2. The notion that an individual or group who claims to embrace the Constitution, and who claims to be willing to fight for liberty, would ever qualify protests as being “perpetrating”. They are not crimes any more than the Tea Party assemblies that built the foundation of groups like Tea Party Nation.
The Final paragraph prescribes a remedy.
I, an American small business owner, part of the class that produces the vast majority of real, wealth producing jobs in this country, hereby resolve that I will not hire a single person until this war against business and my country is stopped.
The Rational Middle refutes the substance of the previous statement:
  1. America has 150 million workers; America had close to 164 million workers before the housing bubble collapsed and the resulting collapse in demand caused layoffs on an epic scale. Just over 6 million folks fit the description “owner”. The rest, the producers and consumers in the economy, are at least as important to the equation (thus the term, equation). Regardless of ideology, one cannot live without another.
  2. As to the idea that small business is the producer of the “vast majority of jobs…”; it is complete and easily quantifiable bunk. As of 2008, firms with less than 19 employees employed about 21 million Americans, or less than 15%. Even moving the goalposts up to include firms with less than 100 workers only takes the number to about 30%.
  3. In a democracy, it is certainly Melissa Brookstone’s country, but it is also, just as certainly, mine. One person, one vote, no matter how much money one thinks they are worth in the economy.
In the United States, one may embrace capitalism, socialism, a mixed economy, or ancient aliens. It is a democracy. In the United States, one might protest health care reform while wearing sidearms. or one might protest corporate profit-taking and lobbying while unarmed. This is a democracy, and the one certainty one must have, the one reality one must accept, is that not every policy or law will be written the way one wants. If you don’t like that, then you are an American…protest. If you refuse to accept it, then you have lost what it means to be an American, and are simply screaming in demand of a dictatorship of your own choosing.
The Rational Middle is listening…

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