The Adolescent Nature of the Tea Party

I’ve been thinking this, but my brother said it first and better than I would have.

Have you ever seen one of those adolescent males, maybe 20 years old, who loves The Matrix too much? He’s the guy who has gotten it into his head that if he just drapes his too-skinny or too-pudgy body in a full-length leather coat … why, then surely he looks just like Keanu Reeves and can date Carrie-Anne Moss.

That was rather my impression of the GOP’s new Pledge to America… The one which clumsily tries to evoke the Declaration of Independence ….

… Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.*

Okay, so the GOP has no one who can write like Thomas Jefferson. Who does anymore? But… [h]ow do you get from the ringing challenge of “it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government” to the mewling “institute a new governing agenda”?

You get there by indulging your fantasies of 1775, even while recognizing that the comparison is just beyond ridiculous. Even for the people who can write the absurdities above (only a bare sample, I assure you), the Declaration is an embarrassment to them, because they simply are not oppressed the way their ancestors were.

Oh, they feel oppressed, no doubt about it. And they certainly do imagine themselves as modern day Sam Adamses and Paul Reveres, bravely standing up to tyranny. But when they begin to state the causes of their discontent, the truth is so embarrassing that they have to scramble and scratch for some formulation that won’t invite, no, demand ridicule.

The colonists famously rebelled against “taxation without representation.” Our GOP revolts against losing free and fair elections. They dream of themselves as heroic Sons of Liberty, bravely pledging their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor against a tyrannical government; in reality, they whine because they don’t get their way every time. But they can’t say that out loud. So they…lie instead

Well said. Hey, I don’t like what’s going on, either. But I think this equation of “we lost the election” with “we don’t have any representation in government” just shows how thoughtless and spoiled the Tea Party movement is. I remember listening to some students who had met with the President of their university so they could register their protest against some proposed course of action. When he took that course of action, they were bitter and complained that he didn’t even listen to them, although he spent a couple hours in his office with them. I think they actually got my point when I explained that being able to participate in the system did not mean you would always win, and that they knew full well that there were other students–as well as alums–who supported the president’s action.

They were young, just college students, and it was probably a true learning experience for them–exactly the kind of experience college students should get. The Tea Partiers haven’t learned that lesson yet. They think the only fair system is the one they win. That’s an adolescent concept.

_______________________________
* This is undoubtedly true, but it’s true in the sense of “whenever my motor oil gets old and gunky it is my right to change it” is true. Nobody’s arguing the other side. It’s a protest against something that isn’t happening.

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About J@m3z Aitch

J@m3z Aitch is a two-bit college professor who'd rather be canoeing.
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10 Responses to The Adolescent Nature of the Tea Party

  1. pinky says:

    .
    Right!
    .
    But, at this point in time, I don’t think the Tea Party is all that well organized. But, it does seem to be a Republican Party creation designed to capture unsuspecting and otherwise confused voters who would otherwise vote for Democrats or not vote at all.
    .
    I guess, if I were giving advice along these lines, I would recommend that people who are dissatisfied with the government’s current policies, join in the Tea Party movement and to make their voice heard at meetings and rallies. At present, it appears the movement is aimed mostly at the politically dissatisfied. Who, may I ask, is satisfied?

  2. D.A. Ridgely says:

    Who, may I ask, is satisfied?

    Elected officials.

  3. James Hanley says:

    Pinky,

    Mere dissatisfaction isn’t sufficient. There will always be extensive dissatisfaction because there are very few policies on which there is anything like unanimous agreement–or if there are a lot, they will draw no attention and the focus will be on those were there is disagreement.

    Corollary to that, we will be dissatisfied for different reasons. I can’t join the Tea Partiers despite my intense dissatisfaction because a) most of their issues aren’t mine and b) those issues of theirs that are mine are my secondary and tertiary issues.

    Perhaps their greatest delusion, beyond thinking they are modern day equivalents of Patrick Henry, etc., is believing that there is such a thing as “the public” and they are it.

  4. Pingback: The Adolescent Nature of the Tea Party | The One Best Way | Taxation Without Representation

  5. Scott Hanley says:

    it does seem to be a Republican Party creation

    Perhaps more accurate to say co-opted by the Republican Party, although it happened so fast as to be invisible to anyone who blinked at the wrong moment.

  6. ppnl says:

    Perhaps more accurate to say co-opted by the Republican Party, although it happened so fast as to be invisible to anyone who blinked at the wrong moment.

    I think it would be more accurate to say the tea party is the bastard child of the republican party. They are an unintended consequence of a long time republican strategy. Republicans fear the tea party.

    Starting with at least the southern strategy republicans have sought to gain the votes of those disaffected by the ongoing cultural upheaval. This created a party base from hell. As long as it could be controlled it was a very powerful base of very loyal voters. This is what creates the authoritarian nature of the republican party.

    The problem with George Bush is not that he was to conservative or power hungry or whatever. The irony is that Bush’s problem was that he was not an authoritarian and he was seen as a failure. He lost any illusion of moral or intellectual authority and so failed to control the monster. As a result we have the tea party composed of very dissimilar monster parts desperately looking for someone to follow blindly and make them whole.

    So far the best they can do is Sarah Palin and Glen Beck.

    So I ask the same question that I asked in the other thread. Why couldn’t congress repeal DADT given that the majority of both parties want it repealed?

  7. James Hanley says:

    co-opted by the Republican Party

    the tea party is the bastard child of the republican party.

    The bastard child that the parent has been eager to adopt, but which keeps snubbing dear ol’ dad?

  8. ppnl says:

    The bastard child that the parent has been eager to adopt, but which keeps snubbing dear ol’ dad?

    Well not so much “adopt” as chain it up in the basement. Still the monster will gladly go as soon as someone can reconstruct the illusion of moral and intellectual authority that Bush lost.

  9. Mark Boggs says:

    I get the sense as soon as the republicans have control of either the congress or the executive branch, much of this dissatisfaction will disappear. Things probably won’t even be that much different from 01-09, with same amounts of gluttonous spending, but not having the legislature controlled by communists or the executive controlled by an uppity, Kenyan-born, anti-colonial, fascist, and communist means that all will be right with the world again.

  10. James K says:

    co-opted by the Republican Party

    the tea party is the bastard child of the republican party.

    The bastard child that the parent has been eager to adopt, but which keeps snubbing dear ol’ dad?

    I feel like I’m about to have a Bernard Woolley moment.

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