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And, yes, I DO take it personally: I was wondering when I'd see a liberal/progressive wake up to a commonality with Tea Partiers
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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I was wondering when I'd see a liberal/progressive wake up to a commonality with Tea Partiers

there's a lot that disturbs me about the tea partiers, not the least of which is their homogeneous make-up - white, male, christian, for the most part... i do share, however, their concern for our continuing slide into fascism, highlighted by the erosion of constitutional rights and the complete failure to hold anyone accountable for unconstitutional and illegal actions on the part of our government...

i've recently been wondering why so many in the so-called liberal/progressive ranks, with the exception of glenn greenwald and a few others, have failed to see - or chosen to ignore - that our slide into a fascist dictatorship has continued unabated and, in fact, actually accelerated under obama... these same people, myself included, were screaming bloody murder when bush was in office...

i'd also been wondering why i've heard so little lately about naomi wolf, a very outspoken critic of abuses under the bush administration and a vocal proponent of a return to the principles of our founders and the rule of law... now, i admit, i haven't gone chasing ms. wolf so my lack of current information is purely my own fault... it's interesting, though, that this should now surface in my morning's reading...

naomi wolf talks about how she views the tea party movement...

To be sure, the Tea Party’s brand of aggrieved populism – and its composition of mostly white, angry, middle-class voters – has deep roots in the United States, flaring up during times of change. But observers who have drawn comparisons to the Know-Nothings, the racist, paranoid, anti-Catholic, and anti-immigrant party that surged in the 1850’s, are reading the movement far too superficially.

Indeed, those who deride and dismiss this movement do so at their peril. While some Tea Partiers may be racist or focused on eccentric themes – such as the validity of Barack Obama’s birth certificate – far more of them, those who were part of the original grass-roots effort, are focused on issues that have merit. If you actually listen to them, instead of just reading accounts transmitted through the distorting mirror of the mainstream media, you hear grievances that are profound, as well as some proposals that are actually ahead of their time.

For example, Tea Party activists, using a group called End the Fed, were among the first to focus critical attention on the unelected and unaccountable US Federal Reserve Board. Now legislation is being put forward to establish greater transparency at the Fed – surely a laudable outcome.

While those attracted to the Tea Party movement are a diverse group, some common themes emerge. They see a struggle for the soul of the Tea Party between true libertarians, who are worried about individual liberties, and traditional conservatives.

naomi wolf talks to alternet about how ingrown liberals and progressives have become...
Frankly, liberals are out of the habit of communicating with anyone outside their own ... cohort. We have a cultural problem with self-righteousness and elitism. Liberals roll their eyes about going on "Oprah" to reach a mass audience by using language that anyone can understand even if you majored in semiotics at Yale. We look down on people we don’t agree with. It doesn’t serve us well.

There is also a deliberate building up of two camps that benefits from whipping up home team spirit and demonizing the opposition. With the Internet there is even more fractioning since we are in echo chambers. With so much propaganda it is hard to calm down enough to listen.


I used to think “End the Fed people” were crackpots. The media paints them as deranged. But it turned out we had good reason to have more oversight. Or take their platform about states’ rights. Demographically, I’m a hippie from San Francisco and I’m not culturally inclined to be sympathetic to states' rights. My cultural heritage is FDR and Medicare and federal government solutions. But if you think through the analysis, strengthening state rights is a good corrective of the aggregation of an over-reaching federal power. Take California’s challenge of the Patriot Act or states like Vermont leading the way with addressing the corruption of the voting system. It’s a good example of the Tea Party thinking out of the box on how to address a problem.

i think anybody who takes the time to step back and see the bigger picture will see that the current state of extreme polarization in the u.s. is a carefully-crafted scheme to keep us focused on each other as "the enemy" rather than seeing our super-rich elite handlers for what they are, greed-besotted, power and control mad monsters who don't give a tiny crap for anybody other than themselves...

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