The true hypocrisy of the Tea Party movement
Sure, I understand the whole concept of “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore.” I’m a kid of the 60’s, remember? Been there, done that, can’t say won’t do it again.
But the Tea Party is another story. The New York Times has an interesting take on exactly who are the people who are fueling the movement. They make me think of cake. I just can’t decide if they remind me of Marie Antoinette (yeah, I know, it’s in dispute whether she actually said “Let them eat cake,” but work with me here) or whether they bring to mind the old cliche about having your cake and eating it too.
Apparently, the movement’s membership has been greatly swelled by newly unemployed people with time and anger to spare. They happily collect their unemployment insurance and social security benefits, as they stomp for less government involvement and fewer entitltlements. Of course, their rationale is that they paid into these systems, they are allowed to now collect. But, why aren’t they ranting that the systems themselves should never have existed in the first place? After all, what’s the difference between government mandating that you pay FICA and other payroll taxes, and mandating that you buy health insurance?
The sense of entitlement as they rant against entitlements is astonishing:
Mr. Grimes, who receives Social Security, has filled the back seat of his Mercury Grand Marquis with the literature of the movement, including Glenn Beck’s “Arguing With Idiots” and Frederic Bastiat’s “The Law,” which denounces public benefits as “false philanthropy.”
“If you quit giving people that stuff, they would figure out how to do it on their own,” Mr. Grimes said.
Uh huh. Everyone on welfare could have had jobs, but chose not to, we all know that. And all those folks showing up at emergency rooms and charity clinics, they’d find a way to heal themselves if we didn’t give them this publicly-funded outlet. Actually, what they’d all probably do is die — which would probably make Mr. Grimes quite happy, more for him.
But the example that really got me was that of Diana Reimer, a 67 year old woman who is a full-time Tea Party organizer and activist. Her husband was forced to retire, and they couldn’t sell their house because it was worth less than the mortgage payments. She was luckier than many — she found a job. And then:
She had taken a job selling sportswear at Macy’s. But when her husband found her up early and late taking care of Tea Party business, he urged her to take a leave. When the store did not allow one, she quit.
“I guess I just found my calling,” she said.
Let me get this straight: She found a job so that she could continue to make ends meet, then quit it so she could rail against the government? How did she have that luxury? Medicare and Social Security, those symbols of government intervention.
Reimer infuriates me. Jeff McQueen, an unemployed auto parts salesman who — surprise! — blames the government for his lost job, just befuddles me.
He blames the government for his unemployment. “Government is absolutely responsible, not because of what they did recently with the car companies, but what they’ve done since the 1980s,” he said. “The government has allowed free trade and never set up any rules.”
He and others do not see any contradictions in their arguments for smaller government even as they argue that it should do more to prevent job loss or cuts to Medicare. After a year of angry debate, emotion outweighs fact.
Okay, the Times just states the fact. I ask the question: HOW CAN HE NOT SEE THE CONTRADICTION???????
There is a ray of hope, though:
The fact that many of them joined the Tea Party after losing their jobs raises questions of whether the movement can survive an improvement in the economy, with people trading protest signs for paychecks.
Puts me in the awful position of wishing that these horrible folks would land well-paying jobs. Okay, I’ll compromise — give them work, lord, but make it backbreakingly unpleasant.