Tea Party. Two words that not only get people talking but polarize opinions into politically opposite fields. One of these fields often associates the Tea Party with racism, extremism, nativism, etc. Well, just about every negative “ism” in the book. This is a rather close-minded view. The Tea Party is a genuine grassroots movement that began because of the reckless government activity from the Bush Republicans and today’s Obama Administration. Today the movement has become an intellectual group in American politics. Yet to understand the origin of the Tea Party, people have to understand what the U.S. is going through.
People are angry and the movement was their way to express themselves. According to a recent Gallup poll, 18.5 percent of the U.S. population is underemployed (population of Americans who only work part time but want to work full time or are unemployed). As I wrote in my recent columns, the debt is almost $14 trillion dollars. So you add up the unemployment rate, the huge debt and deficit and the different radical government activities and you get an angry movement. However, “angry” doesn’t mean that the Tea Party movement only bases itself on this anger. The movement began out of this anger but now has evolved into a politically intellectual movement. They have elected candidates such as Rand Paul, Ken Buck, Joe Miller and others who view the country in a conservative way. They believe that government ought to go back to its foundations.
Joe Miller is a perfect example. His campaign website explains his opinion on government spending. Miller writes that he “will work to limit Washington to the constitutional powers anticipated by our Founders” (http://joemiller.us/issues). The Founders created a small government that had little centralized powers in order to not tyrannize the masses. Tea Partiers like Miller believe that the government ought to go back to the Constitution. For example, Miller also believes “the only answer is to return our federal government to the limits prescribed by our Constitution. Federal powers not specified in the Constitution are reserved to the States by the 10th Amendment.”
Now don’t get me wrong. There are also some not so appealing faces of the Tea Party. One example is Sharron Angle, who is running against Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada. She has made outrageous statements. According to the Washington Post in a June 15, 2010 article, Sharron Angle is cited as saying, ”if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies” (http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plumline/2010/06/sharron_angle_floated_possibil.html). In addition to Mrs. Angle is Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell who recently made a political ad saying, “I’m not a witch. I’m you.”
Like every movement, you have positives and negatives. The positives are that people are active in politics and are trying to make a difference. The negatives are that people like Angle and O’Donnell got elected. However, people have to stop demonizing the movement and understand where it’s coming from. These are not people interested in bigotry but who focus largely on spending. For instance, The New York Times conducted a poll on the Tea Party and it reported that “8 in 10 say that they are more concerned with economic issues” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/us/politics/15poll.html). Just hear the movement out and then judge. Be fair.