No tea for me, thank you

May 13, 2010

Every so often I have to go off on a rant. This is one of those times.

I consume my news selectively, because if I really got a hold of what’s going on in the world I’d be plunged into a very deep depression. Really, I don’t access news stories in depth very often.

However, I couldn’t resist looking at some of the video footage taken during interviews with the so-called tea party protesters, and then, I couldn’t get what I heard off my mind.

What I heard was FRUSTRATION. I accept that. I understand it. I’m frustrated, too. Government is corrupt. More transparency is needed. Reform is overdue.

What bothers me so much is that it’s frustration without rational thought. Frustration without reason behind it. Misplaced frustration. Pure emotion. In many of the interviews I’ve seen, they can’t even articulate a cogent position. It’s all just meaningless buzz words.

I don’t question their feelings about government. They’re legitimate. I question the logic and wisdom of their approach.

Yes, in the 1960s, the SDS used the same approach. But equally wrong.

I heard one protester say that the nation should do away with Social Security. But she hadn’t thought it through. No suggestion in its place, just “do away with it.” And yet I know beyond all doubt that if this 30-something gets to be my age and has absolutely nothing saved for retirement, she’ll wish she had it.

Another spoke supportively of expanding drilling rights. That certainly looks different today, as our Gulf Coast faces destruction that will take decades to repair. And if that person is dependent upon the Gulf and its related industries for his livelihood, I’ll bet his tune is completely different today. Just weeks later.

No health care provision? What happens when that person or a loved one loses a job and gets a serious illness? When they owe hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical and hospital bills? Will their position change? Of course it will.

Do they realize that younger people’s health insurance premiums subsidize those of less-healthy middle-aged and older Americans? That if they actually had to pay the true cost, they couldn’t afford it? No. They haven’t thought past the moment.

It’s easy to be a member of “the party of no” when you already have yours. Or think you have. Or are too young to really get hold of what is involved in paying for services. Or don’t get how the system works.

Think is a key word, because I don’t believe many of the tea party protesters actually have thought anything through. They are just knee-jerking.

They sound stupid because, frankly, many of them ARE stupid. Just listen to them. They can’t think beyond the “me” of the moment. There’s no logic or reason. There are no workable alternatives being offered. Just child-like thoughts of destroying everything because the system’s broken.

Shoot me if you must, but the idea of pulling the entire system down with nothing to replace it is just plain stupid.

And guess what: the system’s always been broken.

People like Sarah Palin who incite emotion without reason have no place in public life. Our saving grace now is that she isn’t likely to run for office. (Why do people forget she resigned the office she was elected to because it was “too hard” but really because she wanted to capitalize on her 15 minutes of fame and make her millions? And she has, thanks to her “fans.”)

Fox News? Same thing. They are a reprehensible example of how far our media institutions have come from pure journalism.

The problem is that officials may be elected and policy decisions made on the basis of this misplaced, emotional frustration incited by extreme partisans and based on half-truths or lies.

And that’s a scary thing.

A wise man I know says it’s much easier to throw a bomb and blow things up than it is to pick up a hammer to fix things.

(Forgive me the top visual. It was just too good not to use.)

2 comments on “No tea for me, thank you
  1. Michelle | Bleeding Espresso says:

    Well said 🙂

  2. I love this post…in fact I like your whole blog. I also consume my news selectively and sometimes have to take time off from it all together. Depressing yes, and frustrating. What is wrong with the human race? Tea Bag people scare me…I happen to have a friend who goes to the gatherings…all her information comes from Fox News..but when I ask her why she likes Sara Pallin her only reason seems to be that ‘she is a regular person’…good grief, I just don’t get it.
    I like it best when they say things like, “We don’t need government funding our health care.” but they want their medicare. I heard one woman say, “if everyone has health care the lines will be too long.” Now there is a compassionate soul….Thanks for sharing the wise man’s wise quote…enjoy..

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