The Republicans are gathering again in Iowa this weekend at the Family Leadership Conference. Right Wing Watch compiled a list of speakers, and I as looked down it, I couldn’t help but wish there existed a fairy dust bomb we could explode in the atmosphere that would make their hearts all grow three sizes, and their dicks shrink two. That’s how you can tell I’m a Democrat. Had I been a Republican faced with a Left Wing rally for peace, or immigration, or LGBT rights, I’d be wishing for an assault rifle.
Right Wing Watch noted the Family Leadership conference this way:
“For anyone who anticipates that Republican presidential candidates will move towards the center in 2016, this weekend’s festivities are a very loud wake up call.”
Just who are these people who believe the Tea Party is ever going to move to the center? I swear, every time a pundit says “The Republicans will have to pass an immigration bill because demographic changes threaten their electability.” Tim Russert rolls over in his grave mumbling “idiot.”
I’m in a mood today to say what most everyone knows in their heart to be true, yet rarely admits aloud. The Republican Party of Karl Rove is now a wholly owned subsidiary of the Tea Party. The Tea Party accomplished this takeover by instilling in every elected Republican a testicle-shrinking fear of a primary challenger coming at him from the right. The Republicans of old, except for Ronald Reagan, who they like to pretend shared their stone-hearted philosophy, are no longer relevant.
This new Tea Party controlled Republican Party does not want to attract any “ethnic” people to its membership. They do not want black people to join. They do not want Hispanics to join. They do not want people who aren’t Christian, and they especially do not want Muslims. They do not want women who don’t know how to be “demure” and “feminine”, and they do not want new gay Republicans. To the contrary, they have done everything but put a plank in the party platform pledging to reinstate sodomy laws, trying to make the Log Cabin Republicans feel disrespected enough to go away and play with their own kind. Or better yet, to go visit Russia.
That said, nothing pisses off a Tea Party member more than being called a bigot. I understand the argument. To a true Tea Partier, someone’s skin color or social status is not the deciding factor of their “acceptability”. They like, and genuinely admire, refined, classical piano playing, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who believed in “American exceptionalism”, a philosophy Tea Partiers believe means, “Do what we want, or we will drone your ass.” They adore Justice Clarence Thomas, who thinks affirmative action is an insult to blacks. And they practically had public orgasms when former congressman Allen West called out the NAACP, President Obama, and told liberals to “Get the hell out of the United States.”
The Tea Party accepts black people who in their minds, “think like white people.” Same with Latinos. They like Marco Rubio just fine, as long as he doesn’t try to cross the amnesty line. Tea Partiers proffer the argument: if they are fine with a few people of color, it proves they couldn’t possibly be racist, even if they gleefully circulate photoshopped images of President Obama with a bone through his nose.
That doesn’t mean I’m pronouncing the Tea Party a misunderstood group of ecumenical goodwill. To the Tea Party “acceptable” members of minority groups are an exception. Some of them would say a “rare exception.” They see everyone else as “takers.”
For some reason, news commentators are fond of isolating the issues of the day. Republicans and immigration. Republicans and voter suppression. Republicans and marriage equality. Republicans and women’s rights. But in the real world, these issues are all connected; all part of the larger vision the Tea Party has for America, and they should be discussed that way. They are all separate battles in a larger war for all the marbles.
When the Tea Partiers talk about “taking my country back”, it’s true they yearn for a time when white made right. But it isn’t true that they want to go back to slavery, or ship black citizens “back to Africa.” They think there is a way to return to a time when people of color stayed in their ethnic ghettos and white people had the rest of the country to themselves, and in their minds, everyone got along just fine. Mexicans were content to stay in Mexico, except during harvest season, and there was no need to “push 2 for Spanish.” Women had dinner on the table by six and deferred to her husband at all times, and was judged by how clean she kept her kitchen and how many babies she pushed out. Dad was king of the castle, because he made the money, and because he was the man. And of course, the family spent every Sunday together in church, with neighbors who were just like them.
That vision cannot be accomplished by embracing diversity.
The Tea Party would rather lose, while adhering to their vision, than win by compromising. The way they steered the Romney race right, right, right off the highway, shows their commitment. They would rather lose than bend, but they don’t intend to lose. Intellectually, they know demographic changes threaten them, but they don’t see the answer as changing themselves to be more attractive to minorities.
The plan is to overcome the diversity advantage. That’s why felons can’t vote, and states are passing onerous ID laws, cutting down on early voting and ending same day registration. That’s why they have gerrymandered out of their districts every last liberal household they possibly could. That’s why they are trying to break the unions, who act as the foot soldiers who help Democrats get out the vote. That’s why Acorn had to go.
Once in power, they hope to enact laws that will make it unattractive for undocumented residents to stay. No public school or college education. No admittance to hospitals beyond the ER. Stop and search and papers on demand with no probable cause besides the officer’s suspicion needed. I’ve even heard no airplane travel mentioned, except “back to where they came from”. They are always quick to add that exception. New legal restrictions are the mechanism to accomplishing the “self-deportation” Mitt Romney was derided for mentioning. He just knew it wouldn’t help him politically to spell it out.
The Tea Party vision is to establish a “Christian Country”. But they have adopted a modern standard of Christian conduct, where everyone is armed just as Jesus and the apostles would have been, had firearms been an option in 18 AD. Things would have gone a lot differently for Judas and Pontius Pilate if Jesus and his boys had been packing AK-47s.
Those who want public schools, and there are many who don’t, want them to teach a Christian curriculum, and students to be led daily in Christian prayer. They aren’t going to insist every student join in. They are willing to tolerate other faiths in the name of freedom of religion. But they want non-Christians to do their misguided worshiping quietly. In a Tea Party country, their Christian way would be the government sanctioned way, and all laws great and small would have to be in agreement with the Christian bible.
They want Baby Jesus in their school’s Christmas pagent. This seems important to them. They want schools where science takes a back seat to Bible studies. Where evolution is given the same weight as creationism. And where bullies are given a pass provided they are motivated by a deeply held religious belief that suspected gay kids should be given swirlies.
In a Tea Party America, taxes should never go to improve the lives of citizens. They believe government benefits make people lazy. They suspect everyone is on the take. Everyone is looking for ways to cheat.
Though the concept may have been culled directly from the preamble of their favorite document, the U.S. Constitution, but Teaists are not believers in promoting the “general welfare.” If you lose your job, they truly believe giving you unemployment benefits will just make you slow to look for a new one. If your children are in desperate need of food, or shelter, or healthcare? That saddens them, and on a personal level, they may reach into their pockets to help. But they are opposed to the government offering any relief. They call it “redistributing wealth”. Making sure your baby’s belly is full should not be the government’s concern. Taxes are for bombs and soldiers, and executing criminals, not for school lunches and Head Start. In a Tea Party America, not a dime would go to help the “takers.”
You have probably noticed the Tea Party uses the word “freedom” as if Americans were not already free. They have a sincere belief that they were given the planet by God, and they have the right to use it in anyway they please. They reject responding to climate change, because they consider such things as the realm of God; the planet will be as warm as he wants it to be. Some even think Earth can magically heal itself of pollution, which ironically is probably true. It’s just that how Earth will heal itself is by divesting the planet of the human infestation poisoning it.
They also believe in ownership rights. If you own your business, there should be no government telling you who you can or can’t hire or fire, or who you have to serve. They believe the government has no place in saying how much you have to pay an employee, much less how long you can work him, or how many bathroom breaks he can have. If you’re a baker, and a nondiscrimination law makes you bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, to the Tea Party way of thinking, you are not a free citizen.
The Tea Party has a hope that if they can just capture all the levers of power, the House, the Senate, the White House and the Supreme Court, they can stall modernity. More than a few of them are ready to take up arms in the cause, though except for the TSA, who they think of as President Obama’s private army, I’m unclear who they plan to shoot. It’s a grand vision, and they are executing it while our political pundits pretend they are merely a bunch of conservative leaning folks who are concerned about the deficit.
- Women across America have lost reproductive freedoms.
- Voters have lost power because of gerrymandered districts and new voting restrictions.
- Anti-gay amendments to state constitutions now retard the spread of marriage equality.
- Unions have been weakened.
- And then there’s the sequester…
If it’s true that “By their fruits ye will know them”, the Tea Party fruits are rotten to the core. The Tea Party infested Republicans are no longer the “loyal opposition” keeping a check on power. It’s time we start talking about them as the threat to domestic tranquility that they have become.
Photos are all from the Tea Party Facebook Page
Jean Ann Esselink is a straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.