I sat in my History class with eyes and ears more focused than ever I could remember before.
“So, let’s talk about this little Presidential election,” the professor began, with a smile on his face- a smile which only grew wider as hands instantly shot up all around the lecture room.
Just then, a student entered through the backdoor, and immediately made his way to the front. He pulled the confused professor aside, and whispered with urgency into his curious ear.
The frown forming on his face left everyone in suspense.
“I’ve just been informed that there’s been a violent fight on campus,” he explained. “Between Democrats and Republicans.”
The year was 2004, and relations between the 2 parties were tense. Our county was at war, our parties were at war…the blue and red citizens of this nation were at war, and in that moment, in my History class, I could only think to myself, Why can’t a moderate 3rd party exist? These are words I have found myself, and many other moderates, uttering wishfully over and over again the last few years.
So, it is with great pain that the fanatical Tea Party Patriots succeeded where us moderates could not. This grassroots movement, while in existence to destroy “Obamanation” and un-seat every Democrat in office, also has the motivation and potential- however slight- to become a true 3rd party at least for the next few years.
Even though the thought of this is a frightening one due to their documented racial slurs and leanings toward violence, the Tea Party’s rise to power can only, in the end, mean good things for moderates.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that this group of self-proclaimed “activists” is so popular.
This country has always run on the fierce competition of the Democrat and Republican Parties. They exist, because, in a successful democracy, the people need options. No one view, no one person, no one party or body of government should have absolute sovereign-level power. The 2 party system helps to upkeep this ideal.
But instead of having two loving “parents,” who, while partners, engage in great debate for the well-being of their child, we have 2 parents who demonize each other so much, the child does not know who to trust, and, worst yet, when the child does pick a side, he will have no choice, but to hate the other parent without reason, because he’s been conditioned to. Even if that parent informs the child the oven must be kept off at night while they sleep, the child will fight to keep the oven on, even though, logically, it will mean his demise.
Loyalty to country has been turned to blind loyalty to party, and Democrats and Republicans have engaged in a childish war of name calling and fear mongering to keep opposition against each other at dangerous levels.
Take these recent incidents as an example.
Texas Republican Rep. Randy Neugebauer interrupted Representative Bart Stupak’s speech by shouting “baby killer” on the House floor during talks about health care. During Obama’s speech to Congress in September, Rep. Joe Wilson shouted, “Liar!” This was seen as completely disrespectful, and yet, he received plenty of wonderful letters praising his actions. Republican friends of mine proclaimed, “Good job!” and “You’re my hero!” in his name afterward. The Democrats, while recently lacking public outbursts such as these, but shamelessly cashing in on them, aren’t much better, claiming that Republicans personally don’t want Americans to even have health care at all. During the Bush Administration, I knew some Republicans who were afraid to admit their party allegiance for fear of name calling and confrontation by Democrats.
With party leaders claiming a victory for the other side could mean “Armageddon,” it comes as no surprise that regular citizens can no longer act civil toward a member of an opposing party. Right after the health bill was passed, a Republican friend of mine posted as her Facebook status message, “Whoever is a Democrat on my friend list better drop me before I #$%^ you up!” It was as if brother and brother were going to take up arms against one another. Is this what this country has come to? A state of mentality that existed in 1861?
This is what happens when a fanatical radio host is the unofficial leader of the Republican party.
So, it’s no wonder we’ve been seeing such an absurd level of main stream fanaticism, which the Tea Party has emerged to fully embody.
Members of congress that supported the heath care legislation reported threats of violence against them by Tea Partiers. The gas line of Democratic Rep. Tom Perriello’s brother was severed after a Tea Party activist posted the home address on his blog thinking it was the Representative’s home. Recently, Sarah Palin, who is immensely popular in the Tea Party, used gun imagery to excite determination from her followers. “The crossfire is intense, so penetrate through enemy territory by bombing through the press, and use your strong weapons — your Big Guns — to drive to the hole. Shoot with accuracy; aim high and remember it takes blood, sweat and tears to win,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
Tea Party leaders claim violence isn’t a part of their repertoire, yet using gun imagery is the preferred method of motivation?
The Tea Party is an embarrassment to this country. It is the child who picked a side between 2 never ending bickering parents, and has grown up to be angry and hateful, and it is only a matter of time before he does something truly awful.
For this reason, moderates yearn for a 3rd party capable of rational thought over the poor logic that blind party allegiance often evokes. For the sake of such a dream, I sadly believe that the rise of the fanatical Tea Party is a necessary evil.
Let’s face it. No matter how remarkable of an achievement it was for Barrack Obama to become the 1st black President of the United States, he has the debacle of the Bush administration to thank. There had been the fanatical loss of many rights in the name of protection after 911. We suddenly entered into a controversial war, which we are still not seeing an end to. Constant questions of torture, deceit and spying on citizens were rampant. Not to mention our economy suddenly laid in ruins. The country felt like things deteriorated so bad, it was time for extraordinary change.
And what happened? Only a historic Presidential election, and a big shift of power to the Democrats. Many Republicans gave their vote to the “enemy,” as brother and brother stood side-by-side, reason finally victorious in the wake of desperation. The 1st African American President is simply the inevitable rainbow after a torrential storm.
The recent Coffee Party, so far, most resembles the ideals of a moderate party. It was obviously created as the polar opposite of the Tea Party. According to their website, the Coffee Party USA “aims to reinvigorate the public sphere, drawing from diverse backgrounds and diverse perspectives, with the goal of expanding the influence of the People in America’s political arena. We do not require nor adhere to any preexisting ideology. We encourage deliberation guided by reason amongst the many viewpoints held by our members.”
Only time will tell if this holds true.
But, right now, the Coffee Party is in no way as popular as the Tea Party. Fanaticism is too overshadowing at present, and it will only be a matter of time before a brick gets thrown through the wrong window, or, God forbid, something worse happens. It is with a complete breakdown of reason that this country will then look itself in the mirror and see that it’s on the wrong path. The only question is how long will this take? How far are we willing to let fanaticism go?
Democrats and Republicans hate each other so much, that hate bore a child capable of violence and even greater hate.
Thus will a moderate party be the voice of reason after this storm of fanaticism.