Looking for Common Ground When There’s Nothing In Common.


They say they're not racists, so why is there so much racism around them?


A friend of mine who’s usually leans so far to the Left she makes me feel like Clarence Thomas serving lemonade at a country club said something the other night that honestly shocked me.  She said she thought the Tea Party protestors were just standing up for the Constitution and had Barack Obama pretty much pegged as a 14-karat phony.   She then said, all this talk about the Tea Partiers being riddled with racists was equally bogus because after all nobody actually heard anyone call Rep.  John Lewis a “nigger” or saw someone spit on another Black Congressman. 

Do some people reach a point in their political development where they’ve gone so far to the Left they have nowhere else to go but to The Right?    Makes me wonder. 

So it got me thinking.  Could there be something–anything—that I could actually have in common with a Tea Party member?   It’s not like I’ve ever actually sat down and talked to one.   

I’d like to think it doesn’t take another September 11 type of disaster to remind us what we have in common is far more important than what we disagree about, but as we Americans have so aptly demonstrated almost nine years later, division is so much more interesting than unity. 

We swap Democrats for Republicans for Democrats and Republicans and then wonder why everything stays pretty much the same. Obama runs on the public option and when he’s in the Big Chair he tosses it aside. Bush says he doesn’t believe in nation building and then turns around and sticks America with two unending wars. Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi’s are nobody’s idea of statesmen or profiles in courage. 

Both parties are bought and sold. The only difference is who is holding the receipt. 

The Tea Party issued it’s “hit list” of incumbents they want to defeat. Every last one of ’em a Democrat.  How does that happen if you really want to throw the bums out? There aren’t any Republican bums that need to be kicked to the curb too? 

So we replace Clinton with Bush and Bush with Obama and Obama with (fill in the blank) and all of them tell us how much better they’re gonna be than the jackass they’re replacing, but all they do is futz around the edges and leave the heavy lifting for somebody else. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a real “change” candidate who ever got within sneezing distance of the Oval Office. If there ever were such a person, someone would kill them. 

When in doubt who the real enemy go with whom you've been told the enemy is.


Some of it is our own fault. We don’t want anybody to tell us we have to pay more taxes or cut back dramatically in government services or that we can’t go tear-assing around the world solving everybody’s problem and making countries safe for another McDonald’s. We don’t want to make hard choices, unpopular decisions or tough calls. We want to sit back on our butts and assume “someone” is going to take care of whatever is wrong. 

It doesn’t seem to occur to us that “someone” might be us. 

This country needs more and better options than the Repubicrats and Democans. There are some real and systemic differences between the two parties, but both dance to the tune called by special interests, corporations and big shots who jealously protect their own turf and don’t give a good goddamn about the grubby masses they manipulate one way or the other. 

Business goes on as usual. 

If my friend honestly believes these people shouting in the street aren’t motivated by racial animus against the president, they sure seem to attract a lot of people that do.  Tell me again that’s only a few rotten apples and how they aren’t representative  of the movement’s larger goals.   I still can’t shake the funny vibe they aren’t mad about the same things I’m mad about.    I don’t see that much outrage from the Tea Party about poverty, social injustice, unchecked corporate power, and the way the country is divided by class even more than it is by race and sex.  

 I’m not interested in knocking down a few trees when the whole damn forest needs to be burnt down.  Washington is a sewer where money flows in and sludge flows out.  On that point I can understand what these predominantly White, well-off and conservative people are upset about. 

I’m just wondering why now?   Why are bailouts for bankers and automakers so much more infuriating than being lied into a war, waterboarding and domestic spying on American citizens?   Why is Barack Obama so much of a clear and present danger to America after two years than George Bush over eight? 

There’s only one reason I come up with to explain why, but it’s a reason my friend tells me is just the media has blown way out of proportion.    I would really  like to believe my friend is right, but to do so would mean I have to ignore the evidence of my own eyes and ears and accept that John Lewis is lying.    But if he’s not that can only mean one thing: she’s wrong and my first impression is the correct one:  I don’t have much of anything in common with the Tea Partiers and I probably never will.  

Maybe we both want a revolution, but for very different reasons and certainly with much different results.