The silly tea parties redux

Off of the heels of the "tea party" last month, which was so successful that it influenced Congress to pass a $3.5 trillion budget, the partiers are at it again. On Wednesday, a bunch of follow-up tea parties are going to be taking place across the country, one of which will take place in Cincinnati. But apparently, some in the conservative media might be getting a bit worried about the success of these parties. Take Michelle Malkin (America's second favorite Malkin), writer for Pajamas Media - which, along with Fox News, is the "news" organization most responsible for pushing this whole thing - for example:

For the next 9 days, the left-wing blogosphere and left-wing clueless pundits will hammer away with their unreality-based Tea Party smears.

And on the ground, the tax-subsidized and Soros-subsidized troops are going to try and wreak havoc every way they can. Many readers and fellow bloggers have seen signs that ACORN may send in ringers and saboteurs to usurp the anti-tax, anti-reckless spending, anti-bailout message.

See, this way the tea partiers (or tea baggers as they're starting to refer to themselves as, and I wish I was making that up) get to have it both ways. If the parties have a large turnout, then they did it in spite of ACORN subversion. But if turnout is light, then those damned Soros funded uber-liberal organizations were responsible for the failure! Never mind that the executive director of ACORN has already gone on record saying that he has no idea what a tea party even is; I'm sure he's just saying that to throw people off his scent.

Now, to be fair, the Cincinnati tea party reportedly drew 4-5,000 protesters, some of which were actually from Cincinnati, did not bring signs that said things like Nobama's Bin Lyin, and refrained from threatening news organizations to the point that they feared for their safety. And they did this all at Fountain Square, a taxpayer funded venue patrolled by taxpayer funded policemen (reportedly the organizers compensated the city for their expenses - nevertheless, it would have made a bigger statement to have the rally on privately funded property, monitored by a private security company).

Still, what exactly is the purpose of these parties? If they're opposing higher taxes, well they're being lowered on 95% of the population already, and the top rate of 39.6% is well below that of the first six years of the Reagan administration. If it's opposition to the stimulus package, well that ship's already sailed. If it's about the CRA blowing the entire mortgage market (which combined with the ACORN complains comes thisclose to being nothing more than blaming the dirty poor people for all our problems), well that's already been so thoroughly debunked that anyone spouting that line needs to either do some research or admit that they're lying off their ass. If it's telling the city to refuse stimulus funding, I'm not really sure that the city has that power, but even if they do, go ahead and ask South Carolina governor Mark Sanford (who has become so unpopular that he's had to shoot a TV spot to defend his position) how that's working out. And if it's an opposition to large deficits, well, they all seemed pretty quiet while Bush was running up hundreds of billions of dollars in debt.

The answer to the above question seems to be...we don't really know. As Andrew Sullivan - hardly a dyed-in-the-wool liberal - said today, "These are not tea-parties. They are tea-tantrums. And the adolescent, unserious hysteria is a function not of a movement regrouping and refinding itself. It's a function of a movement's intellectual collapse and a party's fast-accelerating nervous breakdown."

This really leads to the entire problem with these tea parties; there really seems to be no purpose, other than letting off some steam (which I'm not necessarily opposed to). People will talk about the parties in the days leading up to them, and maybe they'll be discussed for a couple days afterwards, but then everyone will go back to their normal lives, and these parties will be pretty much forgotten.

So I guess my challenge to the partiers would be, if they're really serious about all of this, to actually get involved in their local and city governments, and find a way to change the system they're so angry at. Challenge your city/village/township council, talk with your elected officials, and even run for office. Heck, create an actual tea party political party (though that would force you to actually come up with some sort of platform and come up with solutions to issues, which I've yet to see anything resembling either one of those).

If your goal is to get a bunch of people together to protest, and maybe get on Fox News or Pajamas Media and get a shout-out from Malkin, well then I have no doubt you'll accomplish that goal, and there's nothing wrong with that. But let's not act like this is going to actually get anything done. It's long past time to put your money where your mouth is and work to make actual changes, or just admit that you just want to scream and yell for a while.

No comments: