Posts Tagged ‘Tea Party’

My Mixed Response

October 15, 2013

I have a mixed response to the debacle going on in Washington D. C. right now. On the one hand, I don’t think the Tea Party should be given anything whatsoever. They need to be utterly broken—by which I mean exposed. Their illogic has to be exposed and dispensed with. They aren’t right about anything, and it shouldn’t be hard for an adult to get that across to the people. When they say they believe in freedom, what they’re really standing up for is a brutal Darwinian existence where the biggest, most ruthless egotists get to take whatever they can get their hands on. And they don’t really favor small government per se. What they seek is the abolition of all protections for the weak. But also an enormous military and intelligence apparatus to maintain power. They are constantly calling for increased military spending—every single budget, which is insane. But we have rules against speaking these particular truths in this country, so what should happen, won’t. Obama is not going to take the Tea Party on once and for all. We’re going to have these “budget” issues as a continuing problem well into the future.

Which brings me to the reason for my mixed response. I believe that if you look to the longterm—the real longterm, not a polite fiction—it doesn’t matter much who wins this fight. What we’re really witnessing is the ongoing collapse of an empire. All empires collapse and ours is in the process of collapse—right now. Our rise was steep and fast, and our fall will be the same. I tend to see it starting with the war in Vietnam. I don’t think we’re good at being imperialists. We’ve always claimed to have ideals, to be a bright shining light, and being an empire is in conflict with our supposed idealism. So the national mindset ends up being a big fantasy. What a perfect representation of that fantasy mind was Ronald Reagan! He glorified greed as a virtue. But greed always undermines those who practice it. That’s as much a universal law as thermodynamics. Our downfall will be our gross materialism and the militarism required to maintain it. I do see hope for the future. But our only hope is to regain our status as a republic. Only when the empire has given way will we have the opportunity to assume the goodwill, calm, and simple contentment that will enable us to begin to create a way of life that makes sense, where wisdom and love have meaning again. There are things we can be doing now, but I tend to think that the great work cannot commence until the monster has given up the ghost.

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Hate is Too Strong a Word

January 1, 2011

The new year is here, and one thing that I know is coming is the partial resurgence of the Republican party. For two years, it’s been kept on something of a choke chain. But now it’s going to be out of the yard, snarling and snapping at us. I’m grateful to have had two relatively peaceful years of not having to listen to crap like, “Why do you hate America?” My answer to that was, “I don’t hate America. I hate the Republican vision for America.” But then I would always have to step back and remind myself that it really isn’t okay to hate.

When you hate something, even if it is something evil, your mind becomes clouded. You can’t see straight. You make bad decisions. You are filled with the evil of hatred. This is all true. I wonder what to call the proper response to evil. Opposition? Well, that’s certainly part of any correct response, but it seems a little mild. Revulsion? Yes, but that’s a purely personal, interior response. Something has to be done to stop evil. Is contempt the same as hatred? Does anybody have a good idea for the right word?

And make no mistake. What the Republicans push is evil. Their calls for personal freedom unhindered by governmental interference is really just a disguise for unbridled egotism—the dog-eat-dog kind. In the Republican universe, money and power are King, which is your basic, garden-variety definition of evil. It astonishes me that they can claim to be the representatives of morality in America and not get called on it. If this country ever has a serious discussion on what constitutes real morality, the GOP will be utterly discredited.

Over the next two years, I have little doubt that from time to time I will slip toward the fringes of hatred. And each time it happens I will make a conscious effort to pull back. But I’m sick of this. We have to stop the Republican party. We (I don’t mean Democrats, I mean Americans) have to drive a stake through that organization’s dark heart and never let it get back up. It could be done if we all got real.

The Tea Party at War

April 12, 2010

A few days ago somebody asked me if I knew what was going on in Iraq these days. Is there still a war happening? Are we getting out? I had to admit that I didn’t really know. War is such a constant in the background now—just like in the novel 1984—that I tend to tune it out, like traffic noise. It’s an insane situation. Official government policy is that the United States must be capable of fighting two wars simultaneously. A year or so ago I saw an article in the New York Times stating that a lot of officials are beginning to believe that this might be insufficient. Only empires do this sort of thing. And empires invariably overextend themselves, exhaust themselves, and then collapse. This is where we’re heading, but hardly anybody talks about it. American military spending is roughly equal to the rest of the world’s combined. But when the Republicans and the Tea Party folks raise hell about government debt they never suggest slashing the military budget.  One reason nobody talks about it much is that the word game is rigged. Nobody talks about the “War Department” or “war spending,” but the “Defense Department” and “defense spending.” Our wars are not defensive; they’re imperial. There is a belief—and growing up I heard it stated many times, and by the same sort of people who make up the Tea Party movement—that every generation should experience war, that it “makes a man out of you.” That’s crazy. The last war I supported was Vietnam and only up until early 1968. I supported it because I was a dumb teenager and I didn’t know any better. The Tea Party continues to receive a lot of media attention for its supposed rage over government debt. If their rage were really about government debt, they’d be making a huge stink over military spending. But they aren’t doing that and they never will.

A Universal, Inexorable Principle

March 29, 2010

With today’s news of the arrest of nine members of a violent, right-wing “Christian” militia group, and watching the angry ride to hell that the Republican/Tea Party is taking us on, I find some comfort in this passage from the I Ching.

When misfortune has spent itself, better times return. The seed of the good remains, and it is just when the fruit falls to the ground that good sprouts anew from its seed. The superior man again attains influence and effectiveness. He is supported by public opinion as if in a carriage. But the inferior man’s wickedness is visited upon himself. His house is split apart. A law of nature is at work here. Evil is not destructive to the good alone but inevitably destroys itself as well. For evil, which lives solely by negation, cannot continue to exist on its own strength alone.