We Won’t Get Fooled Again
P.T. Barnum once said that "there is a sucker born every minute". Nowhere in civilized society is that more evident than today’s Conservative movement in the United States. The Tea Party movement and it’s supporters are being duped into supporting policies and philosophies that hurt our Nation in both the short and long term. I don’t often hear the term cognitive dissonance anymore. The term refers to the uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. These feeling are noticeably absent in the today’s electorate, as demonstrated by normal, everyday folks violently fighting to uphold the status quo for the super wealthy elites while their standard of living disintegrates.
The early development of the Tea Party highlights the sinister interests behind it. Rick Santelli, known for his histrionic tirade against the Obama administrations Homeowner Affordability and Recovery Act , was widely considered one of the initial sparks. Broadcasting from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Santelli even suggested a "Chicago Tea Party" in which the wealthy traders (and traitors) would dump their derivatives into the water in protest of the government helping out "losers" who were behind on mortgage payments. His rant stuck a chord with a lot of people who do nothing but make fortunes by shuffling other people’s money around. How dare these rich gamblers blame the economic downturn on the very people who were suffering the consequences of Wall Streets indiscretions! Ricky-boy pleaded, almost tearfully, "President Obama, are you listening". Well I was listening and this is what I heard–"Government please help us protect our sacred money that we stole from Main Street. We need you, Government. We want you, Government. We need your help in punishing the poor people who have fallen on hard times."
The truth is that the Tea Party was almost completely started by the wealthy. David H. Koch, who is worth around 17.5 Billion dollars, funded and set up Citizens for a Sound Economy, which later branched off into FreedomWorks and Americans for Prosperity. These are the oligarchy-loving think tanks who have absolutely no desire to see the middle class or small businesses in this country succeed. They have no resemblance to a real grass roots movement.
But it now has become a farce. Right wingers are angry at the government for trying to help 97% of the population. Do they really believe that big corporations want to do what’s best for America? Do Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Pharma, and Big Insurance Inc. really care about poor people?
The government which they deride is really us. We decide who is there in Washington. We have the ability to change things in the Capital. But we have no say in who is running huge profit reaping corporations, or what they decide to do (think Enron, Exxon and Haliburton for starters).
Think of the irony of the Tea partiers. The government protects them from invasion and crime. The government puts fires out for them and builds roads for them to drive on and schools that their kids can go to learn. The government started the space program and defense industries, which led to so many of their modern conveniences, like cell phones, electronic communications, GPS, the internet, computers, modern aircraft, countless medical advances, nuclear power–the list goes on and on. And this is not even mentioning all the other great advances in the private sector that were made by inventors and entrepreneurs who were educated in publicly funded schools. People sharing portions their money, intelligence, labor and resources for the good of society is not wrong. It has led to unbelievable advancement of the human race. The word “collectivism” is thrown around like a curse word by the Ayn Rand worshipping Conservatives, but the fact is that what we do together defines who we are as a species.
The Teabaggers talk alot about wealth redistribution, and the facts are clear that there has be a lot of wealth redistributed. But it has been taken from the poor and given to the rich, not the other way around.
Who builds the buildings, drives the trucks, answers the phones, cares for the patients, teaches the kids, and farms the land? Do the idle rich do all of this? Do billionaire financiers do it? No, the wealth created by middle class people has been transferred into a rich elite that make up less than 1% of the population.
Rich Wall Street traders, corporations and bankers have no credibility when they go on a rant or start a fake grass roots movement. They don’t even deserve a voice anymore. These jokers are the problem. The real ranting should be done by the factory worker whose job was shipped to Malaysia after his CEO took huge bonuses and his company recorded record profits. Or the paper maker whose mill shut down, and after 30 years of dedicated service has to start all over. Or the customer service representative whose phones are now being answered in India. Or the person whose unemployment just ran out. Or the lady with stage IV breast cancer who lost her job because of her illness, and now has to pay over $1000 dollars a month for COBRA benefits for her family. These are the real voices of America we should be listening to.
The Quakers, in the 1950’s, used the phrase “Speak the truth to power” as a slogan to stand against fascism and totalitarianism. The truth is the last thing that the far right really wants to hear, but they must hear it.
And we must no longer be afraid to speak it.