Monday, April 19, 2010

Tea Parties, Gun Nuts, and Making Stuff Up

The Tea Parties are in a frenzy over taxes and socialism... even though a Democratic President just cut their taxes, income inequality is at 1920s levels, and income taxes for the richest Americans are less than half of what they were for most of the 20th century.

Militia and NRA members are yelling about the Second Amendment... even though a Democratic President expanded gun rights during his first year, the Supreme Court recently struck down a major gun control law, and today was the 15th anniversary of a militia member and NRA member killing 168 people in an attack on the federal government.

So America is not exactly taxing its way into socialism. If anything, we're tax-cutting our way toward a new Gilded Age where the middle class is a quaint memory and representative democracy is but a hollow shell that the money power just pushes aside. Nor is big government disarming the populous before instituting the next step in its evil plot. Gun sales are through the roof, and its becoming common for people to bring guns to major political events.

What we are witnessing is the right wing creating its own reality. It's a world where government is a foreign, oppressive power that looms over We the People. And it's a world where government is really the only power that looms over us, because conspicuously absent in this world is any discussion of big business. Unregulated Wall Street banks couldn't have had an important role in the economic crash--only "greedy government" taking "our money" and wasting it.

These are the unhinged movements that Bill Kristol has been calling, "the best thing that's happened to conservatives and the Republican Party in recent times." He's probably right.

I sometimes find myself thinking that even in our flawed system, with enough time, the Tea Party will be "out argued" and defeated in rhetoric and that even the TP-ers will fold up their signs and go home. But based on what I know of politics, that reckoning with truth never comes. Movement politics is more of a fight than a debate. If the Tea Party's lies win elections in 2010 and 2012, it will drastically change the country and the world, and that will be all that matters. In 2013, in President Palin's America, it won't matter much if we can utterly disprove the arguments that got her elected. What will matter is building a movement to defeat her agenda and her reelection.

What matters now is building a movement that defeats the Tea Party and the gun nuts before they take more of a hold than they already have. We need a progressive protest movement demanding more democracy, not less, demanding democratic oversight of Wall Street banks, not ignorance of them, and demanding a tax system that makes the rich pay their fair share. The nice thing is that we won't have to make stuff up to fuel our movement.


Alan K said...

You Leftist subversives are not going to win this fight. America is awake now. We know you have been sneaking around and killing America with your Marxist ideas. Your elite friends unionized the government in my town. The elites you worship will treat you like sheep. How can you do this to yourself? You want the govt to take care of you? Think they will?

Dave said...

Did you read this post? Because your comment exemplifies what I'm describing.

Let me ask you, what do you think that a government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people would look like? (Or should we dismiss Lincoln as a Leftist subversive too?) Maybe the people would guarantee themselves access to medical coverage. Maybe the people would guarantee that everyone who wants to work has a job and every job is safe and pays a decent wage.

Although I reject the label of "Leftist subversive," I will say that the Left is absolutely going to win this fight. We've been slowly winning since the country's founding. We beat the slave economy, we reined in the Gilded Age robber barons, we beat Jim Crow. In every age we have broadened our democracy and expanded opportunity in the face of elitist opposition. We always win.

Sara said...

Was Alan K being sarcastic?

Dave, tell me you're exaggerating when you say things like 'President Palin!'

Dave said...

Judging from Alan's own blog, I don't think he's being sarcastic at all.

As for "President Palin," I'm increasingly thinking that she will be the next Republican nominee. On one hand, that's a good thing because she'd be unlikely to win the general election. On the other hand, simply being the nominee puts her frighteningly close to the White House, so it would only take one big blunder or scandal from Team Obama for her to win.

skyhook8 said...

Alan K is right. Yeah, America is awake to the disaster that is Obama.