Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rhetorical Questions . . .

. . . for any readers who may admire or be a part of the Tea Party movement. After reading this article from the NYT (the whole article, not the headline), are you proud? Or are you worried?

Do you think awakening America's never-too-deeply-buried tendency toward paranoia and conspiracy theories is a constructive or a destructive thing to do? Is now the time for America to go backward, or forward?

Morris Dees, a great hero and great American, helped rid Northern Idaho of hate groups and paranoid militia types. Now it sounds like those weeds are thriving again, fed and watered by the likes of Glenn Beck.

So who's the "patriot"--the peace maker or the fear monger? The rational, responsible man, or the entertainer dedicated to stoking up the ire of the lunatic fringe?


Sue said...

I read the article before I read your post. It reminded me of other grassroots movements (including women's suffrage, the civil rights movement, and the anti-Vietnam War protesters to name a few). It's easy to say that those who are opposed to our particular viewpoint are rabble-rousers, troublemakers, dangerous radicals, but the truth is, this is an example of free speech and the rights of freedom to assemble guaranteed by the Constitution.

In previous posts you have lamented the virtual demise of the Republican party and advocated a multi-party system. Maybe what we're seeing is the birth of a new party. Maybe it's the reform of an old one. In any event, it's definitely the voice of many people and deserves to be listened to.

(By the way, for the record, I didn't support the antiwar protesters of the 60s and 70s, but in retrospect, I have come to believe they did a lot of good. I used to feel that if you didn't like the way the government was doing something you should work within the law to change it. After looking at the antiwar movement and the civil rights movement, I've come to believe there is a time when stepping outside the law may be the best form of patriotism.)

Citizen Jane said...

Perhaps the biggest difference between the Civil Rights movement and the Tea Party movement is that the one was constructively FOR something, whereas the other is destructively AGAINST . . . whatever they're against--I'm not sure they always know.

Mob violence is also a "grass roots movement."

Six said...

You say over and over that they are perpetually AGAINST something as if somehow being against something is somehow automatically obstructionist in a bad way.

Sometimes something NEEDS to be opposed... and in the case of the ROOT of the Tea Parties (not what they have begun to morph in to) what they are opposing is an unconstitutional expansion of the Federal government.

Oh and as I visit Northern Idaho regularly I can assure you that unfortunately there was never 'riding' of hate groups. That area has some of the most openly hateful, racist people I have ever seen. Glenn Beck is not to blame... that area just has some ugly folks.

Sue said...

Well, Jane, you could say that the civil rights movement was "constructively for something" but there were a heck of a lot of people in this country in the 50s and 60s who would vehemently disagree with you as they saw the movement as a bunch of radicals who were trying to destroy the social order. Ditto women's suffrage. The anti-war protesters of the Vietnam era were definitely accused of behing out to destroy the country. It's all a matter of perspective.

And Six, my experience of North Idaho's people is that they tend to be feisty independent thinkers. Even a bit contrarian.