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Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tempest in a Tea Party?

Today's Washington Post has a post-mortem on the primary elections which makes clear that the Tea Party is not quite the powerful movement it was made out to be by obsessed journalists and many liberals. A typical graf from the story:

But Tuesday's primary results provided fresh evidence of the amorphous network's struggle to convert activist anger and energy into winning results. Frustrated and lacking agreement on what to do next, self-identified tea party leaders say the movement may be in danger of breaking apart before it ever really comes together.

I've been meaning for some time to comment that to a certain extent, the danger posed by the Tea Party is based more in the imaginations of easily-scared liberals than in reality. I say to a certain extent, because there is no question that a minority of Americans lust for fascism of some sort, and demagogic movements and politicians are the conduit that would get us there, if we ever do get there. But too many liberals spend much more time scaring themselves to death about the right-wing than they do organizing for the kinds of positive changes that would make the Tea Party even more marginalized than it already is. It is easier to cluck one's tongue at the stupidity of some Americans than it is to fight for things we need, like better health care or immigration reform or an end to offshore drilling. Trotting out and voting in elections is only the first step in political involvement, and hardly sufficient.

I will be spending the fall in New York City, teaching at NYU, and plan to use this blog to report on just such political activism in that city, such as it might be. Stay posted.

2 comments:

Patricia said...

So utterly TRUE!!!!

jqb said...

If anything the charge has been that liberals are too dismissive of the Tea Party. The reality is that liberals have been thrilled by tea partiers entering into primaries and thereby fragmenting the Republican Party.