Think of the Tea Party as a kind of political equivalent of the 1960's countercultural movement - just post Woodstock. That was when it ceased to be a kind of generational expression and became instead a vehicle that could support all sorts of commercialization. There was lots of money to be made. It could be the Tea Party is approaching that point now - a point of exploitation by the powers-that-be. The Tea Party movement is the first big populist movement of the 21st century, and populist movements, being popular, tend to sprawl across the board, meaning different things to different people. Eventually they are ripe for exploitation.
You know, we could tell this past year that something was happening. We sensed that the Tea Party movement was becoming at least partially co-opted because the high profile names suddenly seemed to change from people we'd never heard of to people we had. And we noted that pro-military establishment commentators like Sean Hannity were styling themselves as Tea Party supporters and saw how mainstream political strategists were suddenly proclaiming their fealty to the movement and we began to wonder if a schism was in the offing.
We wrote we didn't "get it." We didn't see how you could support America's military-industrial complex and be pro-freedom and smaller government at the same time. We wrote about these views several times in order to unpack what was and remain a confusing situation because we think the Tea Party now falls into at least three camps. There are those political organizers and commentators who are manipulating the Tea Party movement in order to reap benefits for the Republican party. Then there is the libertarian group that believes in what they perceive as the foundational profile of the Tea Party movement as an anti-tax, pro-freedom movement. Finally, there are likely millions of Tea Party supporters who have a "big tent" approach to the Tea Party's goal and are perhaps satisfied with its anti-government flavor (as it pertains especially to domestic programs) and "give 'em hell" mentality. Whether "conservative" or not, they may make up the biggest group of all - and are no less sincere or motivated than any others.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Tea Party as a kind of political equivalent of the 1960's countercultural movement?
First, as one who leans Libertarian, I don't embrace nor support most of what those who call themselves "Tea Party" people do. Though many connected to the Libertarian party started the concept of the Tea Parties, I do agree it's been taken over by others in many areas and has gone beyond the principles they started out with. That's been referenced in previous posts about the Right versus the Libertarian when it comes to the Tea Party topic...So, being born in 1960, I found this comparison by Right Side News, interesting: