“Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”
-Johnny Rotten, at the close of the last Sex Pistols concert.
I’m starting to feel this way every single day.
Each day, the cries that people who are rejecting or have rejected the status quo “Are stupid, insane, or my personal favorite, “handing the election to Obama” because they just don’t see the wisdom in any debt ceiling fix that gives more spenditol to the hopelessly addicted in D.C. without honest, true (not gimmicky) and most importantly immediate cuts to the Federal Government’s spending grow louder, and I find myself growing more annoyed with people I have more similarities than differences with, not because of the differences, but because their inability to convince me that the compromise they are rallying behind will prevent the calamity they fear has driven them to derision, name-calling, insults, and questioning our patriotism. In other words, they are acting like the Democrats do when we tell them “No.” too.
Whether it’s the New York Times’ favorite “maverick” referring to the Tea Party as Hobbits, and claiming that “Others know better” than the Tea Party Freshmen in the Congress, or people I respect telling me in serial FB postings that anyone who isn’t for Boehner’s plan to raise the credit limit again in exchange for promises to make some piddling cuts at some time that history tells us will never be made anyway, and then bring us back to this point yet again during election season is the same as a Democrat such as the President, contempt is the tune played with the complete expectation that we will dance, and its put me into a position I never wanted to be in. I’m being pushed into declaring for the Tea Party.
It isn’t that I had any particular beef with the Tea Party. My objections have really been more dealing with the movement’s long-term prospects. As I said to a Republican Tea Party basher on FB:
1. I am not a Tea Party member. I enjoyed the fact that it was grassroots and genuine. I never signed on, because I knew that it was destined to be co-opted or marginalized because it threatened the political establishment and their power base.
2. Your willingness to appoint them with a responsibility to “shut people up” chills me a bit. The appeal of the tea party was a central message, and the ability for people who had felt marginalized or removed from the mainstream political process to participate and bring some of their own ideas to the fore. A “leadership” would be counter to that idea.
3. Much of what I’ve feared has come to pass…a degree of co-opting, both actual, and presumed by those for whom it would be handy to do so, and marginalization…by a corrupt media that needed a group of “extremists”, and a political establishment that needed a boogeyman to save us from.
4. And even though I don’t agree with a lot of them, I’d rather have a political system that doesn’t “silence” the fringes, or anything outside the mainstream, largely because I firmly believe that we HAVE to trust the people, in the firm knowledge that they are going to make mistakes (Thanks, 52%ers!) or that none of this political system means anything and we can simply officially appoint those who presume to be our betters as such, and dispense with the charade.
And how did we arrive at this point, anyway? Really, before we entrust these responsible stewards of the public purse with the ability to spend even more money, isn’t that a question we all should be asking? If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting a different result, then the “compromise” they are offering doesn’t make any damn sense.
The Tea Party owes its existence to government’s reckless and irresponsible spending, and the way that government demonstrated its feeling of entitlement to not only continue spending more money than it takes in, but to continually increase this spending in order to mitigate the consequences of really poor decisions. (Too Big To Fail, anyone?)
It was a terrific thing to behold as it gathered steam, because people who had never given politics a second thought, or only considered it when filling out a ballot were now looking at the ways their elected officials had squandered their trust, and enhanced their own power and finances at the expense of our own personal sovereignty and wallet. They had realized that government by the professional and the expert first benefits the professional and the expert, and then trickles down only to the extent that doing so will also benefit the professional and the expert. But this newfound clarity threatens not just the chattering class, whose false narratives and very selective reporting kept the majority of the nation slumbering and dreaming dreams in which every man woman and child was a lottery winner, and never had to be asked to pay for the welfare state that continued to grow in its quest to provide for them from cradle to grave, and so the new narrative began, about these “extremists” who opposed what government hath wrought not because it stifled freedom and opportunity, and confiscated wealth on an enormous scale to redistribute it to others who did nothing to earn it , but because they were “racists who didn’t want a black President to succeed.” They were haters, who if given an opportunity to do so, would commit unspeakable acts of violence against those who disagreed with them, even kill them if they thought it necessary.
It was certainly a surprise to the everyday mothers, fathers, grandpas, and grandmas who came to the rallies, and participated in the peaceful protests. It was a surprise to those who came to townhalls to confront their elected officials about the trust that they so casually abused, only to find themselves shouted down, disrespected, and questioned by their public servants, and their supporters, many of whom freely feed at the public trough. I know many people who consider themselves part of the Tea Party, one of who graciously lets me co-blog with her when I get the urge to speak up, and the media portrayals of them couldn’t be farther from the truth. And as irritating as that is, its ok. One of the things that came clear during the emergence of the Tea Party and the rush of the legacy media to portray them as unhinged extremists is the fact that the self-appointed cognoscenti were defending a power base, and the shriller the denunciations, the more obvious it became to observers that the media members, and their patrons in the Democratic Party were the ones standing naked while commenting to each other about their resplendent wardrobes. The more they condescended, complained, and projected, the more hollow their lofty pronouncements rang.
And it had a result, as the elections of 2010 proved, and the consequence was a series of election gains in the House of Representatives that completely changed the make up of that body.
Now we find ourselves facing yet another crisis. Another in a string of crises that miraculously can only be solved by the federal government spending more money that it does not have, to pay for consequences that it bears the responsibility for. The only truly good comparison that I can think of is the domestic violence victim who keeps going back to her abuser, because he promises that this time, things will be different…after he tells her that it is her fault that he beats her. We keep going back, and if we hesitate, we’re told to “get our asses back in line.” And for all the noise about the approaching deadline, “inflexible ideologues”, and swift and certain financialgeddon, and the absolute and positive need to address this RIGHT NOW, OR ELSE! and the only option, no matter how it is dressed up, is to increase the credit limit now, and make cuts later, or whenever they can get around to it, if they feel like it, and the moon is in the right phase, with the only real distinctions being how much, and whether or not the timing is politically beneficial to one side or the other, several key facts and follow-up questions keep getting lost.
1. We actually hit the debt ceiling in May of this year. In all the hysteria, hyperventilation, finger-pointing, and name-calling, that fact seems to get lost. One might ask how this got to be a “crisis”, considering the fact that it couldn’t have been a surprise.
2. The US’s credit rating has already been downgraded. While I don’t expect it to be a harmless event if the other rating agencies follow, I also noted that the sky didn’t fall, and I didn’t have to take a wheelbarrow full of $100,000.00 bills to the Safeway to buy a loaf of bread after it happened.
4. The Democrats have not passed a budget since 2009, despite the fact that it is one of Congress’ duties. This works to their advantage. No budget means no parameters on spending. Anything goes until you hit the ceiling. Besides, they were too busy with Spendulous, Cash for Clunkers, and Obamacare to actually attend to their duties. And who do you think you are for asking pointed questions about it anyway, peasant?
5. Do your creditors maintain your credit score when your debt to income ratio is already too high and you decide that you can and should borrow more? So why should we believe that a government that is characterized by an abject avoidance of restraint when it comes to spending the public’s money will not suffer the same fate
when if they pass a bill that bumps out that limit, and purports to address a portion of the spending problem, somehow, some way, some time? It would be like believing that the chronic alcoholic will be ok if the bartender doesn’t serve him the last two shots he’s used to downing nightly; the real problem is in the 5 shots he was served before. And yet the Tea Party is now the enemy of America, and actively working for the re-election of Barack Obama for recognizing that what is being offered and discussed is a “more of the same” of what we’ve had before, and declining to go along with it.
6. Teh Fred! and others keep crowing about a victory in shifting the conversation away from tax increases, and demanding we take that, and ignore the fact that even with the “cuts” being proposed, the leviathan that is Fedzilla still grows. More and more people are getting clued in to the magical growth formula in government accounting based on premise that Zero = Last Year’s Budget. Taxes weren’t negotiable because despite what Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi believe, this was NEVER a revenue problem; it is a spending problem, and taking away what never should have been on the table to begin with, and then rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic will not prevent a really, really cold swim.
It comes down to this: Government Spending first empowers the government. Democrats have known this for years, and used it to their advantage to cultivate a block of constituents beholden to them for their sustenance due to the advent of multigenerational welfare, and they have carefully nurtured it until we have reached a point where nearly 50% of the citizens in this country don’t have any of the precious “skin in the game” that the Teleprompter President likes to babble on about, because they pay no taxes. They have no intention of changing this state of affairs. TPOTUS himself has all but admitted that his idea of “shared sacrifice” is that the people who are paying the check need to pay even more. The real-life warnings that the failed welfare states of Europe pose do nothing to change any of this. They will spend it, even when they don’t have it, and they will do anything for their fix. If unchecked, this can only end one way.
Get used to scenes like these, because if we don’t address the festering sore that is Federal Spending now, we lose choices. There won’t be an option that helps Granny get the check that the Federal Government has no business paying her. The government will probably not have the ability to perform its enumerated duties, let alone pay for mohair subsidies, studies on the flow rate of catsup, or refurbishing mosques in foreign countries. This nonsense cannot be sustained. Enacting special welfare and calling it general welfare is a path to ruin. Growing a federal bureaucracy that must continue to worm its tentacles further and further into all aspects life and business in order to justify itself is not conducive the maintenance of freedom and liberty. This is what “go along to get along” has gotten us…legions of experts who prove day in and day out that there is no problem that government cannot create, and then make worse with its “solutions”. Learned professionals without any practical experience who pass laws and regulations without a thought to the cost that it imposes on those who they would regulate, because they only choose to see what they have done as a goal that they have fulfilled.
We aren’t stupid for deciding that more of the same isn’t a serious answer.
We’re not unpatriotic for not trusting a professional political class peopled by Republicans as well as Democrats when they tell me that if we just do this for them this time, then they can get majorities in the next election and things will be different. Tell it to Newt Gingrich. We’ve swallowed that turd sandwich before. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
And calling me a Hobbit because I see the snare and refuse to step into it doesn’t change my mind or my heart in the Reagan tradition. It just tells me that you know you’re more concerned with your power than you are for the future of this country, and that lacking a convincing argument, you believe that I’m as willing to compromise as you are, in the pursuit of being loved, of course. Just ask “the maverick”.
No thanks. The madness can’t continue if enough people just opt out.