Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tea Party Express on Boston Common

Boston is the home of the original tea party from which the current conservative political movement gets its name. And just yesterday, while riding my bike to work on a nice, yet cool April morning, I rode right past their 3 luxury liner buses as the crowd was forming and the band was starting to play God Bless America.

No one seemed to notice or care when I took some photos of the crowd and their buses. Sarah Palin had not arrived and I guess there was no need for excessive security and no one was there to say who could attend and who couldn't. But I couldn't stay. I, like most working Americans, had to get to work, responsibilities to attend to, and didn't have time to hang around and see what was going on. Many public meetings or other political events are scheduled with us working folk in mind and occur in the evening.

From the looks of it, many attending seemed to be retired, maybe some unemployed, and maybe some who took off time from work to attend. (I hope no one was cheating by attending while "on the clock" at their job.) They were hoping for more to attend, but maybe it was poor scheduling on their part.

Now, we've heard all sorts of things about this Tea Party movement and those who belong, from the media, from pundits on the right and on the left. Frankly, I'm tired of the over politicization of everything these days, particularly the exaggerated claims on both sides. So, I'm just going to tell you what I say and my straight up reaction to it.

To me, these didn't look like cooks or disorderly bullies, at least by the behavior I could observe in passing by. Rather, they looked like folks who could be your parent's neighbors or might live around the corner from you. More or less, they seemed in the middle age to retired age bracket, and if clothing is any guide, they seemed to be firmly in the middle class (from lower middle to middle middle and a few upper middle). They seemed very orderly.

On the side of their buses were 2 major points and 5 bullets, each bullet ending in an explanation point! Here are their slogans and my reaction:

Major Points:

-- Restore Liberty
Hmmmm, what liberty has been lost? We all still have freedom of speech and the rally demonstrated freedom of assembly. No one in government is telling them how to practice religion. Is it that they may be required by law to have health insurance? We have that here in Massachusetts, enacted under the administration of Republican Governor Mit Romney. Even Sarah Palin asked the crowd "don't you love your freedom?" Maybe they need to specify the lost liberties.

--Honor the Constitution
Well, I like the Constitution and think it's about the best one in the world. I like the idea of honoring it. So, maybe they should specify who is dishonoring the Constitution.

The 5 Bullets:

  • End the bailouts!
    I think they have ended, as the economy is showing early signs of recovery. Personally, without some of the bailouts and/or stimulus, I really think the economy would have been in the can for years. I'd bet John McCain or even G. W. Bush would have paid for some bailouts.

  • Reduce the size and intrusiveness of government!
    Reducing the size is a nice idea, but from Ronald Regan to the 2 Bushes, will someone show me where they reduced the government? Pres. Regan wanted to eliminate the Dept. of Education, but kept it and created the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. G. W. Bush was not content with have the taxpayers finance only one nation, but since the Iraq invasion, we the taxpayers are now funding 2 nations. Often projects in Iraq got 100% federal funding while a similar project in the US would get 0% to maybe 50%. My challenge to my readers: show me a President, Governor or Mayor that really reduced the size of government!
    Regarding intrusiveness, everyone has their own version of this. I don't like an intrusive government that snoops on my phone calls or e-mail, cares what I borrow from the library, makes me - an American from birth - have to prove I belong here to work in a job, monitors what political movements I'm in, tells my employer they should monitor whether I use a particular substance, or micro-manages what goes on in a woman's womb. For others, they don't like being told they can't fill a wetland on their property, or that there are restrictions on where they can carry their gun, or that they should buy health insurance, etc. In other words, intrusiveness varies from person to person.

  • Stop raising our taxes!
  • Stop the out-of-control spending!
    These 2 go together. During the administrations of G. H. W. Bush and Clinton, spending was more in control and we were paying down the deficit. Then came 9/11 and 2 wars and lots of spending to pay for it. But rather than ask the citizens to take up the burden of these wars that are supposed to protect us (as was done during World War II), instead taxes were cut and the deficit rose. Then, with the near depression, the spending spree went into overdrive. Frankly, the figures are mind-boggling. But, I think any President would have done something to stave off a major depression. We didn't get instant relief, but this was nothing like the Great Depression.
    The question they don't ask is "where do we go from here?" The horses are out of the barn; the money spent. It will take decades to erase the deficit now. The government needs revenue from some combination of sources, and "revenue" means taxes. The best they can hope for with any President is to stop further spending and hold the line on taxes.

  • No Government-run healthcare!
    They really should have an asterisk on this. Today's New York Times reported that most supporters of the Tea Party movement believe "Social Security and Medicare are worth the cost to taxpayers." Now, Medicare is a Government-run healthcare system. Oh, and the Veterans Administration with its system of hospitals also seems like a Government-run healthcare system. (I don't think any Tea Party movement folks want to end the VA and its care for wounded veterans.) What I think they mean to say is that, other than Medicare and Medicaid and the VA, they don't want the Government to run a healthcare system like Canada or Europe. But I guess you can't fit such a long explanation on the side of their bus.


Call them what you want, but I think they're conservatives who want to speak out about what's on their mind. I'm a big advocate of free's a big part of the Bill of Rights our Constitution. Personally, I'd rather have conservative voices rally and speak out that have the "silent majority" as Pres. Nixon used to portray conservative voters. Conservatives don't need politicians saying what they stand for, when they can speak for themselves. I can't say I agree with everything they say, but I'm 100% behind their right to speak their minds!

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done Rachy =0) Very interesting and you are a great writer!