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Angry? Get over it. Finish the tea. Get to work

By DOUG THOMPSON
April 23, 2010

The always bombastic former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich predicted this week that the Tea Party will become the “militant wing” of the Republican Party.

That didn’t sit too well with the Tea Party faithful who see themselves their own party.

Gingrich, who embraced the Tea Party on tax day, now angers them with the reference that they may be future Republicans.

Hell, being called a Republican — present or future — would anger most sane people but the uproar shows just how touchy the Tea Party faithful have become.  Anyone who has said or written anything they don’t like finds their email inboxes overflowing and a verbal diarrhea of threats flooding over the transom.

Call a Tea Party type violent and he or she will start a fight to prove you wrong. Suggest — as Bill Clinton has — that they are domestic terrorists in training and they will threaten to blow up your house.

Washington Post Media Columnist Howard Kurtz asks “are the media serving you too much tea?”

He adds another question: “Are journalists so revved up on caffeine that they’re breathlessly hyping the importance of a group that has little clout?”

Kurtz acknowledges that the Tea Party, in some sense, represents the growing anger of the American public over government spending, health care and Barack Obama and says the press is “overcompensating” now for not covering the anger in its beginnings.

Politico adds to the argument of overcompensation:

2009 was the year when many journalists concluded they were slow to recognize the anti-government, anti-Obama rage that gave birth to the tea party movement.

2010 is the year when news organizations have decided to prove they get it.

And get it. And get it some more.

Part of the reason is the timeless truth in media that nothing succeeds like excess. But part of the reason is a convergence of incentives for journalists and activists on left and right alike to exaggerate both the influence and exotic traits of the tea-party movement. In fact, there is a word for what poll after poll depicts as a group of largely white, middle-class, middle-aged voters who are aggrieved: Republicans.

I think anger — not the Tea Party — is the real story here. America is an angry nation right now. Some of the anger is anti-government, some anti-Obama and some just plain frustration over the many challenges, changes and choices that America now faces.

This nation faces a massive change from a free-spending, consumer-oriented, spend-like-there’s-no-tomorrow culture into a new paradigm where excess no longer dominates our society.

We Americans, like our government, lived on shaky credit, ignoring the reality that one day the bill would come due. We watched, without concern, as jobs moved out of the country because — at the time — it did not affect our ability to drive new cars and buy larger, more expensive homes with no-document loans from sub-prime lenders.

We loaded up our Visas and Mastercards and when those cards maxed out we simply obtained new ones from the “pre-approved” offers that arrived the mail each week.

We all contributed to the mess and — when the inevitable crash came — the blame did not lie solely with George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, either political party, Wall Street or any single person or institution.

The fault lies with all of us who ignored the warning signs because we were living large and that — at the time — was all that mattered.

So now many of us are not living so well so we’re mad and looking for someone to blame.

There’s a lot of blame to go around and if want to find someone to blame we should all start by looking in the mirror.

Then we should trash the anger, the trash talk and the finger pointing and roll up our sleeves to work to fix the problem.

We won’t fix anything by dressing up like Uncle Sam or waving signs bearing slogans created by political consultants who want to get rich.  We won’t fix anything by tossing rocks through windows and threatening elected officials. We won’t solve the problems by sending money to candidates who don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning.

First, we need to calm down, take a hard look at ourselves and the situation around us and find a way to start working together.

We can’t accomplish anything out of anger but we can accomplish a lot through determination.

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11 Responses to Angry? Get over it. Finish the tea. Get to work

  1. woody188

    April 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    So how do we little people prevail without infringing on the “free speech” ie, unlimited campaign funds, of the non-real person corporations?

    How do we return from this cusp of fascism?

  2. Guardhouse lawyer

    April 23, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    A proposed Constitutional amendment:

    1. Article VI, section 2, clause 1, is amended as follows:

    • Guardhouse lawyer

      April 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

      Hit the wrong button:

      The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
      1. Article VI, section 2, clause 1 is amended as follows:

      replace the period with a comma and insert thereafter the following words:

      except that in no case shall any privileges or immunities extend to any other than natural-born persons. Congress shall have the authority to enact legislation to advance other privileges and immunities to legal entities other than natural-born citizens.

      2. This Amendment shall be operative if approved by the legislatures of three-fourths of the States within seven years of submission of the amendment to the States.

      • logtroll

        April 24, 2010 at 10:28 am

        I like this idea. Now we need an implementation plan.

        Many posters on this site have become totally cynical about corporate America owning the system. It does appear to be the case, but how did it (does it) happen? There are two sides to the issue of who influences our government, which need to be logically considered in order to find a useful course of action.

        A corporation has two things that ordinary citizens don’t have; money and organization. GL’s proposed amendment would strip corporations of those advantages, which they shouldn’t have by any stretch of common sense. Obviously, citizens attempting to limit the influence of corporations will be met with massive resistance by corporations.

        I happen to believe, however, that citizens can become organized and implement techniques that don’t require large dumps of money into media campaigns in order to effect change. But it does require long and consistent work and commitment, which Doug is advocating in this article.

        In a recent post, following a similar article, several of us offered examples of how we have had success in influencing government. Both examples included long periods of unpaid involvement in particular issues that we cared about. Such effort is far beyond writing letters to the editor or attending town hall meetings; it requires that one take responsibility, to propose action, and to do whatever it takes to keep it alive. As another poster said, ” The government is not broken, it’s bent”. That attitude of conditional optimism is vital to have before one can engage in solutions to problems.

        One fellow Ranter, who has apparently completely surrendered to defeat, dismissed my example of success with a Forest Service management “adjustment”, by calling me a Congressional camp-following grifter. I wonder if some are so negative in outlook as to be unable to acknowledge that anyone can succeed at working with their representatives? I’d be offended if this wasn’t so pathetically uninformed and predjudiced by the illness of arm-chair cynicism.

        GL has given us an object to rally around, a proposed constitutional amendment that I have to think most Americans (the ones in live bodies) would support. Unlike most overly condensed and non-implementable slogans (“We want our country back”, “Vote the bastards out”, “Taxed enough already”) this item can be introduced into the political process. I am under no illusion about what that process will look like and how long it will take, decades I would expect (the FS changes mentioned above have been in process for 20 years and will continue). I would ask that some others of the CHB cohort who have more facility on the issues of the Constitution, prepare a reasoned strategy whereby each of us can move this proposed amendment into the political system at any point of opportunity; newspaper articles, town meetings, state forums, contacts with our Congressionals, endless blogs, etc. When the call turns into a slogan, it must be solidly backed up by a sane and legal process of action.

        That’ how it works. American government is a work in progress. If you want to play you’ve got to get out of the laz-e-boy. Nobody is going to do it for you, nobody is going to listen to you if you are just spouting off. But we also can’t do much alone, so let’s try something together.

        • Guardhouse lawyer

          April 24, 2010 at 10:46 am

          I think it needs some work to include the states in the authority that would have gone solely to the Congress. I sort of wrote it off the top of my head yesterday.

          Perhaps:

          Congress shall have the authority to enact legislation to extend other rights, privileges, and immunities to legal entities other than natural-born persons, and shall have the authority to enact legislation authorizing the several States to extend rights, privileges and immunities to legal entities other than natural-born persons. In no event shall any extension of rights, privileges, or immunities grant any legal entity other than natural-born persons the right to freedom of expression or speech with respect to the political process.

          • Guardhouse lawyer

            April 24, 2010 at 10:59 am

            As to strategy:

            1. Get a rough draft together, with a short, (no more than one page) talking paper on why we are proposing this.

            2. Every reader send the draft and the talker as a letter to the editor of at least three newspapers and report back on successful insertions into newspapers.

            3. Email the draft and talker to all of your friends, asking them to endorse it by passing it on to their friends.

            4. Encourage everyone to send the draft and the talker to their Congressperson and Senators.

            5. Post it on every political blog, left, right, center, nihilist, whatever. Put it on your facebook page, wherever else you can think of to post it.

            6. I think it’s important that the pushers not allow a political party to co-opt this issue. It would become seriously flawed and damaged by letting the Tea Party or any other Party claim ownership.

            This is a new era of communication directly to the masses. It’s possible that this could be the first time in the history of our country that the grass roots proposed and pushed through an Amendment.

          • logtroll

            April 25, 2010 at 10:11 am

            I’m a bit puzzled at the lack of comment on this idea, although I’ve seen the dynamic many times at meetings where somebody proposes an actionable item and the room goes silent. Anyway, I’m wanting more discussion because I think that it’s a necessary thing for Congrees to finally put the status of corporations in proper perspective. As I understand it, the current status was arrived at unintentionally and insidiously, beginning with a barely related comment by a judge back in the 1800’s. It may be the most bizarre case of “judicial legislation” ever to afflict America.

            Congress has the power to define the rights of corporations, but lacks the will because of the immense influence that corporate spending in politics wields. This amendment has the power to impose campaign finance reform at the root level.

            Fundamentally, this amendment would change the prevailing attitude that “corporations are all powerful in American politics” to “corporations are subject to the will of the citizens of the USA”.

            Guardhouse lawyer, I was hoping that someone more conversant in Constitutional language would engage you on the wording. I, for one, would like to hear an explanation of the details of your wording.

            I like your strategy. Can you draft a talking paper and post to CHB? We can separate out the points for individual threads, which I suspect will generate many comments that will be useful in defining the arguments.

        • Carl Nemo

          April 25, 2010 at 1:58 pm

          Hi logtroll,

          “One fellow Ranter, who has apparently completely surrendered to defeat, dismissed my example of success with a Forest Service management “adjustment”, by calling me a Congressional camp-following grifter. I wonder if some are so negative in outlook as to be unable to acknowledge that anyone can succeed at working with their representatives? I’d be offended if this wasn’t so pathetically uninformed and predjudiced by the illness of arm-chair cynicism.” …extract from post

          Firstly your post is a solid one for a change, but you made the mistake of dredging up what happened the other day concerning your FS bill reference. It seems I hurt your feelings concerning whatever efforts you put into the bill, so I’m apologizing for that, but…?

          (6) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Fund $40,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2009 through 2019, to remain available until expended.

          “It will save us money and generate global environmental benefits. Every $1000 of federal tax dollars invested will generate $8000 in direct economic activity and $16,000 in indirect activity, resulting in $2500 in new tax revenues (not new taxes).” … extract from “Time for change start at home” by Doug Thompson

          Let’s see:

          440 million = 440,000 one thousand dollar units to generate $24,000 direct and indirect economic activity resulting $2500 for every $1000 invested. So the $440 million over 11 years will generate $10,560,000,000. So the this 440 million ‘investment’ is supposed to generate $1,100,000,000 in tax revenues not new taxes which does come out be 2.5 times the original per $1000 invested.

          My problem is that this ‘investment’ is promising a 250% return over 11 years which equates to 22.72% per annum not compounded which is a handsome ROI. Even the best run businesses would envy such a guaranteed return per annum. I say with typical bureaucratic bungling, wastage and pilferage of resources that the figure will fall far short of the projected amount as a result of the variables associated with direct and indirect economic activity Allegedly 40 billion went up in smoke relative to Medicare/Medicaid programs alone in a single year so why should I or anyone else think this reforestation bill will turn out any better?

          The only guaranteed aspect of this bill is that whatever trees are planted and the habitat they provide for animals and other sundry creatures of the forest will be of benefit to the environment as a whole. For that I say thanks, as far as the dollar benefit to be made out of the bill; to me, it’s simply too good to be true based on the figures and the changing conditions relative to the USD and ugly rising interest rate stories to come.

          Carl Nemo **==

  3. Tom Degan

    April 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Now let me see….

    For eight long years, while George W. Bush drove this economy into the dirt, these knuckleheads in the so-called “Tea Party” were totally silent – nary a peep!

    In January of 2009 the black guy comes in to straighten out the mess made by the half-wit from Crawford, they have a massive nervous breakdown.

    I’m sure that’s just a coincidence, though.

    http://www.tomdegan.blogspot.com

    Tom Degan
    Goshen NY

  4. b mcclellan

    April 25, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    First of all we continue to peel the scab,
    that the wound may be cleansed.

    No more good ole boy milk of magnesia, and plenty of Castor oil for the wheels of past greasers that their slide to Leavenworth be smooth.

    ” Teddy ” the bankers / wall street.
    With laser intense scrutiny show them the door of :
    That’s where the justice dept used to be, so let’s all get to know that we are after a notorious hiatus, open for business.
    Bring some depends..
    You can’t crap here anymore.. Hack