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All This Mangling of a Once-Beloved Historical Event: Why the Tea Party?

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   I wanted to write an op-ed attributing the rise of the Tea Party to the " the skills-based gap [. . .] because they [the Democrats] don't want to tell the working classes that they're losing ground because they didn't study hard enough."

    In other words, I wanted to say that the progressive [not in the political sense] declining emphasis on higher education was an outgrowth of the Powell Manifesto, which spawned a slew of conservative think tanks to counteract the creeping socialism brought on by the overeducated late-sixties college students trying to activate the values they were learning in school.

     "The poor we will always have with us," the far right might have responded, Romney's 47 percent--you know, those people who need help because all of the wealth was being sucked into the top one percent. I keep saying that destruction of the lower classes isn't the answer, because the host will eventually die out--no secretaries or janitors. And then what will happen to those CEOs helpless without them, the ones who take invisible "business trips" on their yachts for weeks at a time, unmissed?

     One day without the 99 percent cleaning up and pushing papers around will do more damage than the bursting of the real estate bubble. Or maybe a week without them anyway.

     But we can't afford to take time off from work. Too few unions survive to carry us through such unpaid furloughs, which could result in lockouts because the unemployment rate is so high--much higher than Obama's toothy stats inform us.

     I wanted to say that as early as 1984, twelve years after the Powell Manifesto was slipped to the right/right people, a report came out, "A Nation at Risk," decrying the deterioration of our educational systems that were graduating students unqualified to take on the responsibilities for which they were supposedly qualified. I taught some of them back then. Some were good, but others plagiarized. Others didn't want to have to put together a sentence, saying that they'd leave it to their secretaries. But my late father said that in the eighties he had to rewrite and correct letters written by his secretary on his behalf. As an immigrant who came here in his twenties, he spoke better English than the rest of his American-born family combined.

     I wanted to say that because students were so burdened by debt from heavy loans they have to take out to put themselves through our institutions of higher learning, they can't even afford to take the jobs they studied toward, even if they're qualified for them. So there's a massive surge toward Wall Street jobs, and science suffers as that small segment of New York City geography sucks physicists away from the creative research that so much more concerns our future than financial greed.

     I wanted to say that the decline in values is associated with the decline in the quality of our public educational system--producing the Sarah Palins and Michelle Bachmanns of this country, who don't know U.S. history from a hole in the ground. The latter announced that the American Revolution began in New Hampshire and that there was no slavery during the era that followed.

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     I wanted to blame the decline in the quality of public school educators on the decline in the quality of public education and that both were producing boobs like Palin and Bachmann. An informed citizenry is necessary to keep democracy alive, said founding father John Adams, who might have added that slavery was indeed in motion in his day. George Washington was far less kind to his slaves than was Thomas Jefferson, who had a long-term romance with one of his, resulting in generations of black and mulatto Jeffersons. The Washington legacy is probably similar, though his only ["illegitimate"] descendants I have met were whiter than white, blond hair scarcely darker than their fair skin.

     In other words, I wanted to blame this whole mess on the Powell Manifesto, which indirectly, at least subtly anyway, downgraded the quality of education so that only the upper classes, educated privately, would be qualified to own the country, as many ignorant conservatives if not Tea Party people blatantly betrayed ignorance undetected by semiliterate audiences.

     The "man on the street," interviewed impromptu, doesn't know that Columbus discovered America, let alone the damage done to the indigenous peoples upon his arrival.

      All this I wanted to say until I read that the majority of the Tea Party, excluding the African Americans beginning to take on their values--move over, Clarence Thomas and Herman Cain--are white males, well educated, and affluent.

     Turns out that the "tea party" movement sweeping the nation is disproportionately composed of individuals who have higher-than-average incomes. It's also disproportionately composed of men. And disproportionately composed of white people. . . . "but not necessarily older

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or just from the South."

      According to a Bloomberg poll, "[f]orty percent are age 55 and over, compared with 32 percent of all poll respondents; just 22 percent are under the age of 35, 79 percent are white, and 61 percent are men. Many are also Christian fundamentalists, with 44 percent identifying themselves as "born-again' compared with 33 percent of all respondents."

     Keep in mind, all the above stats were taken in 2010.

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Marta Steele is an author/editor/blogger who has been writing for Opednews.com since 2006. She is also author of the 2012 book "Grassroots, Geeks, Pros, and Pols: The Election Integrity Movement's Nonstop Battle to Win Back the People's Vote, (more...)
 

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