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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 4/19/10

Tea Party Movement And America's Transformation

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Just the other day members of the Tea Party Movement (TPM) came to New York State ostensibly to bring awareness to the many mistakes of the Obama Administration and their quest to "take back our country." The TPM is a loose group of mainly white Americans opposed to anything that President Barack Obama does and who see America's first Black president as taking the nation down the pathway to "socialism."

Embraced by the rabid Right Wing of the Republican Party and given major publicity by people like Fox 5's Glen Beck and Republican ultra-conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh, the "movement's" darling is former losing GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and a host of other Republican neoconservatives hell-bent on "taking back America" whatever that means.

Able to command crowds of up to 8,000 people the TPM is hardly "a movement" but a small group of people united by one common sentiment anger at the Obama Administration. In the process the TPM has attracted a number of individuals from the lunatic right wing fringe who have likened Obama to Hilter and Nero a position floated by Rush Limbaugh who also said that the brilliant young president was "delusional."

The anger of the TPM and its ability to give a vapid, severely limited woman like Sarah Palin a platform to spew venom and insults at President Obama must be put in its historical context. The movement's penchant for subscribing to unfounded and illogical conspiracy theories clearly puts it outside of the pale of mainstream American political normalcy. In fact, the TPM's continued relevance and existence is thanks to Fox 5's Beck and others who give it ample air time and continue to treat it as a major political force in US politics when the opposite is true.

But the TPM is a natural response to America's transformation and the negative manifestation of scared white people to a social phenomenon that it cannot control. Right before our very eyes America is undergoing the most deep and significant change in its entire history. And it's not about America's first Black president or healthcare reform or the regulation of the financial system. It is a change deeper and far more consequential that all of the preceding combined.

Simply put within less than a decade white Americans will not be the dominant race in America. For a long time America has been steadily "browning" and with the election of America's first Black President this fact was driven home to a race of people that long assumed that their race would be the dominant one for ever. The ramifications and consequences of this demographic change is not only mind-boggling but will change radically change the old American status quo replacing it with something else.

Consider the new paradigm. Already, Spanish is rivaling English for dominance in places like Florida, New Mexico and other areas in the Southern United States. So that it is quite conceivable that in the next 10 years the term "all American" will not be used to describe a clean-cut, blue-eyed American white boy. And that has Americans like those in the Tea Party Movement scared out of their wits.

Consider the following: half of the babies born in the 12 months before July 2008 were Black, Asian and Latino. And in the south and western United States children in the public school system where they were once considered minorities are now the new majority even as the white population shrinks and will continue to so while the Latino population will triple. It does not take a rocket scientist to realize that all of this will eventually reshape every aspect of American life.

And while the Tea Party Movement and its Republican controlled handlers trot out expert fear-mongers and other fringe lunatics on the right, the forward march of these history-based statistics is unstoppable. There is absolutely no doubt that in the coming decade young Black and brown folks will drive the United States economy, re-shape and re-define its culture and its politics. This reality will spawn more fear and reactionary actions and institutions like the Tea Party Movement unwilling to accept this change and offer it a progressive embrace.

Fears of disenfranchisement among a hitherto dominant racial strata in American society and its new status as a dwindling minority are what drive Tea Party anger and calls to "take back our country." But it may be a little too late for that and no matter what Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh and Glen Back say America's "browning" is a matter of historical determinism. Ranting and raving against President Barack Obama is futile and naà ve the train has already left the station.

The present political situation in America reveals the reality of a Black President, a white female Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the first female Latina on the US Supreme Court, and an openly gay Congressman heading the powerful congressional Banking Committee that will reshape and regulate America's financial industry and by extension the US economy as a whole. No amount of Tea Party activism and vitriol will change these fundamental facts.

And they know it.

So their next strategy is to rend our political system apart by creating confusion and using a willing and supine national media to convey the impression that a small, disgruntled and angry - but vocal group - is representative of all America. It is an illusion that is obscenely perverted by using pseudo-patriotic jargon and inferences to paint its views as mainstream. It is here that the Democratic Party must move decisively and expose the hypocrisy and narrow agenda of the Tea Party Movement.

The Democratic Party and its leadership should not allow right-wing political demagogues like Sarah Palin and the other members of the idiot chorus from profiting from their association with the Tea Party Movement. That the movement is organized and driven by Republican political consultants is enough to blow the lid on its claims of inclusivity and a non-political agenda. Palin and company are filling a void in the national debate because Democrats have not understood that what is needed as we go into the November 2010 mid-term elections is to pick a national issue like immigration and throw it in the Republicans face and dare them to "just say no."

Progressives and yes, liberals (its not a dirty word) must call the bluff of the Tea Party Movement and its enablers by asserting publicly that anger is not a public policy program. They and the Democratic Party must tell the likes of Sarah Palin that throwing red meat to the GOP zealots and Tea Baggers does not unite America and helps to pit neighbor against neighbor. The tearing apart of the political movement in America and the lack of respect for the office of the President of the United States and the foul-mouth rhetoric of incivility in politics today must be placed at the doorsteps of that bitter Tea Party element that would turn back the clock.

In the end the Tea Party Movement is the Wind Bag Movement of modern American politics because its members simply talk, complain, whine and attack President Barack Obama. The movement offers nothing else by way of policy, national agenda, constructive criticism or acknowledgement when the Administration does something good. Attacks against big government and less taxation are old, outmoded and archaic Republican talking points that most Americans instinctively reject. Such a movement is infantile, angry, spiteful and clearly a gross deformity of the American political system.

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MICHAEL DERK ROBERTS Small Business Consultant, Editor, and Social Media & Communications Expert, New York Over the past 20 years I've been a top SMALL BUSINESS CONSULTANT and POLITICAL CAMPAIGN STRATEGIST in Brooklyn, New York, running (more...)

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