Let's Talk Tea Party -- And the Press
This week included Tax Day (April 15) and a lot of local Tea Party rallies drawing thousands of primarily middle-class citizens protesting the growing role of government in their lives.
These rallies heard much about federal abuses to capitalism, liberty, the Constitution, individual responsibility, and national sovereignty. Perhaps the earliest indication of public disaffection happened February 27 of last year with small rallies in 50 cities at which taxpayers protested the $786 billion stimulus bill. Those rallies began the Tea Party movement.
Protest is the essence of America. It formed the nation. To say people attending these rallies are loons is to say the same of those who dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest British taxes.
Yet to read in much of what remains of the mainline press, many teapartiers at Tax Day rallies are nothing good -- racists, fascists, gun nuts, gay-bashers, militant separatists. They are described as generally hateful, ignorant, unhinged, and, of course, extreme.
MOST ARE none of those things. Rather, they are largely independent voters angry at relentless Democratic leftism, frustrated by big-spending Republicanism (primarily under Bush II), and outraged by the hubris, pretension, shameless immoralism, and patronizing arrogance so widespread among the lofties in both political parties.
Are these people lopsidedly Christian? Yes, indeed -- and so is the nation. Are they conservative -- yes again, and hence typical of how a large percentage of voters describe themselves (a percentage consistently larger than voters describing themselves as liberals).
Are they loons swimming out of the mainstream? Here's NPR and Fox analyst Juan Williams:
A Pew poll in early March found 78 percent of Americans "dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country today."...A Fox poll in February found that 59 percent say they don't trust the federal government. A CNN poll the same month reported results that suggest 56 percent are well beyond mere mistrust: They agree that the federal government is "so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens."
AND ARE they defectors from the mainline press? You'd better believe it.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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