I have always been quite passionate about politics. From my first time on the campaign trail at age four to my first American government class, I was hooked. Being active in politics became an outlet through which to articulate social, moral and political concerns that were important to me and has become a part of who I am today.
When engaging in a debate or political discussion, I always strive to do so in an intellectual and educated manner. As any good academic will agree, full consideration of both sides of an intelligible argument is key to having a discussion, whether on topics of political nature or otherwise.
Perhaps this is why the Tea Party movement is so upsetting to me. While it may be no surprise that I am liberal in tone, I try to temper my love of liberal politics and remove emotion from any given political issue so that logic and factual evidence may be considered, which I fear is more than could be said for the Tea Party.
Yes, I may be tempted to let my emotions get the best of me and name the Tea Party as a bunch of right-wing extremists. Yet, since their stage-right emergence into the realm of national discourse, I have genuinely tried to understand the movement’s platform and methods.
As someone with an interest in political behavior, I am fascinated by what can only be determined as an illogical faction of our political spectrum. After witnessing my fair share of Tea Party rallies, I find myself forced to deem much of their message to be contradictory to their platform. That is, whatever concrete platform you are able to discern from among a plethora of bumper-sticker slogans.
For example, the Tea Party is known for frequent references to the founding fathers and constitutional ideals. Yet, obtuse references to God, religion and the status of our “Christian” nation clearly juxtaposed with policy seem to violate our constitutional protection against the mixing of church and state.
Another line of thinking within the Tea Party that seems invalid is their conceptualization of the term which has become the backbone of the movement: patriotism. Loyalty to one’s country inherently places the best interest of the country as the top priority, yet I fail to see how the movement’s staunch inability to compromise is in the best interest of the American people.
The divisiveness that has permeated the 112th Congress, which came into office on a swell of Tea Party support, cost the United States this August during the debt ceiling crisis. Those in office who were elected on the Tea Party vote vowed not to work with President Obama, and we now see how dearly that cost the American people.
Clearly, once many of the slogans of the Tea Party platform face even the most modest dissections, it becomes evident that the Tea Party movement is incapable of entering into credible political discussion. While their goals are admirable, they are not politically productive.
The movement’s seeming inability to remove passion from their discourse, coupled with their illogical line of thought, renders this a political movement that should be widely discredited.