In light of the recent Tea Party victory for Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s governor GOP primary, it cannot be denied that America’s newest political party has propelled itself into the limelight. While many disregard Tea Party members as a radical blip in a two sided political radar map, the potential impact of the Sarah Palin endorsed force should not be taken lightly. Founder Dale Robertson paints a picture of an alternate “new voice” party based on the hypothesized wants of the Founding Fathers. Despite the Republican undertones, Robertson argues that his movement does not answer to a political party, but rather the Constitution alone. He continues to explain away the conservative sway by arguing, “It was the Constitution that is inherently conservative, not a party.” Actually, the Constitution remains one of the most politically interpretative documents to this day. It is in the political standing of the president, Congress and federal judges that the Constitution reflects either a strict Republican view or a looser Democratic one.
To research further, I took to a primary source – Dale Robertson’s blog, which is casually disguised as the official website of the Tea Party movement. Teaparty.org hosts a wide variety of propaganda and persuasion links, more notably a list of the fifteen core values of a true Tea Partier. They range from the importance of protecting domestic jobs and balancing the national budget to the eloquently written fact that “Illegal aliens are here illegally.” Apart from stating the obvious, these “non-negotiable core beliefs” do a good job of establishing the stereotype that Tea Partiers are essentially just Republicans on steroids.
For example, Republicans generally push for gun-rights, but Tea Partiers take it up that extra notch with the “gun ownership is sacred” rule. In a nation where horrors such as Columbine and Virginia Tech occur outside of nightmares, some form of gun regulation should be in place to counteract psychopaths. Indeed, a licensed hunter should be able to buy as many guns as he wants, but the angst-ridden teen bent on garnering some attention should not be able to get his hands on the same weapons.
Perhaps most broadly, comes the “Political offices [should be] available to average citizens” argument. While I agree that average citizens deserve the right to be represented fairly and be heard distinctly, putting Joe Schmo in the Governor’s seat is not going to help the state or nation. Frankly, no matter how good Joe’s intentions or convictions are, he will get eaten alive by the experienced sharks circling around him. A leader must be in tune with the needs of his or her people, but that leader must also possess the political savvy to transform those needs into reality.
The site’s “About” section does not help its nonpartisan case much either. Robertson declares that, “the responsibility of our beloved nation is entrenched within the hearts of true American Patriots from all walks of life, every race, religion and national origin.” Robertson’s organization may “accept” all walks of life, but it’s easy to say that when 75 percent of the people who come knocking are of his own race and socio-political standing.
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