When I first heard of this “Tea Party Movement”, back in 2009, the first thing that popped into my mind was: “Dammit, what are those hipsters up to now!?”. Turns out, I was horribly, horribly wrong. The Tea Party is not a bunch of kids getting dressed up and sitting around a table drinking tea, it is not the setting for an encounter with Alice made up by Lewis Carroll; it is a group of mostly middle-aged, small town Americans protesting against the government. Basically, what the Tea Party stands for is a lot less: Less government, less taxes, less spending, less illegal immigrants, less firearm regulations, less poor people, less helping poor people, less talking about helping poor people.
The basis of the Tea Party is almost reasonable. Their mission statement is: “Our mission is to attract, educate, organize, and mobilize our fellow citizens to secure public policy consistent with our three core values of Fiscal Responsibility, Constitutionally Limited Government and Free Markets.” Their actions, however, are not so reasonable. For instance, the Tea Party elder statesman Ron Paul has an interesting goal: to wipe out the US Department of Education. Why? Nobody knows. What about the oh-so witty campaign slogan of Christine O’Donnell: “I am not a witch.”? Does rings some bells? Yup, she was Tea Party-endorsed. She didn’t win the race for the Delaware senate seat. Do you think that either of these things is the most inflammatory thing a Tea Party member has said? Well, you would be wrong. Top marks go to Nevada Senate Candidate Sharron Angle. When speaking to a group of Latino high school students: “I don’t know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me.” What? “Some of you look a little more Asian to me”?
The biggest concern that people should have with the Tea Party is that they have a large, rabid following that appear to be uneducated, and if they are educated they do say some stupid things. These are the kinds of people who thank Fox News for keeping them “informed”. One of the most interesting contrasts in the Tea Party is that many of their members lower middle-class, and are often unemployed. But what is one of the things they want less of? Social security. This just proves how rabid they are for their cause, as they are often in financial need, yet against getting help from the government.
In the news, you will often see a Tea Party organizer discussing a political issue with say, a Democratic pollster. Because these people are so fanatic, they don’t listen to other opinions. One argument I watched resulted in the show anchor stepping up and essentially telling the Tea Partier to shut up. This isn’t a surprise, though. As Winston Churchill once said: “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.”
But how is the Tea Party relevant to Canada? Well, the group is backing three of the four major Republican candidates for the next US Presidential election. Each candidate seems to be nuttier than the next. There is Rick Perry, who consistently quotes the Bible during speeches, and is a stickler for the constitution, which is ironic, considering that the US constitution is a stickler for separation of Church and State Then, there is Herman Cain, the former CEO of a pizza chain who is also a minister, whose religious remarks are even more inflammatory than Perry’s: on abortion, he said they, “started Planned Parenthood, the objective was to put these centers in primarily black communities so they could help kill black babies before they came into the world…It’s planned genocide…”. Finally, we have Michelle Bachman, the wackiest of the lot. She is uber-conservative, both in political views and in religious beliefs. She also took an oath upon marrying her husband that she would obey him. And she is running for president. Just imagine the consequences for Canada if one of these lunatics is elected. Canada is everything that they are opposed to! We have government healthcare, social security, and rely on a steady flow of immigrants to keep our population growing.
Canada and the US share the longest undefended boarder in the world, and they have never been in direct conflict with each other, except back in 1812, when Canada was not yet a country. However, I ask you NT, could that change if a member of the Tea Party is elected president of the United States? Would Canada still want to be buddies with the US? Would NAFTA fall apart? But for now, lets try to ignore these scary thoughts…