It has been a year and a half since the midterm elections ushered a cold wind of malevolence into the halls of congress and created a chasm in government not seen in more than a hundred and forty years.
The Tea Party Patriots.
The last time a divisiveness this deep cast a pall across the nation, we were steeped in a civil war over the rights of one class of people who, literally, built the nation and, in fact, the nation’s capital. The war for the freedom of the American slaves divided a nation, states and even families.
Once again, we are in a war over the rights and responsibilities of one class over another. We have a newly created subclass of the Republican party in the Tea Party who actually reflect a very similar ideology to those of the Confederacy of old in that they feel that our federal government should be reduced to a shadow and the responsibility of everything from deciding civil rights, social safety nets, national trade and safety standards be erased or decided by states and corporations, independent of the rest of the states. This really is no different than what the confederacy was willing to destroy the country for.
The Republican Party, in an attempt to strategically cripple a sitting United States president for reasons ranging from his race to his attitude on social reforms and fiscal regulations, embraced a rabid movement for the decentralization of power and deregulation of the nation’s safety checks. A movement started, funded and promoted by the very corporations that would benefit from the destruction of our centralized government and regulations. It was a clever move, really. They created a platform that convinced their newly anointed faithful that the very tax breaks that had failed to create jobs were necessary to create jobs, though ten years of failure has shown otherwise. Through misrepresentation, grass-roots-star-making and an abandonment of common sense and reason, they turned what was a right wing think tank idea into a destructive political movement. They introduced us to “Back to Basics” revolutionaries like Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, Michele Bachmann and Marco Rubio who knew little if anything of how government, economy or the very offices they sought worked.
Now we are sitting on the precipice of a debt crisis that would imperil millions of families across the country with skyrocketing interest rates, the dismantling of last chance programs for the poor and working poor, the unemployed and the feeble and old. They are playing a game of Russian roulette with America’s very fiscal sovereignty on the global market. They are quite clueless as to the level of devastation that this fool’s game they are playing will result in for the country.
The importance of this, beyond the obvious, is writ large for the people of New Jersey for a few glaring reasons. The first and most significant is that these Tea Party Patriots admire Chris Christie and have expressed a strong desire to see him move into the national debate and act as a guiding light for the rest of the country and quite possibly, run for president. Secondly is that New Jersey has elected a few of these Tea Party Patriots including Jon Runyan to important offices, and they are now directly responsible for holding a figurative gun to our heads. And lastly they have created a subset of the Democratic party in New Jersey who are in a rush to compromise and even surrender traditionally democratic ideals: The “Christiecrats”.
These newly anointed Christiecrats have given the Tea Party darling, Chris Christie, two victories that were not too long ago, unheard of. With the move to legislate what were traditionally bargaining table items in pensions and healthcare benefits, without getting budget assurances, they oversaw and contributed to a direct attack on labor and a fiscal evisceration of the poor and working poor in New Jersey. In doing both of these things, they have created a folk hero amongst the hard-right and even moderate right of the Republican Party.
The attacks by Chris Christie on the women, poor and aged in New Jersey speaks to the heart of the Tea Party ideology of “Not with MY tax dollars”. The ideology is so entrenched in him that even his language and public attacks reflect the spirit of selfishness and disdain for those not right-leaning or rich enough to afford his respect.
The Tea Party has become the driving force behind every decision of indecision held by the GOP and in New Jersey, has given right leaning democrats and corporate power brokers an unprecedented level of control over the state and the country. As we move into the next election cycle, we have to consider the damage done and suffering created by this malevolence that is the Tea Party and we must excise it from the body politic before the very spirit of this country is broken beyond repair.