For over a year, Tea Party supporters, activists and demonstrators have touted their supposedly pro-America, anti-Big-Government-taxes sentiments as being the fundamental keys to their masses.
Yet, over and over again, evidence has piled up against the Party for its racist, homophobic and religiously-intolerant rhetoric even as they claim such evidence does not exist.
Even in speaking with personal friends and acquaintances who happen to associate themselves in one way or another with the Tea Party (and in some cases identify themselves as “Tea Party Patriots”), they have consistently noted that their ideologies simply lie with the notion of small government, less taxes, strong immigration laws for the protection of jobs, etc. – offering not even a hint of the racism, religious mongering and “morality based” propaganda (seen at actual Tea Party rallies) hidden beneath the guises of national security, jobs, faith and American “exceptionalism”.
But now, with the 2012 presidential race in full (sometimes hysterical) swing, the Tea Party is perhaps succumbing to its own fear – that of a second term (loosely) liberal, Democratic, black, “secret Muslim” – and placing all of its “crazy eggs” in one basket in the hopes that the momentum may very well carry them to the White House.
Perhaps the best and most recent example of this underlying fervor to re-establish the country as a safe haven for white, straight Christendom is Tea Party Nation’s endorsement of the sure-to-be short lived candidacy of Michele Bachmann; an endorsement gained largely due to the Congresswoman’s stance against gay rights and her husband’s previous work in “gay reparative therapy” – or better known as “praying the gay away.”
According to Tea Party Nation president Judson Phillips, the gay rights movement is part of a larger “liberal freak show” and that “most Americans do not believe homosexuality is a good thing.”
Ok then, maybe Philips is referring to the economics surrounding gay rights (taxation, benefits, etc.) and tie it in some convoluted way to the role of government in our private lives…right?
In an email last month to its members, Tea Party Nation distributed a blog posting from Right wing activist Alan Caruba on the dangers of marriage equality and anti-bullying programs – urging members to fight against the “the queering of America” and recognize the gay rights movement as “a distinct threat to the fabric of a society based on the undisputed normality of heterosexuality.”
So much for lower taxes, smaller government and personal freedoms.
But take a look at Caruba’s careful wording as he attempts to imply that the “gay agenda” is being “forced” upon citizens by the big, bad White House by means of - gasp! – anti-bullying and tolerance campaigns:
“I can speak only for myself, but I find all this activity to legalize ‘gay marriage’ and to introduce a gay agenda into the curriculums in the nation’s schools a distinct threat to the fabric of a society based on the undisputed normality of heterosexuality. I am pretty sure the ‘straight’ citizens of Boston and elsewhere find it offensive to host a gay parade.”
“I believe the greater society has a right to protect itself,” he continued, “its children and its military forces against these legislative intrusions, mandates and coercions to force acceptance upon it. If it continues, it will become one more factor in the destruction of America, a signal that its moral foundations continue to be eroded.”
In another column, Caruba refers to the LGBT community as social “aberrations” and that granting them the right to marry is “an act of societal suicide.”
One can easily swap out the terms “gay” and “gay marriage” for “colored” and “civil rights” to get an eerily reminiscent montage of similar discourse that came out of the South during desegregation in the 1960s.
One can also easily and immediately discredit Caruba for his staunch advocacy against environmental protections and corporate regulations while on the Board of Directors for the American Policy Center – a far-Right wing think-tank that also claims that the United Nations impedes the United States’ national sovereignty and that federal education policies are seeking to eradicate the rights of American parents.
“In 2012 Americans will clean house in the White House and the Congress,” wrote Caruba, “electing men and women who understand that homosexuality is an unfit condition for marriage, for service in the military, and that its justification in the states and the courts is a stealth attack on the nation.”
Pushing the pro-bullying envelope even further, Tea Party Nation contributor and member of the anti-Muslim group ACT! For America Rich Swier recently compared gay kids to drug addicts, said bullying is healthy, and that tolerance programs in schools are “based on lies and deception.”
Addressing the rash of LGBT bullying and teen deaths over the past year, Swier writes: “[t]his is not bullying. It is peer pressure and is healthy. There are many bad behaviors such as smoking, under age drinking and drug abuse that are behaviors that cannot be condoned. Homosexuality falls into this category. Homosexuality is simply bad behavior that youth see as such and rightly pressure their peers to stop it.”
By these rationales, Tea Party Nation is actively advocating against what it considers to be morally “bad behavior” – lifestyles that have little to nothing to do with taxes or government but are vilified simply because of social and religious prejudices.
On a whole, the Tea Party hypocritically supports candidates and, in turn legislation, that would in fact allow the government to impede upon individuals’ personal freedoms – allowing for vulnerable, ostracized citizens of all ages to go unprotected and without the support of their elected officials – while pushing a pro-ONE-religion agenda on the most diverse country in the world.
Yet, none of this has anything to do with the ideas of small government and lower taxes. Instead, as I have been saying for quite a while, the Tea Party has hijacked the ideas of patriotism and historical truth to drum up support for an ideology more dangerous and derisive than anything the country has seen in a very long time; providing a mainstream voice for so-called “activists” who one time not-so-long-ago had to hide behind sheets to be heard.