Friday, February 25, 2011

Principles? We Don't Need No Stinking Principles

Colonial Unions Stage Work-Stoppage

Forget the reasons for the Right's manipulation of various groups of people into a "Tea Party" for a moment.  Forget the political game, in other words--the fact that the Right (read Insurance Companies, corporate power generally, and Republicans generally) needed a method for countering a much needed and much desired reform of the United States medical delivery system which was going to get enacted by a Democratically controlled Congress.  Instead, ask yourself just how the Tea Party got generated.  That is, what was it, in the received feelings and beliefs of those folks who really did turn out, that was appealed to.  Of course one important part of the answer was and is, surely, the disconcerting fact to millions of folks that there is a black person in the U.S. Presidency.  This is the submerged appeal to racism.  There is no doubt at all that it exists and existed when the Tea Party came to exist.  It's visible in the signage, for one thing, and in the birther arguments, the "he's a muslim" arguments, etc.  Racism was and is there--and we know that just because anyone who cares to pay attention to normal, everyday life will easily discern racism almost at every turn.  Just ask any black person.  And the Right knows it's there, and there to be gamed as needed.  It's just more gaming to deny it with a straight face, as the various vocalizers of Right-Wing mythology do with sickening frequency.

But let's leave the racism vein alone for the moment.  As well as that, the Tea Party also expresses a fundamental distrust of power--particularly and perhaps over-exclusively government power.  This is where it gets its name, what "Tea Party" appeals to, on the surface.  The original Tea Party was a colonial resistance to the British Government's imposition of tea taxes.  It's an objection to government power.  And how did the original Boston Tea Party happen?  Why obviously, because a group of Bostonians got together and organized a demonstration, a political theatre if you like--namely, they tossed the tea into the harbor.  And while I'm not going to bother to do the historical research right now, I think it's fair to say that the British Government's reaction to the Tea Party was supression, or at least an attempt at supression.

So then.  How is it that today Tea Party groups are actually standing with the Wisconsin government when it attempts to supress a fundamental right--the right to collective bargaining.  And how is it they're also defending a bill which, among other important details, give the Governor the power to sell by fiat State-owned and operated public utilities, without even a bid process?  What is the matter with these Tea Party folks, anyways?  They're on entirely the wrong side, according to their own fundamental principles.  Indeed, the Wisconsin Democratic State Senators who have taken the irregular tack of actually leaving the state to deny a quorum are doing a very "Tea Party" thing.  These Senators ought to get medals, and maybe they will some day.  They are doing their best to save their state from a disastrous piece of legislation--legislation of no benefit to anyone but large corporate employers--people mostly from out of state.  Outlawing collective bargaining is the opposite of populism--which is what the Tea Party is an example of.

Check out Paul Krugman's analysis of the Walker Bill.  That's pretty much all the facts you need to know.
King George III would have been delighted with this bill.  

Obviously Wisconsin (as most other states) faces budget issues right now.  Outlawing unions, however, is hardly a solution to a budget problem.  Nor is transforming teaching--a very hard job--into a very badly paying job an answer to the budget problem which doesn't bring with it worse problems.  As a commenter at Driftglass remarked (I paraphrase): if you make teaching a job not worth doing, we're qualified for other work: your jobs!  It's a true point even if it ultimately plays into the hands of the employers.  There's nothing employers want more than a dog-eat-dog mentality amongst the folks who need jobs.  And that gets us right back to the fundamental principles of the Tea Party.   Get together in a group and you can get stuff done.

The Kenyan Imposter hasn't banned the Tea Party, now has he?

Update: I note with pleasure that the Daily Howler takes note of the same Krugman column I linked to above.  Howler is exactly right on his larger point--that this long-game strategy to destroy the only financial counterweight to corporate power is at the moment in full hideous bloom, with coordinated attacks on unions qua unions erupting in any number of state legislatures controlled by Republicans.  With the Citizens United ruling already the order of the day, the force of money in political discourse, and in elections themselves, is already trending towards so-called "conservative" ends which will result in less and less voice for ordinary Americans--particularly when ordinary Americans begin to discover in their own lives the destruction which "conservative" policies such as Governor Walker's will entail over time.  It would indeed be nice if the  relatively tiny liberal voices on the teevee wasted less time on the ephemeral if disgusting pundits, and worked harder to actually report (as Krugman does in his column) what is going on.

1 comment:

  1. what's going on in wisconsin is making me heartsick. and furious. and frustrated. and baffled. i am trying to understand how it is that the republican party has managed to trick so many thousands and perhaps millions of people into working passionately against their own best interest.

    i see them as systematically dismantling every hard-won right we have--abortion rights; union rights; women's rights; the right to a fair work week, a fair wage, and a livable pension; the right to health care. and there are throngs of blue-collar workers CHEERING THIS ON? i just cannot figure this out.