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Posts Tagged ‘Alaska’

The loosely aligned group of people who refer to themselves as the “Tea Party”  began to appear in 2008 as a response to the efforts of the newly elected Obama administration to cope with the collapse of the American banking system and the country’s screaming nosedive toward The Great Depression Part II. The movement gained more supporters as the new Democratic government pushed health care reform through Congress. Several people claim to be the originators of the movement and there are various splinter Tea Party organizations who all subscribe to one general line of thought: they are rabidly against the present Democratic government that was elected by the majority of the American people. This has made them natural allies of the Republican Party that is also adamantly against everything the present government is for. I imagine that if President Obama declared that, “Today is Sunday”, they would disagree. So, OK. I get it. They are uniformly against the Obama administration and the Democratic Party because they want their power back. I can understand that. It’s called hardball politics. It is nothing more than a struggle for power – winner takes all. Right?

But what about the poor, innocent, true believers of the Tea Party? Are they motivated by the same self-serving cynical ideas of the mainstream Republicans? Hardly. As I said, they are true believers in an ideal; in fact their belief in these ideals is comparable to a religious belief.  I say that because they brook no counter arguments, they are not open to discussion or debate, they will not accommodate or listen to a reasonable challenge to their statements. They just know that they are right, by God. And that’s it. Period.

And that, of course, is the problem.

Even so, reasonable people – and I think most Americans are reasonable – need to take a step back from the easily tossed slogans of the street marchers and the rants of Glenn Beck and his cohorts at the Fox Electric Propaganda Machine and carefully consider the important fundamental issue that no one ever talks about.  To do this we need to go back in time a bit – about 60,000 years. Why 60,000? Because scientific DNA evidence indicates that we (every person on this planet) is descended from a couple of individuals who lived 60,000 years ago.

During those last 60,000 years every group of humans, no matter where they lived, found that one thing was necessary for survival – you had to belong to a tribe. If you went off on your own you would die. There was no place for rugged individualism in those days; and not only those days. Tribalism, in one form or another, is necessary even today in modern society. Indeed, what is a united country if not just a very large tribe?  The key to having a successful tribe is a division of labor and an understanding that the members of a tribe take care of each other. It’s “all for one and one for all”.  Or, as Benjamin Franklin said upon the signing of the Declaration of Independence, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately”. That’s because we were leaving the tribe of Great Britain and forming our own tribe, The United States of America.

Throughout American history, whether it was the Mormon pioneers who went west, the sailors who manned the New England whaling ships, or the unionized workers who built the cars in Detroit, everyone knew that survival meant belonging to the “tribe”. You were loyal to the tribe and the tribe was loyal to you. In recent history other parts of the world have tried other versions of the tribal concept. Karl Marx was an advocate of a tribal society called Communism. The countries of Scandinavia and other parts of Europe have formed tribal societies based upon the ideas of Socialism. Today the U.S. military (a sort of tribe itself) is engaged in warfare with the tribes of Afghanistan.

My point is simple: humans need to be members of some sort of organized “tribe” to survive on this planet. You can not go it alone. This is also true of those “rugged individualists” who live in Alaska – a state that receives more federal aid per capita than any other state in the United States. It’s interesting to listen to the Tea Party types from Alaska who want less Federal government. Do they know what they are asking for? With the loss of Ted Stevens from the U.S. Senate I think they will soon find out what that is like.

But wait a minute. What about the Republicans? Surely they can’t be for less government – they are part of the government, aren’t they? Do they want to eliminate their own jobs? No, of course not – they just want the government to tax their businesses less and they want to stop any oversight of their businesses – things like those pesky consumer protection laws and laws that keep the environment free of pollution from the waste products of companies who don’t give a rat’s behind about your backyard anyway. The Republican Party is not about smaller or less powerful government – just look at Bush/Cheney and how they stepped all over the laws regarding privacy, equal justice, and torture. They were not against the power of government – they just wanted to use the power as they saw fit without any constraints. And they did. It was an out of control government. I guess you call that Republican freedom or liberty or some such misuse of the English language.

So, what is the error of the Republican/Tea Party Coalition? It is this: no society can thrive based upon a concept of “every man for himself”. Such a society isn’t even a society. It is chaotic. It is the Law of the Yukon, where “Only the strong shall thrive, that surely the weak shall perish, and only the fit survive.” It is not the way that humans have lived. It is selfishness in the extreme. It is blind ignorance. The poor Tea Party people who believe they can live without government are foolish. They wouldn’t last a week in the wilds of Alaska.

Yet, one must ask: how many true believers are there in this Republican/Tea Party coalition anyway? Probably very few. That’s because Republicanism is not about “no government”; it’s about government by the wealthy for the wealthy. Their problem is that there is not, and never will be, a majority of wealthy people to vote them in – so they need to hook up with “like-minded” people, such as the Tea Party types.  Many of the TP people are not wealthy but they foolishly believe they don’t need a government to help them.  They don’t want to pay taxes, and they most certainly don’t need a black Democratic President telling them they need government health care or any other government help, i.e. things like bailouts and so forth. These are the selfish “believers”, and these are the people who would blindly walk off a cliff believing they can walk on air. They are simply out of touch with reality and the history of the human race.  The Republicans are not the true believers, they are the exploiters of the true believers. While some may call them the Party of No, they are in fact the Party of Me. And it is here where we see their common ground with the Tea Party types, for they are simply another version of the Party of Me. And this is the fundamental error of both, because a society can never succeed based on the concept of “ME FIRST”. Societies and mankind only prosper when we think of ourselves as the Party of Us and a country of Us. The concept of “us” is tribal and tribal means two things: the individual has responsibility to the tribe and the tribe has responsibility to the individual. This has been mankind’s recipe for success for 60,000 years.

The fundamental error of the Republican/Tea Party Coalition is that they believe they can form a successful government and country based upon selfish individualism. History has proven them wrong time and time again, but they don’t care and they won’t learn, because all they really care about is “Me”.

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