Recent HBO series ‘The Newsroom’ left a differing impression upon critics and viewers. Some may be indifferent towards it, but I am most certainly not. There was one moment in the season finale that I found so ground breaking I can still recall it word for word. I am referring to the time the lead character Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) describes the American Tea Party as “The American Taliban”.
So, who are the Tea Party? They first came to prominence in early 2009 after rising from the ashes of John McCain’s unsuccessful presidential bid. Led by Ron Paul, the name originates from the Boston Tea Party of 1773, an iconic event that has long been used by anti-tax protestors. It was a party that started out with innocent protests against the way the American government was handling the economic crisis. However, as Brandon Brice, a policy analyst, put it, it is now a party that has turned into “More a rally of hate”.
High profile politicians such as Hermain Cain, Michelle Bachmann and the infamous Sarah Palin are all members. The movement affiliates itself with the Republican Party. Though, given the Party’s series of bad press and decreasing public approval rating, Romney and co. have been keen to actively distance themselves. The Tea Party have been described by the New York Times as “Anti-government, anti-spending, anti-immigration and anti-compromise politics,” as well as being strict advocates of the United States Constitution. You may think this doesn’t sound so bad, and wonder how this could provoke such hostile reactions. But, when you couple the movement with leaders full of contradictions, racism and general pre-historic views, you begin to realise that maybe the analogy made between them and the Taliban isn’t totally inaccurate,
Let’s be clear. I am not for one second suggesting the leaders of the Tea Party are going to order violent acts of terrorism upon their own country. However, when you look at what both groups stand for in more detail, you realise that although the Tea Party use far less violent methods, parallels can be drawn between their beliefs.
The Taliban treat women in an inhumane and disgusting way. But that is all they know. They only know how to be violent and how to be extreme. The Tea Party want to take away a woman’s fundamental right to an abortion, but the obvious question has to be asked – shouldn’t a Western superpower know better? Is it right for men and women who would fall under the category of ‘world leaders’ to boast such outdated views? Although the Taliban and seemingly the American Tea Party would not think so, it is a woman’s basic human right to be in control of her body.
Furthermore, both groups scream intolerance. The Taliban supress anyone who differs from their beliefs or the supposed ‘beliefs of Allah’. The Tea Party mentally destroy anyone who could stand in their way of their sacred ‘perfect’ tax free haven of America. High profile Tea Party politicians have even been known to use racial slurs. In the most shocking instance Jules Manson, a member of the movement, publically declared “Assassinate the f****** n***** and his monkey children,” when speaking about Obama. It shocks me that one human being said this about another. It shocks me even more that one human being said this about the President of the United States. But I am truly chilled to the core that a member of a political party, a role model, a man others would look to for guidance said this. In the olden days of prosperous economic growth, the days the Tea Party idolise, Mr. Manson’s use of his freedom of speech would be deemed treasonous. The punishment? Death. Mr. Manson should count himself lucky that the constitution of the United States of America, the very constitution the Tea Party worships and the very constitution Jules Manson and his kind are an embarrassment to, enables our freedom of speech. Otherwise, he’d be six feet underground and I can’t say the world would be any worse a place.
The Tea Party’s stance on Obama is truly fascinating. They hate him and they hate what he’s done to the economy. The Tea Party stand for anti-tax and maximum growth, but this is a contradiction in itself. They hate a man who has done more for the economy since the golden days of Ronald Regan. They hate a man who in his first month passed one of the biggest tax cuts ever. And what does the Tea Party stand for? They stand for tax cuts. Why hate a man who fulfils the biggest part of your policy? It’s an enormous contradiction and an embarrassment upon America.
Despite its criticism the movement is still in full force today, and worryingly its membership appears to be growing. I fear a world in which the Tea Party could get to power. If Americans think their country is in a bad state at the moment, they could do no worse a crime than register a vote for a Tea Party representative. Surely a party that worships Sarah Palin cries stupidity. Surely a party that wants tax cuts in a time of economic down turn cries hypocrisy. And surely a party that uses racial slurs simply cries danger. If I was Barack Obama or Mitt Romney and I was about to win the 2012 presidential election, I could not think of a more pressing matter than banning the Tea Party’s existence from this very earth.