August 4, 2010

Tea Party Misnomers

Sometimes I watch video's like the one above about American culture and what's going over there in that country. The Tea Party movement is one element and embodies some of the ideals of the conservative right. They started out in recent years to oppose the Obama administration. There are some peculiarities from my perspective. I realize that some things are said in the heat of the moment but some allegations directed towards the President are just plain false. The sad part is that I get the impression that some people truly believe in what they are saying.

First let me explain what my political affiliations are. I'm a moderate left and voted for the Dutch Labour Party for many years. While I suppose that will lead some people to conclude that I'm a hardcore socialist or communist, nothing could be farther from the truth. Because I'm also a democrat and firmly believe in free elections. As such I find socialist countries such as Cuba, North Korea, China and to a lesser extend Venezuela dictatorships. Labour Parties in Europe, once you get into the heart of the matter, aren't as socialist as you might think. True, they stand up for the right of the workers and the lower and middle class but beyond that they are for 'big business' and don't shy away from protecting those interests. European socialist (Labour) parties don't fit in the same category as the countries I mentioned. They are still capitalists.

What I see quite often is that members of Tea Party movement claim that Obama is a socialist or communist. That's quite remarkable since if you would put Obama on the political scale of my own country, he would be more right-wing than our right wing party VVD. Makes you wonder why my country, Holland, hasn't turned into communist state by now. Of course we look at politics through different glasses but pointing out the differences might enable you to examine your own. Obama isn't a socialist or a communist, he's still very much for the free market system and capitalism. He implements some social changes that benefit the lower and middle class and lets be honest about, some (selfish) people who basically don't want to pay taxes or pick up the bill in domestic policies have a problem with that.

The biggest misnomer I've seen is that Obama is somehow a Nazi or national socialist. This suggestion is somehow associated with the mistaken idea that the Nazi's were socialists. In fact, they weren't. It's really remarkable because most Europeans wouldn't dare to make such correlations. Some Americans seem to have less inhibitions. Lets not forget that the Nazi's took it upon themselves to fight the communist Soviet Union. If the Nazi's were that left, why would they fight the (left) communist ideology that fiercely? The truth of the matter is that the Nazi's belonged to the far right in politics. Just read the objective Wikipedia article in order to see what they were all about.

This is going to upset some people but on a political scale the Tea Party movement is closer to national socialism than they might think. By protecting their own interests, liberty - the free market system - paying little to no taxes - protecting their own property and money, you will get leaders who do the same thing. These leaders will protect their own interests as well and that includes their amassed wealth, stock portfolios, billions of dollars and so on. Like you they are not going to share their wealth but continue to expand and protect that. There comes a point where your interests and the interests of your leaders collide because like you, the rich leaders of your country have no inclination to make things better if it means losing their advantage. In a way that's already what you're seeing now in American politics and the Tea Party movement.
My advice is to look at yourself and want you want in politics, very importantly, next try to place yourself in the shoes of a politician and pretend that you're him or her. Than try to discover where you collide with the interest of other people. See what kind of difference there is between you and your leaders. What we need is not political turmoil, what we need is understanding. Understand the system that you are in participating. Understand what you want and how it fits in the bigger picture. That really is the step to make this world a better place, for yourself and for everyone else.

Know thyself.

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