I’m not going to lie to you. I’ve said bad things about the tea party. Lots of bad things. I’ve been snide. I’ve been demeaning. It’s hard not to be when the term “tea party” has most often been associated with the radical fringe of the Republican Party, with folks who seem more interested in attacking science than fixing the economy, with those who seem to believe that their taxes have been raised (they haven’t) that there are thousands of new regulations burdening businesses (there aren’t) and that President Obama is in some kind of anti-American radical (he’s not) who wrecked the economy (check your calendar).
But several people have told me that those people, the ones sponsoring the rigidly ideological debates, the ones that cheered for a congressman shouting “you lie!” during the State of the Union address, the ones with the signs where Obama is dressed up like a witchdoctor or smeared with Joker paint… that those people aren’t the real tea party. Not the real, grassroots local folks who came out to protest what they saw as a failing government. Not the people who, like the folks at Occupy Wall Street, came out to raise their voices about injustice and unequal treatment.
As an aside, there really is a level of hostility that has been reached between the blogs, well this blog, and the national media that is not conducive to civil discourse, and I probably crapped on Peggy Noonan more out of habit than necessity, since what she wrote is something, beside her political spin, that I might have said as well. However the idea that there is some formal process that one must go through to acquire legitimate authenticity of opinion and therefore the right to express it is just pure bullshit too.