September 28, 2013 by David K. Sutton
Reckless Anti-Government Tea Party Republicans: Give Us What We Want Or America Gets It
To understand our current predicament you must first examine how we got here. And while there are potentially endless influences that contributed to the current impasse in Washington, I do think there are a few big general influences that are largely to blame for the gridlock and obstruction that passes for governance in America.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THE UNINFORMED OR MISINFORMED
There’s probably no other time in American history that so few people have had so much influence on the legislative process in Washington D.C. Because Republicans have so successfully gerrymandered their districts into safe havens, they no longer fear the wrath of the entire country. The only thing Tea Party Republicans concern themselves with is appeasing the citizens in their districts. And these constituents are the most ideologically pure groups of people in the entire country. They represent less than 20% of the population, yet the gridlock they create in Washington cripples the entire country. And because these people are ruled by a rigid ideology, they are also the most uninformed and misinformed individuals. In the past, these castaways had some influence at the fringes but they did not possess the ability to hold a gun to America’s head, but ironically that has all changed in the “information” age.
THE “INFORMATION” AGE
Yeah, that’s a good one. If there is one thing that is true about the so-called information age we live in, it’s that plenty of “information” is being created. Unfortunately a lot of it is fabricated nonsense. Two things happened simultaneously in the past twenty years that has allowed ideologically pure conservatives to connect with each other, one is the internet, and the other is the Fox News Channel.
Don’t get me wrong, the internet is an immensely rich and powerful tool of modern human civilization, but the internet also allows for powerful connections between likeminded people from all around the country and the world. This can be used for great good, in advancing scientific knowledge and research, but can also be used by people for great harm, whether it be foreign terrorists plotting an attack or domestic terrorists, like the Tea Party, looking for a way to destroy American government. And yes, I just went there. It’s not that the Tea Party is terrorizing the nation, that would be laughable, the Tea Party exists to terrorize itself. If it’s members are not sufficiently fearful about what they perceive as pernicious government creep into their lives, they would have no affiliation at all. So while the Tea Party is bad for America, and is responsible for obstructionism in Washington, its real power to terrorize exists only within the ranks of its membership, that is until they figured out they could hold the country hostage with the debt ceiling. More on that in a moment.
Fox News Channel started around the same time Americans began accessing the internet in their homes. If the internet allowed ideologically pure Americans to connect with each other, Fox News gave them the talking points to use once they made that connection. And in the Tea Party age, Fox News increasingly “reports” in a style designed to get people worked up into a frenzy. Behind the scenes, Fox News likely operates primarily for ratings, but there’s plenty of ideologues working for Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, and so election influence is likely on the list of goals as well. Fox News “reporting” has produced a recklessly engaged Tea Party populace, setting it’s sights on completely remaking America into a reflection of its own image. The problem is, as I stated earlier, this group only represents a small minority of the country, so they must employ every tactic possible to gain the most influence.
GERRYMANDERED DISTRICTS AND REPUBLICAN PRIMARIES
One of the first things Tea Party Republicans did when they were elected in large numbers in the 2010 election was to use the brand new census data to redraw their districts to better represent the purity that got them elected in the first place. Now many of these Republicans preside over districts so pure, if they do not toe the line, they will get “primaried” in the next election. Or in other words, a more ideologically pure Tea Party conservative will challenge them in the next Republican primary. This sets up a dynamic where the good of the country is set aside for the agenda of a few, America be damned. These Republican representatives only care about their jobs in their ideologically pure districts, and they really don’t care about how much damage they do to the rest of the nation.
GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN AND THE DEBT CEILING
So this is where we find ourselves today. We are facing a government shutdown and a potential fight over the debt ceiling, and the reason this is happening is because of the hatred that a small number of Americans have for their own government and other Americans.
Senator Angus King (I-ME) on “Up with Steve Kornacki” — There’s a pernicious inner logic to what these characters are doing. They hate government. They don’t want government to work. They don’t believe government can or should work. So to them, crashing the economy and crashing the government is a kind of weird success. And it’s very hard to reach agreement with people who don’t share a kind of basic appreciation of the institution. This is dangerous. We’ve never been here before.
It is “my way or the highway.” It is “give us what we want or America gets it.” And the biggest target right now is the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). They want it gone, and they are willing to destroy the entire government and possibly world economy if that’s what it takes to destroy Obamacare.
There’s no room for compromise on any issue with these Tea Party Republicans. There’s only their list of demands, or they shut the government down. There’s only their list of demands, or they force a breach of the debt ceiling, setting off an unpredictable chain of events. But they don’t care, because in their minds, government is always wrong, and so they will simply see whatever outcome their foolish behavior brings as a necessary price to vanquish evil government once and for all.