Pouring a Cup While Pissing in the Same Teapot

When the Tea Partiers made their appearance in D.C. during the last midterm elections, it was easy to predict that they would one day morph into a group of typical unscrupulous, wretched Beltway politicians, tainted by the big money donors and lobbyists who plague Washington, D.C, gnawing away at the U.S. Treasury like parasitic botfly maggots -- despite their high and mighty rhetoric of fixing (demolishing) government, which plays quite well with the very same voters who are either benefiting from or in most need of government aid -- case in point, Kentucky. What is sad is that the electorates who represent this group (i.e., Gohmert, Bachmann, King, Paul, Lee) have no idea how much they are benefiting from this so-called evil government, or as to who is really stealing most of their livelihood and lunch money.

I, myself, and like-minded friends, often recriminate these dimwitted and myopic Tea Party politicians about their regressive and naïvely ignorant approach to governance. But shouldn't we first take voters to task and question the intellectual judgment that put these voodoo scientists ("people now don't die from prostate cancer, breast cancer or some of the other things" -- Chris Collins), intelligent design theorists ("There are hundreds and hundreds of scientists, many of them holding Nobel Prizes, who believe in intelligent design" -- Michele Bachmann), global warming deniers ("about nine years ago, even as more CO2 was being pumped into the air, the earth quit warming" -- Rohrabacher, Calif.), economic theory haters, women rights bashers, and quite ironically, government cynics, into office? Incidentally, Rohrabacher is on the science committee: Unfortunately, we have our own lunatics! Who are these dingbats who buy into the rubbish rhetoric of "less tax, less government" at their own expense while their Tea Party heroes are benefiting handsomely?

Redistricting too gets some blame, and it may deserve some of that opprobrium, since last mid term elections Democratic congressional candidates got more numbers of votes than their Republican counterparts, and yet the election results aren't commensurate -- hardly democratic: talk about precluded misrepresentation. But there is more to this story than just district lines and voting numbers. There is a direct correlation between poverty, education, ignorance, and distressed districts. As America gets less educated, and becomes more suburban (effectively rural), it creates pockets of voters who are no longer informed enough to parse through the morass of slanted radio punditry and cable "news" to decide intelligently. It is they who let this veritable menagerie of political candidates, who would be more at home in the bar scene from Star Wars, into Congress.

It's no accident that the majority of these candidates are from the poorest states in the union or come from districts that are in economically dire straits, or from states that are sparsely populated yet whose Senatorial power is equal to states that are several hundred times more populous (N.D., approx 700,000: Calif., 38 million -- though this is fodder for another column). A lot of these states and districts have a negative cash flow balance with the federal government.

Rick Perry stopped squawking about secession once someone pointed out to him that Texas dips into the federal coffers more often than they dip into Texas' own. Along with Texas, many of these ultra-right red states are moochers: they will unabashedly sully the teapot while leisurely sipping away Californians' hard work, along with that of some other blue (chip) economic power houses. The Faux News crowd will make snide and smug remarks about our crazy liberal populous all day long as their target audience ignorantly mooch from those crazy liberal states.

This new breed of so-called Tea Party "constitutionalists" has a quasi-nihilistic vision of an American existence and a dog-eat-dog Darwinian society that is not only utterly anachronistic, it downright unsustainable in the long run and harks back to the previous century. The ideological partisanship is so malignant that any step that takes this country forward by the opposition party is clobbered despite the prospect of a better America. Although I do think that the Affordable Health Care website shortcomings are inexcusable, the giddiness with which the failure is lambasted is rather un-American. I have lived here for just over three decades, and I have witnessed a quite a few political and cultural changes since Reagan, but nothing prepared me for this tectonic change in American politics. The forward thinking America I found and came to love has been painfully waning in front of my eyes.

When I was a child, I would pick at my scabs as soon as they hardened, as the texture of the scab was incongruent with the rest of my skin. Despite the prospect of a still-raw wound waiting underneath, the desire to banish the unsightly blemish always won the day. The Tea party is a scab on the American political constitution -- as evident by the recent government shutdown. "This is my idea of fun," Rep. David Schweikert of Arizona said of the shutdown. Right-wing politicians showed total disregard for the working men and women whose entire existence is dependent on a hand to mouth paycheck. When asked if she would keep her paycheck during shutdown, the Rep. Renee Ellmers of N.C. said this: "...I need my paycheck. That's the bottom line." Even some not so mainstream Republicans are beginning to murmur, and their dirty laundry is out in the open. It's time to start picking on this unseemly political scab. Sure, there might be some pain, but might that not be worth the trade-off for a less unsightly (somewhat) political landscape?