When I was young (1960’s) I joined the Republican Party. Back then, the Republican Platform said things like “It is a high mission of government to help assure equal opportunity for all, affording every citizen an equal chance at the starting line but never determining who is to win or lose,” and “… that service to all the people, never to selfish or partisan ends, must be the abiding purpose of men entrusted with public power” with which I agreed. In fact, I think that’s what most people agree with.
A couple of years ago, I quit the Republican Party and became an Independent. It suits my character better. I like to choose the right path, regardless of what party the candidate is in, and I dislike being expected to follow party dogma, especially when I disagree with it. So why did I switch after almost 50 years?
Let’s talk a minute about the Tea Party.
It was Libertarian Ron Paul who gave the Tea Party the boost it needed to bring it into prominence back around 2007, and he continues to be active in the organization today. Theoretically, it’s dedicated to a strict limited-government agenda, and originally its organizers intended to stay away from social issues. The Tea Party, however, is not a well-unified organization, but a coalition of loosely related smaller organizations who support a wide range of fringe issues in American politics. It’s estimated that only approximately 10% of the voters are Tea Party members, yet they have managed to co-opt the entire Republican party (and more importantly, its voter base).
The Tea Party’s base is made up of seditionists, separatists, secessionists, religious extremists, science deniers, conspiracy theorists, anti-abortionists, those opposed to immigration, white supremacists, Nazis, KKK members, anti-evolutionists, those demanding prayer in schools, those opposing Obamacare, anti-unionists, and gun cultists to name a few. In other words, the Tea Party’s base is all extremist fringe elements, and no moderates.
A quick look at their “Contract with America” will convince you that their goal is to oblige all Americans, under rule of law, to live according to Tea Party belief systems. They want to destroy the Federal Government as we know it, strip it of all its power, so that the rich and powerful who finance the Tea Party can return America to the days of JP Morgan, Carnegie, Ford, Paxton, Kountze and Creighton.
Today’s Republican Party is no longer the party of the 1960s. It’s a rotting shell being consumed by the Tea Party parasite inside of it. Even though the Republican Party still has many moderate members, they fear the Tea Party, and they mostly tow the line. If they don’t, they may be “primaried out” of the party. In effect, the Tea Party has stolen the Republican Party’s identity. Now, there’s a case of identity theft worth noting!
But what’s worse, the Tea Party, while a small minority of the voters, has co-opted the Republican voter base, so with only 10% of the voters in the Tea Party, they now control 47% of the voting public. Now when we say Republican, we mean Tea Party. If you vote Republican, you are actually voting Tea Party. They are truly sitting in the catbird seat.
Here’s something else to consider.
In states controlled by the Republican Party (red states), voting laws are being changed to tilt the playing field against Democrats, and representational districts have been gerrymandered to guarantee Republican (Tea Party) control at least through 2020, if not beyond. All this is done in the name of preventing fraud, but the only fraud that has been discovered is by Republicans. There are a myriad of other schemes and trickeries being employed also, such as sending out fake voting materials to Democrats with deliberately misleading information, such as the date for voting displayed as the day after the real vote, or requests for absentee voting ballots with the wrong address on them (so the absentee ballot will never arrive). The Tea Party holds no high moral ground. They are willing to lie and cheat as much as it takes to get their way.
So, who do they really represent?
The Republican Party and Republican candidates receive almost all their campaign donations from big money donors with each donor giving, on average, 86 times as much as Democratic donors. These are the people and corporations to whom the Republicans owe their loyalty. The DeVos family, of Amway fame. Las Vegas mega donor Sheldon Adelson. And someone named “David Koch,” if you’ve heard of him (who hasn’t?) And other wealthy individuals who want to curtail government power so that they can do anything they please, like in the days of Morgan, Carnegie, and Ford.
Tea Party and Republican voters are actually voting against their best interests, but they are so absorbed in their ideologies and dogma that they don’t seem to see or care.
What can you do?
Ask yourself if you:
- want to incite a rebellion against the government of the United States;
- want your part of the United States to secede from the rest of it;
- force others to conform to your religious views by rule of law;
- think science is nonsense, hokum, or baloney;
- believe in conspiracy theories;
- want to deny a woman her right to choose for herself regarding abortion;
- want to stop immigration;
- want to force immigrants to convert to Christianity;
- are a white supremacist, Nazi, or KKK member;
- believe evolution is not true;
- demand that schools allow teachers to conduct prayer sessions;
- want to take health care away from 40 million other people, but keep yours (you oppose Obamacare);
- want to get rid of unions (you want to be forced to work cheap); or
- think somebody’s trying to take away your guns (a conspiracy theory).
If the answer is “no, of course not!” you should not be voting Republican (i.e., Tea Party).
Vote for Democratic candidates. The Democratic Party supports voting, individual rights, equality, the middle class, and fairness in taxation. A good reason to vote against even moderate Republicans is that they are forced to tow the extremist lines. A vote, even for a moderate Republican, supports fringe element extremists in the Tea Party.
We must remember the words of Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, “It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us … that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” The Tea Party has publicly stated, and put into the Republican Platform of some states, their intention to destroy the government as we know it, and replace it with something else. It is their wish to see “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” perish from the earth.
And what would they replace it with? An oligarchy of the rich and powerful, the same ultra wealthy people who have become rich beyond anyone’s wildest dreams by selling off America over the last four decades, while ordinary Americans have stagnated or lost ground. Remember Jurgis Rudkus, the Lithuanian immigrant in the story “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair? His story could become the story of your grandchildren if the Tea Party and their wealthy backers get their way. The enormous disparity in wealth, and the transfer of our manufacturing base out of the country, with its subsequent loss of American jobs, should convince you that what I’m saying is not just the future: it is now.
We stand upon the threshold of a trap door. Once we go in and the door closes behind us, we won’t be able to come back. If you hold dear the way of life we have known, you must no longer support people who threaten to destroy it. Use your vote to oppose them.
I urge you and your family to consider deeply what I have said. I urge you to support Democrats in the polls on November 8, 2016.
And one more thing: remember that if you don’t vote, it’s the same as giving your vote to the Tea Party because they do vote.
n.b. Pass this on if you are willing. We need to act now to save our country.
Michael J. Welch, Ph.D.