Thursday, April 15, 2010

let me have coffee please

Sometimes you just have to rant. I admit the TeaPartiers get me riled up. I was a history and political science major, so I think I am more versed on those subjects than the average jane and joe, but it still amazes me when I hear the stuff people say in these gatherings. But I know that throughout our history we have had much like this. Most people do not think past what they read in their (flawed) textbooks in school and don't remember much of that. They are seriously incurious and utterly unmotivated to investigate beyond the bare facts, even of our valued American heritage. And they tend to just echo the loudest voice that seems to mirror their politics.

We tend to resort to demagoguery, sloganeering, sound-bite patriotism, and platitudes. In the past it has gotten us into plenty of trouble - witness the "yellow journalism" of the Spanish- American War. While we may think that today's acrimony is some radical change from the peaceful past , I beg to differ. During the run-up to the Civil War we had one Senator beating another one senseless on the Senate floor in a debate over slavery. Today we have the Virginia governor issuing a Confederate Month celebration without even mentioning the "S" word. How forgetful are we?

I wouldn't be safe in Texas ("Remember the Alamo"? really?) and though I would like to tweak a few Tea Partiers they are too disturbing. I mean, has anyone asked them why they use a historical event that conflicts with their purported values to spark their movement? What do I mean? Well, ladies and gentlemen, the Boston Tea Party was nothing more or less than an act of political vandalism.

Destroying someone else's property (remember this was British,not colonial tea) to make a political point Kinda like the anarchists breaking store windows in Seattle during the WTO riots. Something that would seem an obvious violation of those pesky Ten Commandments that these Tea Partiers would love to see displayed everywhere. But yet we in America have through the years celebrated the event as a highlight of proud American history

I know, that will get me marked as a heretic in many circles - and that's not the end of things I could say about our skewed view of history. Let me be clear, I love my country and this is my home. I love the freedoms that we have and there is no where else like here. I am very grateful to God for allowing me to be born here. But love doesn't have to have blinders. If you love something or someone you want to make it or them better. Hiding from flaws is not love ,it is myopic (nearsightedness , for those of you without glasses :)

So my assignment to you is this. The next time you hear or read a platitude or slogan or appeal to "patriotism" don't just swallow it whole without analyzing it , to see if it makes sense. I know we are all busy, not in school anymore, and it is easy to just absorb the news. But if we are to avoid being led around like sheep by the latest loud voice we have to develop better brains and use ours heads to actually think, not just store trivia.

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