Monday, May 9, 2011

American Politics and the Second Coming of the Tea Party Part 2 (b)

By Miriam B. Medina

(Continue from Part 2: (a)

Teddy Roosevelt was a very American major disruptive factor in the 1912 presidential election, 4 years after he declined to run for President for a 3rd term. He found the policies of his own party's President, William Howard Taft, to be far too conservative for his liking. After a rift at the Republican Convention, Teddy formed the Bull Moose Party and took enough Republican votes from Taft to allow Democratic nominee Woodrow Wilson to win the Presidency.

Little in the two political party system has changed in the past 100 years since the election of 1912, with the exception of an occasional Independent like Ross Perot who popped up in the 1980's, and 1990's to make some noise, until very recently. CNBC financial analyst Rick Santelli hit on a nerve on a broadcast after the financial crisis of 2008 erupted. Upset with more bailouts of people who bought houses they could not afford and people who financed those houses, Santelli said: "We're thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July! All you capitalists that want to show up at Lake Michigan I'm organizing a party!"

The Tea Party movement was born. Though Santelli is not affiliated with the Tea Party directly, he said some things that many Americans felt at the time. Many like Santelli were vocally tired of big government and special interest politicians taking tax money and throwing it at every problem in the hopes of fixing it. Santelli and the traders on the floor on that show expressed; that they were tired of a government that is self-perpetuating for government's sake instead of for its people's sake. The Founding Fathers were right, the danger of any political system, even a well-intentioned one, is that it will grow to a point where its only concern is maintaining political power at any cost.

The Obama Administration came in preaching change, and they are not the problem. Even if, they truly believed they could enforce change when they took office, the two-party systems don't allow it. Policy change would allow a shift in the balance of power. That hasn't occurred in this country since the Whigs threw a curve ball to the power grid of this country's political framework back in the 1840's. However, the fact is, change can be a good thing. The Founding Fathers demanded change. A new voice or view-point could help the country get a new perspective. It is obvious the Tea Party has managed to get a lot of people involved in politics who were never involved before. Besides even more people getting involved with different views and different voices would be better. That is what a democracy is about. Self governance that is equally participated in and therefore, equally represented.

The Tea Party has swelled in its ranks since members started forming protests a few weeks after the Santelli rant. Since then, the fledgling movement has grown rapidly in America, sponsoring hundreds of protests, boasting millions of members, and affecting the 2010 elections that swayed the balance of power once again from one party, the Democratic Party, to two parties. The Tea Party, however, is not yet an official, political party in America. The line between self governance and being ruled over is a fine line, that's what makes the project the Founding Fathers did with the Constitution so miraculous. However even they knew that it would require effort, perseverance, vigilance and participation to make a true Democratic Republic work.

As Benjamin Franklin famously said just after the Constitution was ratified, "Well, Doctor, what have we got? A republic or a monarchy? A republic, if you can keep it." With more participation from the American people and more effort from those being governed, America will stand as a republic for many years to come, but it's not politics or political parties that make America strong, it's the people who make up the nation, who believe in freedom and who fight for what is just. Sometimes it just takes a new voice to remind every one of that fact.

As for what Ben Franklin might think of the Republic today and whether or not all Americans should be aware and involved in the politics of the nation to maintain it, I think Ben might have said: "Let's have a cup of tea and talk about it. With some good open honest discussion, always there's a consensus to be found that can satisfy us all!" On the other hand, then, he always was penny wise and pound smartly!

I hope you will please consider all this and think on it.

To contact:

No comments: