I have no doubt in the sincerity of actual grassroots participants in the Tea Party movement, even if they’re being used as a convenient backdrop by the big money partisan Republican groups behind every nationally-visible “Tea Party” event. But just because they’re sincere doesn’t mean I admire them.
Some of the participants in the Tea Party movements are just, I believe, confused. Take Bill Packard, who writes of a Tea Party meeting in Union Maine (quoted from Herald Gazette newspaper 10/27, not available online):
The Tea Party, I think, is you and me. If you’re happy with all aspects of government, God bless you. If you have some concerns, or if you’re really fed up, this might be a group for you to investigate. At one point in the meeting, they affirmed that they would back candidates who supported the Constitution, believed in God and were honest. That was pretty much what I got out of it. I guess if you have an issue with any of these three items, you’re not a candidate they can support.
The Tea Party doesn’t limit its opposition to those who think government is perfect, who want to destroy the Constitution, who are atheists and avowed liars. But the Union Tea Party contradicts itself more than rhetorically. If it wants to back candidates who support the Constitution, then it will have to focus among other things on Article VI of the U.S. Constitution, which stipulates that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Imposing religious tests is a funny way for a group to go about supporting the Constitution.
Tea Party supporters like Bill Packard are people I can amicably if rather fundamentally disagree with. Then there are Tea Party participants like Lynne Stevens, who when she’s not spreading hoaxes “proving” that Barack Obama is really an Indonesian citizen named Barry Soetoro, suggests of illegal immigrants that we “throw in one grenade and kill ‘em all with one shot,” and suggests of her political opposition, “Obama left-wingers, too bad you can’t start shooting them.”
I may be upset with the inaction and wrong-direction action of the Democrats since 2008, but that doesn’t mean that the Tea Party is my home.