Recently I’ve been reading a lot of opinion pieces and other articles that discuss the current political climate. I suppose that’s to be expected because the mid-term elections are looming large on the horizon and let’s face it, the last couple of years have been tough for most of us.
A large majority of us voted for hope and change because we didn’t like what we were seeing. We thought an ‘outsider’ could perhaps change things and right the direction of the country. Two years in, it seems that many hopes have not been realized and in fact, intense debate rages on both sides of the political spectrum.
Take for instance the eruption of what is loosely called the tea party. The thing about the tea party is that it is not an organized group with a centralized leader. It is essentially a spontaneous movement that has grown as people have become more aware of how bad things are or are becoming or have been for some time but they didn’t realize it (depends on what view you take I guess). But for whatever reason, a spark was ignited and many individuals came together for a common purpose. In essence to change the way things are.
Now a lot of mean stuff has been said of this ‘group’ although it’s hard to call it a group because really it’s a bunch of small groups that have a similar view. But for the sake of argument let’s call it a group. Anyway, so it’s been said that those involved are racist, haters, phonies, Republican shills, bigots, idiots, trailer trash, rich white people, astro-turfers, even the term terrorist has been bandied about. (Excuse me, ever heard of peaceful assembly?) But it seems that whatever names it or they are called it’s about anger, rage, hatred.
Personally, I don’t see it that way. I don’t see it about anger at all. Admittedly I am conservative and so see a lot in the Tea Party view that I can agree with but it’s not about anger or rage. I think it’s more about fear. It’s more about being scared. Of what you might ask. Well, a lot of things. Aside from the obvious problems of mortgage problems and difficulty in finding work, which tends to upset and affect everyone I think about losing what Americans by and large have always enjoyed. The protections of our form of government. The Constitution was written quite carefully amid much debate and deliberation and written in such a way that it (the government) could not easily ignore the will of the governed.
However, in the last two years we have seen that being circumvented. For example, regardless of whether you are for or against nationalized health care, the majority of Americans did not want it. At least not under the 3,000 page plan that was passed. Every poll showed that Americans were not in agreement with their representatives passing it. Thousands of people descended on Washington D.C. to make sure that message was heard, although after the letters, phone calls, polls and faxes I’m not sure how the politicos couldn’t have gotten that message. Clearly, since it was forced through by all manner of trickery and wheelings and dealings, it was a known fact that the public did not want it. Yet we got it. Prior to that and ironically after having campaigned against big government spending, our new president pushed through more bailouts. This was something the liberals went absolutely ape-shit against when Bush approved the first bailouts. Yet once in office, it was something that apparently not only made sense but needed to be done in spades. The second wave of bailouts positively dwarfed anything Bush had done. All in the name of spurring the economy. Which it didn’t. And again people were vocal, the public did not want it. But did anyone listen? It would seem that no they didn’t.
And the list goes on.
So back to the fear. Americans have always believed that they have a voice in what happens in our country and with our laws. What issues shall and shall not be addressed and/or handled by government. What are federal issues and what are state issues. But again, more than anything the voice. Each American is supposed to have a voice in what happens in our country, without fear of reprisal, consequences or ruination. At least that’s how it’s always been.
Now, not so much. Now it seems like no matter what we say, how many letters we write, faxes we send, events we hold, etc. our voice is being ignored. That the politicos feel so empowered that they can ignore us – that we are not the public allowing ourselves to be governed but rather the unwashed masses, the little people, the subjects of the new kingdom, once known as America.
And yep, people are scared. They are scared to death. And frankly I don’t blame them not one bit. Because it’s not just about whatever laws are being passed but the attitude of our ‘leaders’ that we don’t need to be listened to. That our voices are not valued nor important – and frankly we just aren’t smart enough to know what is good for us – so it is their job to decide that for us.
That is a scary prospect. Americans don’t want to become subjects. They don’t want to become serfs or servants – they want to be what they have always been – Americans. A unique concept and one perhaps that most of the world doesn’t understand and may resent. But America is like no other country in the world and from the beginning it was never intended to be – it was meant to be unique, original and different. It was intended to be a place where men and women could be free and pursue their lives in peaceful co-existence. And too many of us see that slipping away – recently at an alarming rate. So yeah, we’re scared. At least most everyone I know is scared – including me.
What about you, are you scared or angry? Or something else?