In 1854, British poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote his classic poem, “The Charge of The Light Brigade,” which was based on actual events that occurred during the Crimean War (1854-1856.) The war united Britain, France and Turkey in a very bloody confrontation with Russian expansionist goals in Europe. As you may well know, the history of Europe is replete with centuries of constant warfare. There were often shifting alliances among countries fighting each other. For example, Britain and France engaged in numerous bloody wars over many centuries. But in the Crimean War, Britain and France were united, along with Turkey, in battling Russia. Lord Tennyson’s poem covers a specific event that resulted from a General’s incredibly incompetent and blundering orders to have a British light brigade (which was comprised of about 600 calvary men) charge Russian fortifications over an unprotected, flat terrain.
There was no way this mission could have succeeded and every one of the 637 in the light brigade knew they were being sent on a suicide mission. Yet they were bound by their honor to obey orders. As Tennyson wrote: “Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death, Rode the six hundred.” Other famous lines from the poem are: “Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die.” Needless to say, the men in the light brigade were slaughtered like cattle, an obvious outcome from the beginning. But representative of a diehard mentality that will bear any price, no matter how hopeless the outcome, in order to achieve its goals. Which brings us to the Government shutdown we all just endured for a couple of weeks. It was the same diehard tea party mentality, that the only way they would allow the Government to stay open and function, was to defund Obamacare. A political suicide mission that failed to accomplish its goal and whose only achievement was giving about 800 thousand federal employees a free, two-week paid vacation. And since the Government was only allowed to re-open on a temporary basis, we get to experience this all over again in January.
So I began wondering who exactly are these tea-party diehards and extremists, that now seem to control most of the Republican Party, especially in the House of Representatives. From what I’ve gleaned, the common thread that runs through tea-party mentality is a virulent hatred of Government. Nothing delights them more than actually seeing the Government being closed for business. So I’ve put together a list of common denominators that one is likely to possess to be in the tea-party movement. Sort like that comedy routine some years back about being a redneck. For example, you know you’re a redneck if you pee against the same tree trunk that your dog does, when out for a walk. So here goes in identification of who is in the tea-party.
You’re likely to be a tea-partier if you’re a fundamentalist, evangelical Christian. Although the New Testament focuses heavily on helping the poor and the sick, evangelicals go bonkers at thought of the Federal Government providing such assistance. I believe this goes back to when the Government sanctioned stuff like legalized abortion, widespread availability of birth-control, gay rights and marriage, removal of religion from public schools, availability of pornography, etc. Nothing good could ever come from any Government that allows such satanic occurrences. So in the evangelical mindset, the Government is the devil’s playground, bent on destroying organized religion. The Government is to be fought tooth and nail in order to preserve their religious freedoms and beliefs.
You’re likely to be a tea-partier if you believe that the poor, the sick and the elderly that receive Government assistance are nothing but slackers. They’re either lazy, indolent, dumb, or inept, or a combination of all of these. They’re the 47% that receive Government handouts, that Mitt Romney talked about when he thought all the cameras had been shut off. I wonder if he still ascribes his election loss to those “on the dole” as they used to say. In these tea-party minds, the income taxes they pay are all going into the pockets of those too lazy to work. Their taxes are never spent on the military or counter-intelligence efforts, but go strictly to those with their hands out. Therefore, the tea-partier hates the Government in general and the IRS in particular, and bitterly resents forking over the tax money he’s forced to pay.
You’re likely a tea-partier if you’re paranoia has reached through the stratosphere, and you feel the Government is out to destroy your life or kill you altogether. Or perhaps throw you into one of those large concentration camps the Government is building somewhere in Indiana to house political dissidents. You know the Government is reading all your emails and tweets, so if you erred in emailing your recipe to Grandma for chicken-pot-pie your life is as good as over. And where does all this paranoia come from? Try listening to the Rush Limbaughs or Glen Becks of so-called “talk radio.” They claim to have millions of listeners all tuning in for their daily dose of paranoia or Barack Obama vitriol. The same is true if you watch Fox News on TV.
Your likely to be a tea-partier if believe that America should become a shrinking violet in foreign affairs instead of leader of the free world. Of course, in that regard, right-wing wackos have teamed up with left-wing looney-tuners to bring about this current state of affairs. It’s one of the reasons that the mid-east is crumbling into chaos before our very eyes. One of the reasons that a terrorist state like Iran is about to cross the finish line in building nuclear weaponry.
I could go on but I believe you get the picture. I haven’t even talked about Ted Cruz, the unofficial tea-party leader and crusader in Congress. Or his evangelical father who runs a fundamentalist church. But my endurance is waning, so I guess I’ll save all that for another posting. It’s that senior thing again.