Logic, I realize, is not useful in understanding tomorrow’s tea party. I suppose we should all take the day off, stop at Walmart for supplies, and invent another holiday where we dress up, consume too much, make a lot of noise, and go home feeling like the day was worth having. After all, we are exercising our right as Americans to tell those bums in Washington that we are not happy about them spending our money. Just like the early days before our country was established we will demonstrate our displeasure with a national day of acting tea-d off.
Yet the Boston Tea Party was about protesting the lack of representation. The tea partiers will not be protesting the lack of representation, but that they no longer want representation!
I have heard many of them suggest that having a federal government is a bad thing. “Get rid of government and taxes,” they say.
Let’s think about that in the context of the last several years. Suppose tomorrow we got rid of the federal government. How soon before the largest corporations would figure a way to fill the power gap? How close do you think weapons manufacturers would make a bid to manage the military? How long before would Haliburton or Blackwater offer to take over for the FBI and NSA? A few deals between a company like AT&T and Walmart and everything would be taken care of by the free market. Right?
In a libertarian utopia gone wild the biggest corporation will ultimately own everything just like the monarchs of old. Walmart will be the new King. They will provide all the healthcare, all the education, all the work, and all the land. And the tea people thought socialism was bad?
Life was simple in the days of kings. And, sure, simple times have sort of a sweet quality. But to keep it all orderly people had to remember their place or get imprisoned or killed.
I realize it takes work to become involved in one’s government. Wouldn’t it be grand if we could pay someone to act entirely on our behalf without so much as us having to express to our representatives a thought or word of communication? Yes?
But that would be preschool, not a democracy.
We all know that to keep a democracy in the hands of the people requires hard work. Sometimes it is very frustrating and slow work. But, overall, when we commit to preserving the union, to protect the fundamental rights of the least of us as well as the most powerful, we all benefit.
My frustrated, hard working, busy, independent-minded well-meaning friends believe in an unregulated free-market. They may not admit to it, but ask the ones owning businesses how they like government regulations in their business? Most will complain that it impairs their ability to make products. Many will mutter that the government is the problem. Ask them how much time they spend telling their experiences to their elected representatives? Many do not even vote, much less get to know who represents them in governement.
Without regulation to watch out for the weak, the young, the impaired, the trusting, survival of the fittest becomes law. The weak grow weaker and the strong grow stronger until the weak and strong manage to kill each other in a complex quest for dignity.
Most voting Americans realize civilized government is in the best interest for each of us. Most of the tea people will admit a need for the military and the police and the roads and the prisons – the every growing, and expanding, and costly prisons. But they insist they do not need to pay for poor people, or sick people, or to educate people. They will deny lack of compassion. So why would we not want to ensure fairness, keep working conditions for people safe, keep products safe, and keep our environment and neighborhoods safe? Why would we not want everybody to be strong, healthy, and pursuing happiness?
Is it fear of competition, I wonder?
But, I thought competition in a free market was a good thing. I wonder what a United Stores of Walmart would say to that? Let them have tea?