For some time now, I’ve opined the Tea Party would eventually go away. Oh, its whining, and that of others equally pissed but unaffiliated, helped make a bigger mess of Congress and have gotten a lot of excessive media attention. But as a force – as a movement – as a meaningful voice for constructive change – it wasn’t – it isn’t – it won’t be. Seems to me it’s very near the grave.
Our little neighborhood group already has one foot there. They had a well-publicized gathering in front of our courthouse the other day. About 300 showed up. And one well-mannered voice of opposition. Horrors!!!
A little perspective here. Our corner of beautiful Oregon is heavily populated by folks calling themselves “conservative” or “ultra conservative” – as others see them “flat earthers.” Seceding from Oregon and starting the State of Jefferson is one of their favorite subjects. Got the picture? Within 40 miles of the courthouse live some 40,000 people. Many easily fit into the description above. A lot of the “media” around here give them too much attention because – well – what the Hell else is there?
So, after many media announcements of the planned gathering – and the 4×8 plywood signs at many intersections – 300 show up. Amounts to far less than one-percent of the available attendance pool. Still, the almost-daily local shopper – masquerading as a newspaper – gave them a picture and full border-to-border coverage above the fold on the front page. Two days later.
The lone voice of opposition was a guy from the Occupy Roseburg movement which – at the moment – amounts to little more than him. Without threats or foul language, he challenged speakers about issues. Made some so mad they called the cops who rushed right over. Now, hold that picture. 300 to one.
Some months ago, a dozen local Democrats had a small, private discussion meeting at a couple of tables in a public park way out in the county. Most attendees over the age of 60. A dozen or so “flat earthers” showed up to picket, shout obscenities, call some of those seated “communists-socialists-etc.” – and proudly videotaped their intrusion on other folk’s liberty for their right-wing web site. When the seniors got in their cars and left, the F-E’ers followed to their new location across town and tried to get on someone’s private property. Hold that picture.
Where these two pictures come together is that many of the foul-mouthed bullies who crashed the earlier senior gathering were attendees and/or sponsors of the courthouse gathering last week. Right there in the crowd. So threatened, it seems, by the lone voice challenging their stand on several “issues” they had to call law enforcement.
This microcosm of lunatic sterility – in a geographic area where their supposed “message” would fall on fertile ears – indicates to me, at least, that whatever glory days the T-P may have had are behind it.
Some special elections across the country in the last year or so seem to carry the same thought. Most T-P-backed candidates have not done well since 2010. Polls indicate a lot of ‘em elected to congress last time are in trouble this time. Partly because they haven’t changed anything in Washington; partly because a lot of the rest of us are sick of ‘em for their unreasoned – and often ignorant – antics there.
Then there are those statehouses where some of their ilk took office in governorships and legislatures. Wisconsin, Michigan, Virginia, Ohio, North Carolina, Maine, Florida and some others. Funded by billionaire ideologues and furnished with duplicate handouts containing societal changes demanded by those billionaires, the dash to the right in the desire to create more invasive government while gutting its regulatory powers, raised Hell across the country. So much Hell, in fact, that slowly but surely a lot of people – especially women – began to realize what had been turned loose at the last elections. Even started some recall elections.
Predicting the political future is something reasoned people won’t do. So saying, my guess is, while vengeance may be the province of The Lord, something close to it will happen in a lot of states in November. (Dis)organized into many small groups, the T-P’ers don’t have the “fire in the belly” they did 24 months back. And a lot of other folk, who either shared some of their anger or weren’t paying much attention, are taking more notice of what’s been happening. Or, as in the case of congress, what’s not been happening. And why. And who. Or whom.
If the national media – and its local offspring – would give the GOP-TP extreme minority the same nearly nonexistent coverage it does to other small fringe groups, we wouldn’t be hearing much about it. If it got the media attention it really deserves, members would have to buy advertising to be heard. Not a bad idea, that.
“We, the People” have been poorly served by this phony “grassroots” movement. Its membership has waned. Hangers-on are splitting into new groups just as the right wing has done historically for centuries because of the same distrust and fear that brought them together in the first place. The air has gone out of their balloon.
Well, it wasn’t really their air to begin with. Eh, Brothers Koch?