Having A Tea Party

I despise the Tea Party movement.  I think it is negative, simplistic, and dangerous for our country.

But this is an all-purpose blog.  So I’ll pass along this information, and let my “06880” readers decide if they want to go:

Westport Tea is sponsoring a “Rally for America” today (11 a.m.-noon) in downtown Westport.

It’s billed as a “pre-election day gathering for all citizen-voters who believe in responsible government and true representation and accountability by those elected.  The rally will bring attention to the importance of voting by citizens concerned with restoring fiscal and political balance to the U.S. Congress and the CT General Assembly.”

The site of the rally is the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Memorial Bridge.  For nearly 50 years, Ruth Steinkraus Cohen was a tireless advocate for the United Nations, and a volunteer for world peace.

The Tea Party movement verges close to nativism.  The irony of rallying on a bridge named for a woman who believed in globalism is spectacular.

Is this a great country or what?

The Tea Party -- and all Westporters -- enjoy watching American flags fly on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Memorial Bridge. (Photo by Lynn U. Miller)

57 responses to “Having A Tea Party

  1. This is probably and old saying, but I heard it the other day and thought it was funny:

    (D) represents a barely passing grade.

    (R) represents the sound the pirates make before they take your money and throw you to the sharks.

  2. I’m running down there now to see just what sort of people this attracts. Amazing that this actually exists in Our Town (if it actually does). Will all of the Republican candidates for state offices be there to ingratiate themselves to the 25 or so Teabaggers who might actually vote?

    Were I a Republican I’d certainly want to know which of my candidates was asking these anti-Americans for their support so that I’d know not to vote for them.

  3. “The world needs all kinds of people”

    My favorite quote is from a Bangladesh Diplomat we hosted at a Thanksgiving dinner years ago thru the UN Hospitality Committee and Ruth Steinkraus Cohen. Not sure what Ruth would say about the vile activities of some of the Tea Party members.

  4. The Dude Abides

    I applaud their activism and right to be heard. I am waiting for some of them to burn their Medicare and Social Security cards. From Delaware to New York to Nevada, their candidates seem to be a joke.

    • Westporter since 1970

      Wait a minute! You didn’t mention. “I have received death threats due to my role at Exxon.” What’s the matter, Dude. Are you losing it?

  5. technically speaking, the ‘tea baggers’ positions are necessary to balance out the extremists on the other side of the L-R continuum. it you take a full view of the political landscape they are serving a purpose.

  6. It is not “Tea Baggers.” It is a Tea Party Movement. Its proponents seem to be a ploy of Corporate America. They are against higher taxes, universal health care and want to “take their country back.” To when? Segregation and 91% taxes for the rich?

  7. I went to the bridge after reading 06880 and struck up a conversation with a 75-year-old woman sporting a sign which read “Think About Your Grandkids.” When I asked her why she was worried about her grandkids, and what solutions she has to offer to the problems she fears, she spouted off at the top of her lungs about Marxists, and taxes, and social security, over and over. At one point, she grabbed my arm. When I asked her to please remove her death grip from my forearm, she continued on and actually swore at me. I then asked her why this tea party movement is so riddled with anger, and she repeated again about Marxists, taxes, social security, with no real solution offered at all. Honestly, I was heartened knowing that there was a two mile long line in Bridgeport waiting to listen to Jim Himes and President Obama, and a few angry tea baggers on the bridge really making no sense to me at all.

  8. I’m with the Abiding Dude on this one. Except I don’t applaud their activism.
    When women protested lack of equality, they burned bras. When young men protested unnecessary war, they burned their draft cards. Tea Baggers who protest government intrusion should burn their social security and Medicare cards. I’m waiting…where are the flames. Palin, Limbaugh, Beck. O’Reilly,
    O’Donnell. Are these the crazies that want to rewrite the constitution amd transform our still great country into a one-class (rich), middle-aged, straight white man’s world??

  9. I couldn’t agree with you more. I actually asked the woman on the bridge if she would burn her social security and Medicare cards. She said that she would gladly because they are worthless anyway…”the governmental systems don’t work.” When I asked her about universal healthcare and helping the poor, she said that she was “sick of supporting people who don’t work.” It’s a scary notion if people think that all lower income folks don’t work. Some of those lower income folks are in my family, and they work harder than most… two and three jobs, just to make ends meet.

    • Not all alike

      The problem, Sadie B., is that there is no way to separate the bums from the hard-working poor who can’t make ends meet, so people paint them with the same broad brush, based on their experience.

      It is the same as the poor who think that all the rich because successful by climbing up the backs of the poor, and that all of those on Wall Street are greedy.

  10. The Dude Abides

    The key word noted in this dialogue is “angry.” These folks will vote on Tuesday. For those of us who do not agree with any of their beliefs (or disbeliefs) must do so as well.

  11. Where any of the candidates at this gathering? If so, who?

  12. i don’t totally agree with the tea party posotion but discussion of the poor and having to work two or three jobs isn’t totally a problem the solution for which is to be found in government hand outs. our government should provide a safety net but the safety net has gotten too large and unfortunately the largesse seems to be a lot of ‘handouts’/less productive spending v. productive investment in people (read Giuliani: The Real and The Rational).

    and the talk about social security and medicare, the reality is that anyone schooled in this country or who had access to the NYTimes and is age of 40 or younger has known all along that Social Security and Medicare were operating on a deficit and not to count on it (those older should get it as expected those 40 and younger should tell their congress people to end it).

    My first introduction to this discussion was Easter in Florida and it was Rodney Dangerfield actually who stopped by to give me (My grandparents and he were close friends) an easter basket (he could be counted on for new pez dispensers which he animated to the hysterics of every adult and child in the house) and he stayed around for long breakfast talking with my grandparents about how thankful he was to have the money to support family members and friends who relying on social security weren’t able to make ends meet…that was back in the mid-1970’s!

  13. I think it’s rather funny that the Tea Party is named after an activity that little girls like to play. (A fun activity, nonetheless)

  14. It'sTheEconomyStupid

    I find it comical that you narrow-minded northeastern liberals think you know what is best for the rest of our country. Only 20% of this country identifies itself as liberal. One third of this country is either in the Tea Party or identifies with it. By the way, TEA stands for Taxed Enough Already. The Democratic leadership and the mainstream media have been trying to paint the movement as a fringe group. They will find out this Tuesday had badly they miscalculated.

    People are angry because our unemployment rate is near 10% with limited GDP growth. This administration does not understand how the economy works. Democrats have never understood business risk. A high tax climate is never good for an economy. For an example of how this works, just look at our 50 states. Why is the Texas economy booming while California businesses are fleeing the state? Taxes. If you want to kick start an economy in your state, you offer tax incentives to attract businesses. It is, after all, these businesses that create jobs. The current administration is overtly anti-business. Obama has done nothing but vilify a plethora of industries – insurance, banking, auto, etc. He has created vast uncertainty which is never good for job creation.

    Now on to Social Security and Medicare… I do not believe the Tea Party wants to eliminate these programs but they do want to modify them. There are many ways to do this. For Social Security, we could extend the retirement age, privatize, or even restructure who receives it in the first place. This program was set up during the Depression when the life expectancy of the average American was 65. It is now over 80. Something has to be done to modify it because we cannot afford the current system. There are fewer workers supporting each recipient today versus 1935 when the program was established. In 1935, 16 workers supported 1 recipient. Now it is less than 3 workers. This program is badly broken and needs to be addressed. Look at what Europe is doing to see what our future looks like. Just last week France passed legislation to extend the retirement age by two years. It is not enough but it is a start.

    Medicare is another issue entirely. Both SS and Medicare combine to represent 40% of the Federal budget. If there is going to be any savings at the Federal level, you have to look at restructuring both programs. The amount of fraud that exists in Medicare is staggering. I believe the only way to manage this program more effectively is to decentralize down to the state level where it could be more cost effectively administered.

    I don’t think many people on this blog will agree with my point of view but I am not some “crazy” fringe element of society. I am your neighbor. And it may shock you how many of your neighbors share my view. This may shock you too: I am pro-choice, pro gay marriage, and Jewish. But I am a proud Tea Party member. I am also a large charitable donor to mostly causes that benefit African-Americans and the poor throughout the world. Higher taxes is just the government collecting my hard earned money and distributing it how they see fit. That irks me. I like to determine where my charitable giving goes.

  15. i still don’t know enough about the tea party to become a member but i think i’m more aligned with ‘it’s the economy stupid’s positions on the issues than not.

  16. While I am not a formal tea party member, I agree with many of their tenets. This country was founded on the basis of personal responsibility – an ethic which has been forgotten by many folks, especially those on the liberal left. People appreciate what they work for – what they earn by dint of work and ingenuity. Entitlements which become handouts infantalize some recipients and make selfish brats of others. And entitlements intrenched become ways to garner votes, politicians buying votes with OUR money!
    The Federal government was formed to do that which cannot be done by smaller entities- defense the main thing. Our Federal government has become a massive wight on the backs of the middle class collecting their money and doling it out in its own highly inefficient and bloated way.

  17. The Dude Abides

    We seem to be able to well afford two wars that cost over 3 trillion dollars but when it comes to social programs here, we balk. We can run into Haiti with 100 million dollars and ten thousand troops following an earthquake but 97,000 are homeless in Los Angeles every night and we do little. I believe in government. I believe that they keep Corporate America and the military somewhat at bay. But things are dysfunctional now. I think public paid elections are the only answer and perhaps President Carter is right when he says that the GOP should take over the House to make them responsble for something besides the word “NO.” But my vote on Tuesday will be for the Democratic Party. The Tea Party has certainly offered no options here or on a national level.

  18. Mary,

    I agree with you. Personal responsibility seems to have gone by the wayside. Many people in our society are up to their necks in debt – want something – just swipe that card! People don’t care to wait until they can afford things and living beyond one’s means is catastrophic when a job is lost. There are many people in this country who took the time to get educated, got good jobs, paid their bills, educated their children and who are now, required to “help” all the others who couldn’t be bothered to do any of that. They instead rely on the government entitlements and handouts which all of us get to pay for. People who have “made it” are being penalized for doing what they are supposed to be doing in this land of opportunity. Of course, there are others who say that the rich should be picking up the tab – because they can afford it – but are they forgetting about all the charities that the “rich” give money to? What would happen to those? Much of society benefits from those charities. I expect that if all this government spending continues – the rich will not be so generous. People are tired of being taxed for all the government projects – just to see the waste of those dollars. Government is too big, moves too slowly and is inefficient – except for the IRS. Now they seem to have the collection of money down to a science!

  19. Medicare has a 8% administrative overhead compared with 19% of private, for profit health insurance companies. When Medicare fraud was at its greatest in Florida, two investigators were assigned to the state. Have you ever thought that our deplorable education system may have something to do with the issues of personal responsbility that you allude?

  20. Chris Rock made a great analogy to those who resent those less fortunate: If you are riding in first class on an airplane and someone sneaks up from coach and sits down next to you.
    Do you (a) rat out the passenger to the flight attendant or (b) sit back and enjoy the person’s same enjoyment of your luxury ???????????????????????

  21. Mr. Jensen,

    The education system might have something to do with it – but think it’s more of an ethical matter. It would never occur to me to steal something from another person or rob a bank or a myriad of other illegal things. But there are people who think that it’s just fine to work the system – as long as they’re not caught. Our recent college graduate commented to me the other day that his best friend from his early school days here in Westport was living in the lap of luxury in a fancy condo in New York that his parents had paid for. And he felt sorry for him – because he would never know the feeling of having paid for it himself with his own hard work. A sense of accomplishment denied. People who are given things all the time don’t appreciate what they are given and so the circle continues. Why bother working so hard when someone, somewhere, will provide for them.

    And yes, I loved the Chris Rock analogy – but flying these days is little more than a ride. There’s no luxury in the skies anymore! My parents remember when people used to “dress up” to fly!

  22. don’t get me wrong, i do believe in a ‘safety net’ for members of society that meet $- difficulties I just think that this current administration’s ambitions are not going to reduce the numbers of people who are forced to rely on it. the goal shouldn’t be to create a larger safety net but to reduce the #’s relying on it.

    however, i also read too much/hear too much about people making way more than they need and not reinvesting enough of that surplus $ back into the economy…that is what i think is the current overwhelming philosophy of upper-strata of middle class in USA; the lower middle and middle need every dollar they make, the upper class pumps $ back into their businesses hoping to grow the business further, & the upper middle keeps every dollar to themselves. are they/upper middle really going to privately without government requirement/taxation reinvest a reasonable portion of that surplus back into the country…doubtful.

  23. The Dude Abides

    S.O. Nice to hear from you. You make valid points on the changes our generation has endured. Perhaps, the essence of the Tea Party is the anger at these changes. Some want to blame the government. Some want to blame the newer generation who seems to take everything for granted. Some want to blame the schools. Others the parents. I don’t have the answers. As I sat in “parking lot” traffic the other day returning to the Raleigh airport, I realized that all across the nation, people were also sitting in their cars being bored, inefficient and useless. And now, after 40 years of building roads, we have figured we will never build enough for the number of cars. So we go to rail. Something is drastically wrong here in America. We lack leadership and vision. As to culturiological changes you mention, I do believe they are a symptom of our dysfunction. The values, mores and habits of our culture have been so bombarded by Corporate America as to give us no identity including wearing pajamas on airline flights.

    • Westporter since 1970

      What is truly boring is your boring case: “I have received death threats due to my role at Exxon.” And these alleged death threats are the biggest thing in your inconsequential, day-trader life as it now enters its downward cycle of alcohol abuse and immanent Alzheimer’s?

      What happened to your diatribe that Texas schools are the best?

      What is drastically wrong in America is day-trader frauds like you.

  24. The Dude Abides

    Westporter Since 1970: I am sorry you feel that way. You seem to want to attack persons rather their beliefs. You did that with Jeffxs and now me. There was no “Exxon prosecution” but instead my former wife was a Enron prosecutor. Our daughter currently has a bodyguard at law school due to a recent threat. I am sorry you find that boring but it is very much part of my daily life. I am not a day trader. I am a hack novelist after practicing corporate law for 30 years. I do not drink and am currently training for my 16th marathon in the New York City Marathon. I have certainly never applauded the schools in Texas, the originator of the “teach to the test,” but am sketpical on the overall education of this country after actually teaching myself for two years. I also served 6 years in the military, including a tour of Vietnam, and figure I deserve the right to speak my mind without restraint.
    Please get your facts right before you attack someone. Your assumptions are ignorant and you bring nothing to any dialogue but hate.

  25. Westporter since 1970

    Oh, poor you. Hated and misunderstood. Good luck with the novel. Two years of teaching was enough, I bet. You probably couldn’t keep a student’s attention more than five minutes. And–wow–running in a marathon! So impressive. Want a medal? Stop the endless stream of self-serving boredom, please!

  26. The Dude Abides

    Ten novels. Two years was plenty. Have you tried it? I have plenty of medals. It would seem that you are the boring one, full of hatred and
    venom. I don’t recall any intelligent contribution you have made in the 8 months that I have been active on this blog. I share my experiences to promulgate exchange of views. You call it self-serving. I call it being open and honest. I think you need to get laid.

  27. Westporter since 1970

    OMG! 10 Novels! And all published? Or are they “self-published?” Sort of vanity press thingies? Or maybe still in the thought-process stage? As S.J. Perelman observed… under every apron a novel hides. Medals, too! And two years of teaching!? Again, good luck, Dude. I guess “good luck” is as close as I get to pure unadulterated hatred. I request that you spare the promulgation until you actually have something worthwhile to promulgate.

  28. The Dude Abides

    Sorry you feel that way. But you never answered Jeffxs and
    you haven’t me: what exactly do you bring to the table but a junior highish condemnation of every one but the hidden you??? How can you hate someone you have never met??? or know??? I would say the Tea Party is a very good subject matter arena for your inner hatred to emerge.

  29. Dan, You despise the Tea Party? Dangerous to the country? Come on! I thought liberals were supposed to be big on tolerance. Reading through the comments here one sees how insulated and out of touch many in Westport have become. This is what happens when one gets their information and opinions about the Tea Party from the New York Times and MSNBC. Then factor in that most of your friends and neighbors sip the same kool-aid and what do you get? Delusions of enlightment.

    • Sorry — I just can’t tolerate Christine O’Connell, Sharron Angle and Rand Paul. I’m not drinking Kool-Aid — I don’t want the country to drink arsenic.

  30. Perfect!!

  31. It'sTheEconomyStupid

    Dan, I wish you were not so intolerant. It’s unbecoming.

    For more evidence of what is wrong with the country, you will not believe this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBzjLnO-e30. You may have to paste it into a browser. There are 3,000,000 people each year who play by the rules and legally become naturalized U.S. citizens. These other societal parasites need to be addressed.

  32. Xenophobic!!

  33. There is no more intolerant group in America than Liberals. Just ask Juan Williams.

  34. It'sTheEconomyStupid

    Ric, I am hardly xenophobic. Re-read my post. I whole heartily welcome the 3 million new Americans that are naturalized each year. They have gone through the proper channels and are true Americans. What we cannot have are people like Obama’s aunt that flaunt their abuse of our generous system. If you want to encourage the abuse of our system then you pay for it. Give all your money to some cause that supports illegals in this country but leave the rest of us out of it.

  35. Quinones.

  36. The Dude Abides

    Hmmm: Please Google “liberal” and tell me what the term means???
    Williams was warned many times about appearing on Fox and the crack on the Muslim wear was the final straw. Now the CEO of NPR is getting death threats from those apparently who are not “tolerant” of public radio remaining non-partisan. Do you really think those who oppose a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage, the abolition of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” health reform for children and repudiation of tax cuts for the rich are TOLERANT?????

  37. More important is the meaning of the word tolerance. The Liberal Left tolerates those who agree with them, and seeks to silence those who do not. Our gracious host Dan Woog unfortunately falls into this basket as indicated by his comments above. If Liberals were willing to recognize and respect the beliefs of others then they would truly be liberal (small l). And Juan Williams would still have his old job.

    • The Dude Abides

      Juan Williams was in breach of contract by appearing on Fox. He had been warned many times. While I respect his free speech, Mr. Williams wanted to leave NPR and get a more lucrative job at Fox. He did so. So please stop painting him as a Saint.

      • I never painted him as a Saint. I used him as an example of how the Liberal Left cannot tolerate those who do not share their opinions. He was fired, he didn’t quit. It would have been much more liberal (and entertaining) to keep him on NPR and have him get his ass kicked on a daily basis by the NPR faithful.

  38. Hmmm… Dan didn’t “seek to silence” anyone, he actually encouraged a discussion, of both sides. He is entitled to share his opinions, is he not?

    • Dan said he “can’t tolerate Christine O’Connell (sic), Sharron Angle and Rand Paul.” You mind telling me the difference between “can’t tolerate” and “intolerance?” Intolerance is not a passive activity.

  39. The Dude Abides

    Tolerance of ideals and those who promulgate them is an entirely different mindset. I am not going to defend Professor Woog’s statement because I don’t believe he is intolerant of any human being and he is much smarter than me in explaining it. But we don’t have the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Medicare, Social Security, Roe v. Wade because of a strong “conservative” base and I believe that base is holding us back from achieving some form of compassion and equality in this country which is long overdue. Just for kicks, check out the definition of either conservative or liberal in the Wikipedia online. You will never use those terms again because they are meaningless with hundreds of different definitions. Don’t forget to vote, Hmmm.

  40. Tolerance is fraught with paradox; i.e., the tolerant individual is by definition intolerant of intolerance, and thus is intolerant of himself. Karl Popper tried to address the Paradox of Tolerance by simply carving out the intolerant from the doctrine of unlimited tolerance, which I think is weak. He did state, however, that “In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise”. My concern is with those who would, in fact, seek to suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies. It is a slippery slope to the wrong side of the tolerance/intolerance paradox.

  41. The Dude Abides

    Sorry, Hmmm. Despite 25 years of formal education, I have no idea what you are saying. There is no question we need a higher tolerance level in this country. I think the media has done a good job of polarizing us and we have taken it. But I don’t, on your original supposition, agree that such tolerance is coming from the conservative right in this country. You may be right that the left is not much better. I shall ponder such.

  42. I think there is actually a debate on issues within the Republican Party whereas the Dems, for better or worse, have closed ranks. I have as little use for the far right as I do for the far left. I guess that makes me a RINO, and an endangered one at that. I will vote accordingly.

    • The Dude Abides

      I concur. I misjudged your original entry and thought you were a far right winger. Sorry. I do think it would be great timing for an attractive Republican candidate with some back bone to come forth. Romney is a flip flop artist. Brown is too new. Forget Sarah, she would have take a pay cut to be President. I used to like Newt but he has gone the Fox way. I just don’t see much leadership there and Democrats have never had a back bone even when they have done a decent job. My ballot today looked like a child scribbling with a Sharpie.

      • Petraeus. If he can get us out of Afghanistan in the next 18 months he will be coronated.

        • The Dude Abides

          Maybe, but he is a gladiator. He likes war. Ike was far more gentle. Colin was too gentle. I think the House will go GOP today and that may be a good thing. Carter seems to think so as well. “Make them responsbile,” he says. If the GOP would drop the social issues (abortion, gays, God, etc.) and stick to the financial matters (which they do well), this election will be historic. But remember what the ’94 Congress eventually did to Bubba. Spent all its time trying to impeach the sleash ball after a good start with “Contract With America.” We could have changed the face of education in this country during that period and instead, worried about humidors in the Oval office. Many predict they will go after the Obama in similar fashion. Not so good for a country that is divided as hell right now.