After reading a guest editorial that appeared in The Aggie last week entitled, “Tea Party movement cannot be ignored,” I felt compelled to write a response.
The article, which was written by the Stanford Daily Editorial Board, denounced the Tea Party movement. The writers characterized the Tea Partiers as ultra-conservative, militant, racist and filled with hate. They cautioned the readers against extremists, and the tone of the editorial seemed to suggest that the Tea Parties should be treated as illegitimate.
The accusations and recommendations made by the editors are baseless and demonstrate a deep lack of perspective. I can say this with some authority because I personally attended a Tea Party that took place in Sacramento. What I saw there was nothing like what they described.
I can see why the writers have such a low and resentful attitude toward the Tea Parties. It’s a movement that does not conform to their worldview and so it must be bad and dangerous.
They claim that scorn is justified because of the “…rancorous hatred that Tea Partiers have engaged in.” If members of the Stanford Daily Editorial Board had gone to a Tea Party they would have discovered that the demonstrators were angry with Republican and Democrat lawmakers. They were not burning the capitol building or attacking government officials, but booing those in government who they believe have failed them. I’m not sure why that makes Tea Partiers so hateful, unless of course singing “God Bless America” is your definition of hate-speech.
The authors of the editorial also made the claim that the Tea Partiers commonly used the “n-word” with no heed. Many of the protestors brought their families and children, so the use of any kind of profanity was quite rare. Their belief that the Tea Partiers are racist and intolerant is ridiculous. One key speaker was a woman with a thick French accent and another was a black man. Both were greeted with thunderous applause.
Like many other large scale protests there were some offensive signs, but they were really a small minority. I can’t confirm that this was the case at every protest, but I can see how one unhinged protestor might be portrayed as a representative of the whole.
The Stanford Daily Editorial Board is distressed that Tea Partiers are currently more popular than the Republican and Democrat parties. They attributed this to simple ignorance on the part of the general population that can be corrected by knowing the “truth” behind the movement. The truth, of course, can only be provided by the enlightened members of their university.
The Stanford Daily editorial capped off its long list of attacks by claiming that the only foundation of the movement was its anger at-them! They said, “We, the Stanford population, are the highly educated, largely liberal elite that these people love so much to revile. By scoffing at the Tea Party or disparaging its members, we play into the caricature they have created for us and fuel their fire of anger – which, at the moment, represents their only real foundation.” I wonder if all Stanford students would like to be seen as elitist, snobbish, and conceited as the members of the editorial board.
What baffles me is how the Stanford Daily Editorial Board members, with their world-class private school education, can be so arrogant and completely divorced from reality.
My observation of the Tea Party movement is that their foundation is the belief in limited government, protection of individual rights and freedom from overburdening taxation. Tea Partiers opposed the bank bailouts and the stimulus package, which they see as wasteful use of taxpayer dollars that serve the interest of Big Government, Big Business and Big Unions.
Tea Party protestors are generally middle-class people who work hard, pay bills and pay taxes. There were people of every living generation there from toddlers to the elderly-unlike some protests that consist of regular “professional” picketers.
These were people who, regardless of their educational background and personal income, want to make a better life for themselves and future generations. They are concerned citizens who advocate for and try to raise awareness about issues that have a serious impact on their lives and the lives of future generations. This is what the American political system is all about.
JARRETT STEPMAN is proud of and grateful for his world-class public school education at UC Davis, which has been graciously provided by California taxpayers. He can be reached at email@example.com.