Since we’re in the political season and since America has just gotten seriously nutty with the upcoming election, I figured I’d catch up on some political video editiorials (documentaries). The Billionaires’ Tea Party is from 2010, but is definitely still relevant since Mitt Romney has been catering to this bunch (in particular the racist birthers). While I do realize that in every movement the absolute fringe is what’s caught on camera, director Taki Oldham is from outside the USA (he didn’t specify in the beginning but I assume it’s an Australian accent–I could be wrong though) and went in undercover to the Tea Party rallies and lectures…so what you see is what you get. Some Tea Partiers are calm, down to earth and frankly irrational and then some are completely insane like the woman who thinks Obama is out to get all nonblack people or another rallier who equated Obama with Hitler.
Whenever someone throws out the Hitler word, left or right, I stop taking them seriously. In addition, the archaic references to communist Russia in association with Obama’s agenda are really the equivalent of the red fear in the fifties with Joe McCarthy (a position fulfilled now by Glenn Beck, thankfully he’s not a senator). The eerie part about what is captured in The Billionaires’ Tea Party is a religious zeal. This is a cult.
This is not to say the concerns of Tea Partiers are invalid. We all care about government waste, impositions on freedom and most importantly jobs. The problem is that the Tea Partiers are not being pragmatic. They are sticking to an ideology whether it works in every situation or not. I had to come to a moderate pragmatist position a couple years back after being Left then Libertarian then undecided. My conclusion is that it’s impossible for any political ideology to be completely correct.
For instance, the idea that all government is bad. No, it isn’t. The far left might vilify corporations in the same manner, but all corporations are not bad either. Some of what government does works and some of what government does fails. The same is true of big business. Government can also be a big bully, but the same is true of big business. The point is not to tear down government or big business, the point is to keep maintaining the checks and balances because power corrupts. We also need to consider if there are some things that government, subject to the will of the people, needs to provide including defense, infrastructure, environmental regulations and healthcare.
In the documentary, healthcare or “Obamacare” as it is derisively referred to, is the hottest button to push on a TP’s chest. And yet, for-profit healthcare should be questioned. Do we think bottom-line business structures are what’s best for sick people? I don’t know all the answers on this, but I do know there has to be some compromise. It’s interesting that even the Republicans make sure senior citizens know they won’t dismantle Medicare. Per Wiki, “Medicare is a national social insurance program, administered by the U.S. federal government since 1965, that guarantees access to health insurance for Americans ages 65 and older and younger people with disabilities…” Hmm, kind of sounds like government run healthcare to me?
The other hot button is climate change and the consensus seems to be among all Tea Partiers that it is impossible for mankind to affect mother nature–which is the stupidest position ever. Even if climate change wasn’t agreed upon by mainstream science, of course there’s the potential for mankind to screw with mother nature. We’re the most powerful species on earth! The reason why most Tea Partiers deny climate change is honestly faith. They believe God made it so the earth could withstand humans. …However, God’s going to destroy this earth in the apocalypse because humans are damned sinners? Couldn’t part of that sin BE destroying nature?
The same people who deny climate change or dare I say “global warming” are the same people who deny evolution. It’s not that we know everything about climate change yet and certainly there are alarmists who go too far, but let’s recognize that humans leave a footprint. It’s also not a communist plot to suggest we look for green alternatives to oil. That’s called progress–it’s called being smart.
The one thing about this film that absolutely appalled me was the Tea Party guerilla warfare tactics lecture. An ahole lecturer gave directions to go on to Amazon.com and rate liberal books and DVDs with one star. Then find far right books and DVDs and rate them with five stars–without reading or watching them!! And explicitly stated this. From the perspective of someone who has been rated and commented on and bashed thoroughly for my postings, published art and commentary, if Tea Partiers have followed this advice, you are completely dishonest and shameless. I have never–ever!–done this to a person with a counterpoint. I rate their talents as writers or filmmakers based on their intellectual capacity to make a good argument, whether or not I disagree with them does not matter. Rating books and DVDs you have not seen is lying to the public in general. It’s a disgrace.
The Billionaires’ Tea Party is short and sweet as a film. I’m sure there are better TP representatives not depicted that could have been interviewed to create a more “fair and balanced” viewpoint and I’m sure there’s more to investigate. However, what is fueling this movement (and by now, there are suggestions that Americans are growing tired of Tea Partiers) is hatred of a black president whose name sounds Muslim, and a misunderstanding of his agenda. I don’t know if Obama is the best choice for America, but I know he’s not out destroy America either.
If Tea Partiers would stop with the hyperbole maybe there’s an intellectual discussion to be had. But remember, The Boston Tea Party was not about destroying government, it was a protest against lack of representation when taxed. And what happened after the American Revolution and we disavowed ourselves of the British government? We formed another government, one which allowed slavery, Native Americans were tread upon and where women didn’t get to vote. History isn’t always golden. We need to be careful to recognize progress and then set the appropriate limits to power.