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Open letter to TEA party patriots

In Recent Headlines on March 22, 2010 at 8:58 am

Foreword: This essay is a bit of a departure from my usual voice, but it’s an attempt to open some much needed dialogue. I hope you take it in that spirit. The intent is not to offend but rather to gather some alternative views. Thank you in advance.

Dear TEA Party Patriots, 

You can breathe a sigh of relief that the Constitution is safe. Many of you offered reassuring words amidst queries as to your motives for the recent protests over the Health Care Bill. Still others offer the “Taxed Enough Already” explanations. Sorry to the Taxed Enough-ers, you still have to pay taxes. Even contributions to your own organization, Tea Party Patriots, Inc., are not tax deductible. That must be a real kick in the pants.

Take heart, as long as Americans pay federal taxes, you have a long list of causes to protest. 

Might I suggest you stage one of your next protests at Yellowstone National Park? Can you believe that tax dollars finance its operation? How many of you have even been there? I have not, so why should I pay for some place I may never visit. Were the park privatized, we could have a corporately sponsored National Park. That would not take away from the natural beauty in the least. In addition, nowhere in the constitution does it suggest we are to have beauty; it is a privilege, not a right. 

Do you have any idea how many hundreds of miles of pavement our tax dollars finance? There are bridges that I will never cross. Why should I pay for roads I do not use? Yet another opportunity for corporate sponsorship to finance the roads! Suppose you could only drive on a road that was sponsored by your brand of vehicle. Consider the possibilities if General Motors sponsored all the roads. No bailout needed for them, because anyone who wanted to use the roads would have to buy their vehicles. Killing two tax drains with one stone. 

The list goes on. Tax dollars pay for so many things most people will never personally use. Privatize it so that only the folks who use it will benefit from it.

Who would sponsor our schools? Currently only 7 out of 10 students graduate from high school, so perhaps the fast food chains could sponsor the schools, ensuring a steady flow of employees when someone dropped out.

It is unfortunate that much of your message was tainted by accusations not so thinly disguised racism and hatred. It is unfortunate that your concern for the nation as a whole seems to only be about the part of the nation you need. It is unfortunate that some of your followers have resorted to brick throwing, spitting, name-calling, and calls for assassination. Thank goodness, however, they guarded Freedom of Speech. Almost every admonition of such behavior I’ve read or heard has also had a disclaimer.

You simply do not want to be forced to pay for programs that do not affect your life. The good news is, this battle may be lost but the war is just beginning.  The list of things to protest has only begun. The opportunities are boundless for creative, free market capitalists.

Who would sponsor war?

More importantly, would anyone sponsor peace?




  1. Hilarious! Well, sad, but hilarious. It disturbs me that the want of a fully entrenched corporate state is somehow seen as a democratic ideal of these folks. It’s as if they want to change our favored verse to “Of the individual, by the individual, for the corporation.”

  2. For discussion purposes, I am seeking a definition of “a fully entrenched corporate state”. I must admit ignorance I suppose.

    Secondly, I am attempting to ascertain just who the “folks” are who consider a “fully entrenched corporate state” a democratic ideal. I sometimes shy away from erudite conversation because I find it diffucult to keep up intellectually. I may have missed the point here, and if so I apologize, but it sure seems to me that corporations must be simply horrible entities. Perhaps we should eliminate them.

  3. Brilliant! Have you thought about working for Jon Stewart?

  4. Naw Hawken, you are right (pun intended ;), you DO miss the point.
    It’s about bigotry masked as political discourse, ignorance that passes for knowledge, emotion pretending to be intellect.

    Don’t worry about not being able to keep up, btw….realizing your are falling behind is the first, and most important, step in becoming informed 😉
    Lean into it……..

  5. I know you’re making your points tongue in cheek, so I understand your approach. I am not a tea partier or a republican. You bring up 3 excellent examples of ways the government could reduce expenses:
    1. turn national parks over to private entities to run – why not? You’re not the first to bring up this concept. There are private organizations that already buy environmentally sensitive land in order to protect it. The Sierra Club is one that comes to mind. By turning national parks over to private organizations, the people that care the most about the parks would be in charge of preserving them. Who better to put in charge of them?
    2. roads – Why should tax money pay for roads? Private companies build and install utility lines that we all use like gas, water, phone, cable. In the state of Florida, they are turning over a portion of one of their busiest roads to a company from Spain. The company will maintain the road and collect the tolls, just as Florida did. We’ll see how this goes, but it is entirely possible to charge something like a user fee or subscription to use roads. A friend of mine lives in a middle class neighborhood outside of town. This housing development (through the homeowner’s association) pays to maintain their own roads. Anyone can take a shortcut through this neighborhood on these roads.
    3. schools – really? you haven’t heard the reports about privately funded schools outperforming government schools?
    My point here is not to shoot down your arguments, but to bring up the point that we all assume the government is the best entity to control “big” things. The problem is, the government is subject to the whims of those in power. Politicians are human and make mistakes and can be wrong. Why is it any better to put something in the hands of the government than to a private entity? I will say however, putting everything in the hands of large corporations isn’t the solution. Likewise, putting everything in the hands of the government isn’t the solution. I do believe however, that as we grant the government more influence over more things, the day will come when we regret it. It won’t be next year or 10 years from now, but maybe 50 or 100 years.
    Environmentalists are taking steps now to reduce environmental problems 50 – 100 year from now. I wish we would also take steps now to prevent political problems 50 – 100 years from now. Some say the environmental problems are only imagined and not real. Others disagree. Some say the political problems associated with an ever expanding government are only imagined and not real. I disagree.

    • Welcome, Eric, and thank you for adding so much value to what yes, was a silly essay. You make several excellent points and provide a much needed middle ground view, something that is sorely lacking in much of today’s dialogue.

      Thank you again for your input!

  6. Hawken, if you want to engage in dialog or ask questions regarding my comment, I would request that you do so without the passive aggressive b.s. Seriously. It’s absurd. I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt, despite the childish behavior, and assume your query was legitimate.

    What I mean by a “fully entrenched corporate state” is that corporations, not citizens, are defining legislation with farther reaching impact than the citizenry. The bankruptcy reform enacted during the Bush administration was written by the 2nd largest credit card issuer and completely redefined bankruptcy to favor their industry. That’s a good, recent example. As is the Farm Bill, which is Monsanto’s baby. When new, sweeping legislation is enacted, I look at who authored the bill and don’t instantaneously support a party stance, as both parties are woefully deceitful at times. Hence, my assertion.

    This is not to suggest that our citizenry doesn’t actively participate in developing legislation, of course, but over the course of my lifetime, I have witnessed a near stranglehold on our legislative process due to corporate influence. The most recent Supreme Court ruling (followed by a much earlier ruling giving corporations citizen or person status, which overturned laws enacted by our lovely founding fathers) allowing unlimited spending by corporations in political campaigns will likely only further this problem. Thankfully, both sides of the political spectrum are up in arms about this, so we will likely see some powerful opposition and change, at least on the campaign finance front. (Or so I hope.)

    I believe that many Tea Party followers and other folks have an unhealthy attachment to the ideology of laissez-faire economy/markets, assuming that markets do not involve human emotion, the most damaging of which is greed (see: recent global economic crisis). I understand the want of fewer restrictions and government intervention, especially for small business persons (particularly small farms). However, the blind adherence to an ideology of laissez-faire economics negates the threat of unchecked greed, which, as we’ve all recently experienced, can have a domino affect in a global economy.

    Corporations are most certainly not all evil. That would be a childish and absurd assumption, but I suspect that your comment was intended as a passive-aggressive ad hominem attack as opposed to a constructive remark. Thankfully, there are thousands of very ethical companies out there doing great work. I should know. I work for one of them.

    However, we must also note that corporations are run by people and there are people in this world who are willing to make a profit at any price. Hence the use of slave labor, polluting practices, etc. I am in favor of regulating these practices on a governmental level and cutting off consumer support on the level of citizenry.

    Basically, I see a great many Tea Party folks spouting rhetoric without any concrete knowledge of what they speak. In the age of the internet, Youtube has provided some rather horrifying imagery of Tea Party folks spouting disturbing, unchecked laissez-faire market ideology, and slippery slope and straw man arguments. I’d be happy to have a conversation with a well-informed Tea Party movement member who does not develop and evaluate their beliefs by using logical fallacies and insufficient information, but I have yet to encounter such a person.

    I hope that answers your question.

  7. CF; I have always found it a bit difficult to engage in meaningful dialogue with someone who is looking down their nose at me. Now, tis true that we have never met face to face so my observation of your words must serve as my only guide here. My tongue-in-cheek query was perhaps a veiled attempt to tweak your nose just a bit but certainly not to offend. I have noticed that much of your comment language, wherever I have encountered it, offers a smug disdain for anyone with whom you disagree. It is with that in mind that I proffered my “absurd, passive-aggressive b.s.”

    I did hope though to read from you a bit of a clarification of term in your response and you have not disappointed me in the least. I even find areas of agreement with your assertions regarding some corporations and their relationships with the “prostitutes” (sorry, sometimes I am painfully blunt) we elect to represent us. I too have been witness over the years to an overwhelming degree of corporate influence in the legislative process. I would assert additionally that a significant amount of this kind of influence comes from Labor unions and an assortment of other special interest groups as well. There seems to be a fine line here though between “campaigning” for legislation that will benefit your own organization and outright graft. Your comment that “both sides of the political spectrum” are up in arms over campaign spending seems to be true. However, wouldn’t it be refreshing to witness both sides of the eisle seeking reform that benefits the nation as a whole rather than their own interests? I have hope as well.

    If I understand you correctly regarding the economy and greed, I find little with which to disagree. I do believe a little regulation is necessary and the only entity large enough to swing that bat in a large nation with a large economy is the government. I walk that line very carefully however. I have been a small business owner nearly all my life and cherish my independence. The less I see and hear from any government entity, the better I like it. My business involves a great deal of work with government, from local to federal. I can say with complete honesty that in 35 years of working closely with government bureaucracies, I have yet to find a single one operating with even a small degree of efficiency, proficiency, and professionalism. I think we, as a nation, have a tremendous task ahead in overcoming corporate and personal greed on the one hand, and stultifying incompetence and control on the other. I do not think this is a Dem/Rep issue. It involves all of us, all the time.

    Where you see Tea Party attendees spouting rhetoric without knowledge, I see passionate believers in freedom, freedom from intrusive governmental control. It’s true! Some are overly enthusiastic nut cases but for the most part the folks I know who have attended, and BTW I am not one of them, are simply very concerned about their freedoms and their independence being trampled upon. Their fear is not stupidity nor is it often ignorance. So very often their fear comes from personal experience. Keep in mind that the “horrifying” You Tube videos you mention were filmed by someone. I have watched video of the demonstrations as well. Some were a bit raucous but most were generally peaceful.

    All in all, allow me to say how much I appreciate this forum. I find stimulation in the discussion and from time to time even some enlightenment. I guess I just find it more appealing without the snobbish condescension. I know I’m still working on it.

  8. Eric; Ya know? Your points are well taken and would serve well in some serious brainstorming sessions. They are the kinds of ideas that so often start out small and develop into something much larger and certainly beneficial to many.

  9. […] an honest apology. I offended some of my friends who participate in the Tea Party movement with my open letter. While my intent was humor, the reality was it was offensive to some. Since the road to hell is […]

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