Contributed by Katie Foley
It is a relatively well known fact that the so-called “grassroots” Tea Party movement is actually a front for corporations and their boards to rally the masses using their own prejudices, insecurities and uncertainties to vote against their interests in the name of some vague promise of a return to “liberty.”
People who could not place where they’ve heard the name "Mussolini" decry liberal leaders, including their own president, as alternately fascist and socialist, Nazi and communist. They hold signs depicting the leader of the free world in “white face,” either unaware or uncaring of the gross racism implied by the image.
And yet wealthy men have paired up with opportunistic politicians to rally a base of people who are too caught up with the frenzied atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding them to realize that they are being manipulated into speaking out against the very things from which they benefit. Mothers with children on Medicaid showed up to rallies opposing “Obamacare,” claiming they weren’t going to allow the government to interfere with their health insurance. Poor people who have seen their property taxes spike and energy prices soar, while not getting an adequate pay raise for years, speak out against increasing the tax rate on the richest 1%, claiming that doing so is “un-American.”
During last night’s GOP debate, Mitt Romney proposed that to help the middle class, he would eliminate the taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains. This would not help the 7.7% of Americans that do not have a savings or checking account, which includes 20% of the population earning less than $30,000/year. As for a cut in taxes on dividends and capital gains, this will benefit the people who are already in the upper echelons of American society. At least 75% of the income of the top 400 earners in America is derived from dividends and capital gains. Meanwhile, minimum wage earners and people living pay check to pay check have very little to invest, therefore deriving no benefit from Romney's proposed tax cuts to help the middle class.
But “tax” has become a dirty word and the idea of cutting taxes, by which I mean any tax aside from the cigarette tax, has become the de facto “will of the American people" even though polls consistently show that more than 60% of us would be willing to see taxes raised on the wealthiest Americans. Yet, the GOP's big plan to jump-start our economy is simply more of the same - tax breaks to the rich who, rather than reinvest in their business or community, fund political campaigns designed to ensure their money will not go anywhere besides where they want it to, whether that be to their furrier, jeweler, or directly to their off-shore account in some tax haven somewhere.
The beliefs of the Tea Party are consistently decried as lies, or are at least acknowledged as less than the truth. Leaders of the homophobia movement regularly get caught in an intimate but homosexual embrace. So-called grassroots movements are revealed time and time again to be nothing more than a well funded corporate battering ram, designed to increase the corporate bottom line while leaving in its wake the destruction of countless American dreams. And yet they still claim the moral high road.
Why do we allow this happen? Why do we allow them to take the moral high road time and time again when they are actually engaging in appalling behavior that is damaging our country? Why do we keep letting them dictate to us the content of our American dream, instead of standing up to correct the record? We let them use our willingness to allow women to be in charge of their own reproduction distract the populace from the lying, cheating and stealing that is going on right in front of them. We allow complicity in the conservative destruction of the American dream because we keep thinking that people elected to serve the general welfare could not possibly be so self-involved, or that the people who elect them will make an informed decision instead of a gut-reaction to hyperbole laced talking points the next time around.
We need to stop letting Conservatives win by using vague words, asserting part-truths, and preying on our all too human emotion of fear. Let’s call out the Tim Pawlenty’s for their unlawful actions that they boldly brag about while campaigning. Let’s call out the Mitt Romneys, who despite his lack of neckties will never be able to relate to the “average American.” Let us not be intimidated when they screech about the liberal bias of today's "gotcha" media, when Rupert Murdoch is one of the main financiers of the Tea Party movement.
Liberal and liberty have the same root word, and yet we consistently let them paint us as the enemies of liberty. Enough is enough! By being the friends of liberty we are the friends of the American people and therefore we are friends of the Republic that derives its sovereignty from the people. We are for the people, and it’s time we were a little more assertive about that fact.