Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mote, Meet Beam

I like this cartoon because it's almost in contact with reality.

The Tea Party, like any other kind of protest movement -- I hesitate to call it a political party, because it's hardly solidified into one with platforms, candidates, fund-raising and such -- has, at its heart, altruism. Maybe not an altruism everyone would agree with, but altruism certainly. And every kind of protest movement is going to attract the wingnuts, be they from the left, the right, the middle, or -- and this is more important these days than in the past -- the media.

I've read a lot about 60s politics, certainly the politics and rhetoric surrounding the Nixon campaigns and presidency. Neither side came out of the mess smelling all that rosy. We could all certainly learn some lessons from what passed for rhetoric and reporting back then as well.

I like what our local paper said concerning a Tea Party Tax Day rally earlier this week -- The crowd was willing to listen to a libertarian speaker trash the Democrats, but when it came time to saying, well, the Republicans share some blame, too, the crowd went silent. That's kind of like listening while plugging one's ears and singing "Pinball Wizard" while the other guy is talking. Kind of like seeing the mote in the other guy's eye without regard to the beam in our own eye.

Same for the media and for the loons on the left who look at today's Tea Party protests and see only the fringe and the violence, while at the same time ignoring the fringe and the violence of liberal protests back in the 1960s. Does Pigasus the Pig ring any bells? That's certainly an odd political and rhetorical position: Better off electing a pig to office than any kind of human being. IF the Tea Partiers were saying that today, boy howdy would the media and the loons on the left like to make fun of that. But Done by liberals, of course, it's all strictly satirical public political speech that sends a message. Mote, meet Beam.

Listen to what's said here. Listen to Barbara Ehrenreich say this:

The powerful in our country had ceased to be responsible. And so the powerless, students, poor people, were trying to take some responsibility.

She'd probably be pissed to hear me using her words in this context, defending the Tea Party. So be it. But the truth remains in the statement: The powerful in our country have ceased to be responsible, both Democrat and Republican. So the powerless are trying to take some responsibility.

Responsibility comes in living within our means.

Responsibility comes in not walking away from debts, even if that debt is an underwater mortgage.

Responsibility comes in standing up for what one believes is right, even if one's beliefs are not popular with the elites on either side of the political spectrum, or on the side of partisan media, left or right.

If you want to read an excellent book on these kinds of thoughts, read Theodore White's "The Making of the President, 1968." Powerful, authoritative writing. He does do a lot of commentary, commentary that makes neither the right nor the left look particularly rosy. But he does his commentary with a depth of knowledge that most of today's media pundits cannot match. Read his book, then consider the beams in your own eyes.

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