Thursday, March 25, 2010

In defense of Tea Party types

As people heap abuse on the Tea Party types--mostly cranky old white guys--let me say something in their defense.

The Tea Party folks think they've been shafted. Well, they have been. Wages for working stiffs have stagnated since the 1970s, while those of the corporate elites and Wall Street types have soared into low orbit.

Boomers with a high school education, decent on-the-job training and a good work ethic could support a wife at home, buy that home, buy a Chevy or a Ford, and raise a family.

And now their retirement is threatened, and their kids have worse prospects than they do.

Moreover, the society they lived in is being taken away from them. They didn't have to lock their doors. Now they do. Signs on stores were in a language they could understand. The people around them generally shared their values.

Of course all these things happened to American Indians, and liberals never stop bemoaning that. But it's happening to American Anglos now, and liberals shower contempt and namecalling on them.

How is it not OK for American Indians to have their culture taken from them, but just swell to have exactly the same thing happen to Anglo Americans? Exactly what makes it racist to love your own culture and want to preserve it?

If a million Anglo Americans moved to, say, Veracruz, and edged out the locals, and put signs only in English on their stores, liberals would decry it as cultural imperialism and argue that Mexican culture was being disrespected.

This isn't a problem for me personally, by and large. I live in Silicon Valley, one of the most multicultural places on Earth. Last Saturday we showed a couple from Belarus to San Francisco for the first time (they got here a month ago) and took them to a Burmese restaurant for dinner--their first experience with Burmese food.

Our last vacation was in Bali. I've traveled in 17 countries. I speak Spanish. I've lived in Mexico and studied at the University of Mexico summer school. I'm educated. I speak a tiny smattering of half a dozen languages. I have a degree in Sociology.

But I'm not your standard Anglo American working stiff. Why should I expect them to not go into culture shock if the demographic composition of their town is changed radically--by immigration policies that the American people never voted on and would reject if they were given the opportunity to do so?

So they're suffering economically and culturally.

Meanwhile the Democratic Party tells them they're racists if they object to their wages being driven down by competition from a flood of illegal immigrants. And then they open their ballot and it's in 15 languages to accommodate immigrants who haven't bothered to learn our common language.

And if the Anglo American is in civil service somewhere, maybe he sees a black guy with lower scores get promoted ahead of him because the white guy's great-great-great-grandfather had slaves. Or was a sharecropper whose landlord had slaves. And the Anglo American knows this has happened because the Democratic Party decided to make it so.

So our Anglo American guy turns to the Republicans. He doesn't realize that it's the Republicans who are robbing him blind, because they do their financial manipulations out of public view, while the Democrats' are out in the open.

So although the Tea Party types are completely wrong about the source of the economic situation they're in; although they're fiercely opposing the guy--our prez--who's trying to save them--and although much of what they're saying and doing is clearly racist and hateful--

We should admit that the Democrats did everything in their power to shove them into the Republicans' greedy arms, and that these Tea Party folks have gotten the short end of the stick. They just don't realize who did it to them.

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