A Violent Tea Party?

By Mark Edward Noonan21.01.2011Global Policy

For many Europeans the massacre in Arizona is another evidence that political violence is spreading in the United States but this unfortunate event was the deed of a mentally ill person, not a political activist. There is no evidence of an increasing political extremism tearing America apart. Using phrases and images from the American Revolution is natural for a political movement against government power.

It is, perhaps, to be expected that Europeans would express shock at the events in Arizona on January 8th. Not just shock at the killings, themselves, but because the massacre appears to be evidence that at least some Americans have gone off the deep end and are fomenting political violence. It is unfortunate that such views should exist, as they have no basis in reality. It has been a long time since there has been any real trans-oceanic affinity between Americans and Europeans and it shows in the increasing disconnect between European opinions and American actuality. In spite of what you may have heard, second hand, from pundits and news sources in Europe, there isn’t a burgeoning, violent movement seeking to incarnadine American soil. First and foremost it must be kept in mind that Jared Loughner is insane. And not just the sort of run-of-the-mill insanity required for any human being to unjustly take the life of another. While the official word isn’t in – and likely won’t be in until Loughner goes on trial – the evidence so far indicates that Loughner suffered from paranoia and schizophrenia. Loughner wasn’t set off by anyone other than his own mental deficiencies. But what, then, of all the extremist rhetoric aboard in the American republic? Isn’t there increasing extremism which is tearing America apart and making it ever more likely that some will turn to violence? Not exactly.

Millions of Republican voters deserted the party

What happened, briefly, was this. First the Republican party betrayed its stated principles by going in to a huge burst of wasteful government spending. In response to this, millions of Republican voters deserted the party and, in the end, gave their votes to Barack Obama in 2008 when he promised to bring all that under control and make government work for the people rather than the special interests. Unfortunately, once he got in to office, President Obama returned to his party’s big spending, big government roots and started to ram through Congress pretty much the exact opposite of what people had expected. When Obama turned to health care reform and proposed a government take-over of our health care system, people started to get angry and active politically.

“TEA” just stands for “Taxed Enough Already”

It is just natural in America, if you’re going to have a political movement against government power, that you’d use the rich heritage of such phrases and images from the American Revolution. We started, as a nation, because of an imposition of taxes and government regulation. “TEA” just stands for “Taxed Enough Already” and, of course, harks back to the Boston Tea Party of 1773, where Americans threw overboard British tea rather than pay a tax on it. There is no heated rhetoric coming from the right, or the TEA Party in the United States. We’re just vigorously engaging in peaceful debate. We, on the right, are also winning this debate. This was shown in our elections this past November, when the Republican party, fueled by TEA Party activism, won a stunning triumph at the national, State and local level. There is a real divide in America. We are arguing over what sort of America we wish to have. An old-guard of vested business and political interests is fighting for its life against an aroused, American electorate which prefers adherence to our Declaration of Independence and Constitution rather than a continued drive towards more government, more regulation, more taxation and less liberty. In this battle you can rely upon it that tempers will flare and harsh words will be exchanged. But lay aside any idea that there is a wave of political violence building in America – it is just not happening here, and never will.