One of the inspiring, and pivotal moments in the American Revolution was when General Washington, in the dead of night of Christmas Eve, led a ragged group of volunteers across the Potomac to head on attack the British. In numbers killed, and in the numbers who fought, this battle was inconsequential. Many were shocked, many laughed, many trembled at the retaliation that was sure to come. But it was a victory of the spirit, a pivotal moment, and it set the tone of the fight to come. It was a moment when the tangible possibility of success was realized.
The Tea Parties, and the newly elected Congressional balance has seen a small and perhaps a similar victory with the 38.5 billion savings in the recent budget battles.
Many have scorned this as inconsequential, and have angrily gone back to saying things like “Those Republicans are no different than Democrats! They are both hopeless and corrupt!”. And some of these actively hope that with their ridicule will come discouragement, and with that discouragement, the Tea Party will fade away. They would have it be remembered if at all, as an embarrassing blink in the progressive history of the new decade. The mainstream media has found problems with the 38.5 billion, and found ways to point the finger of accusation at Boerner.
Of course the status quo is fostered by glibly repeating a meme that “the two parties are the same”. Those attitudes defocus and splinter groups with objectives and goals, leaving nothing but anger and frustration. Frustration, that nothing can apparently be done to change Washington, and anger, that such would be the case. That is the time to renew and double the focus.
We see attempts to misdirect and divert the conversation from reckless spending, to social issues such as the funding of Planned Parenthood and the defunding of NPR (both of which would certainly be good things, certainly). But social issues are derails, and the message is clear and simple: Taxed Enough Already.
New and interesting trends converge in Washington.
On the one hand, there is the Tea Party, who seems to be aligned with the major block of Americans, and a large group of Republican Congressmen who have adopted the “Taxed Enough Already” principles as their platform.
On the other side, there is the current Administration, and the Democrats.
The conversation now in the halls of Congress, is the message and the issues the Tea Party first brought to national attention in February 2009 with a wave of peaceful demonstrations that eventually were attended by millions of people. This conversation is about the debt, the spending, and the immediacy of the job of Congress to fix it.
The first step, the 38.5 billion, was a small one, but to understand it adequately, we need to go back to 2-2009, when the first Tea Party rallies arose spontaneously in the USA. These people knew instinctively – well before Obama’s 5.1 Trillion deficit as of 4-2011 – the course of what was to come with spending and the loss of value of the US dollar. To their credit, they warned us that the first “stimulus” of some 1 Trillion would be only the tip of the iceberg. When they rose up to warn people, they were ridiculed and insulted.
They were and are smeared with the pornographic label “Teabagger”.
They were a diverse group. Many went back to their day jobs and their friends and associates remaining silent about their political protests. Many stayed silent when in groups, and endured the misinformation and misunderstandings of their friends and associates about the Tea Party. They understood that this was due to media propaganda, and they had patience. They came to understand that most of their friends and associates would go with whatever they thought was the prevailing wind in politics, and others didn’t really care at all.
They went to Washington DC, a place many had not been before. They formed lines hundreds of people long to enter Congressmen’s and Senators’ offices. In those offices, they asked politely for action on key items.
It was well into 2010 before mainstream media came to grapple with this phenomenon, and then, sparingly.
Hints of the coming storm were available with the Scott Walker election, and the town hall debates about Obamacare. For those who followed the story, which went largely unreported in the mainstream media, (if not actively misreported and misrepresented), a curious new thing arose.
Ordinary people were reading thousand page bills, while Congressmen not only were not, but smirked at such a job. Ordinary people either found they could reason better than the Congressmen whom they talked with, or perhaps found in surprise that they had entered into a debate with a Congressman whom they’d caught flat footed. Congressmen who in past eras of complacency had gotten away with a sloppy understanding and grasp of the facts. Congressmen who discovered, had never had a reason to pay attention to the details of what he was voting on.
With the November 2010 election, perhaps some mistakes were made. Some Senate candidates with strong Tea Party backing lost, and some won, but a the largest sweep of the House in 70 years was made. Some strong Tea Party candidates lost, because of incumbent popularity, basic socialist sentiment in that district. or other factors.
Don’t forget – politics is local, and injecting national attitudes into a state election may result in a candidate that the locals don’t want. And to an incumbent threatened by the new wave of fiscal conservatives, a weak opponent, out of touch with hot buttons in that state, would be a godsend.
Progressives now believe in a strategy of waiting, obfuscating, and appearing to hijack the issues of concern. With this, they believe, the Tea Parties and their enthusiasm will fade away. Things in Washington will be back to normal. Deals will be made, of the shrinking wealth of the nation. They believe that their Socialist agenda, coupled with the weaker socialist agenda of the RINO Republicans, will be back into vogue. Or, and more tragically, they believe that in a weakened and economically depressed country, they can make inroads which would not be possible in one prosperous through capitalism.
Every single day since the budget compromise was announced, there has been a new story and new insight into what did and did not occur. Much of this is “new spin” by vested political interests or their shills. This isn’t going to change, instead, it will get more intense. The dissembling, the smoke and mirrors will also increase. As the vested interests find themselves more and more under examination, and under attack, and they will counterattack..
That we should expect years of crises, hysteria, and fear mongering ahead is not bad, and it is not reason for hopelessness. It is the fight that we wanted and the reality that we wanted exposed to daylight. Now we can see clearly, due to the extraordinary times, what stuff the people in Washington are made of. And we see that what they got away with in the good times when people looked the other way, is now in the spotlight.
At such a time, it is the time to stand firm on principles, not give in to compromise on those principles, and stick to the simple realities of common sense applied to spending. Behind every promise made by a politician, is the reality of committee decisions; behind every committee, is a forged compromise, behind every compromise on the deficit made today, is fiscal madness and the decline of the US economy.