Bob Cesca of Huff Post: Tea Party Movement is False Dawn
Bob Cesca of Huffington Post has written an essay on the Tea Party movement and the Southern strategy, as American as apple pie. Say what you will, Cesca's facts add up. That is, they make sense within the long historical view.
Tea Party Movement as False Dawn within the Fourth Turning
The fact of the matter is, the Tea Party movement brings nothing new to American discourse, whatever its members may try to tell themselves and others. One need only look to the political history of the strategic south to see, to comprehend, what a lot has come to the fore.
The issues of tax and xenophobia are , as one commenter aptly posted, "lowest common denominator issues" which appeal to the broad mass, which have little more, as Ortega y Gasset termed it, but words beneath their low foreheads.
They bring complaints and rebellion, but no solutions which are adjusted to the national reality and which would really work.
Howe and Strauss were the 1990s prophets of our political future, predicting in their epic work, The Fourth Turning , a turning point toward destiny for our nation which would take place sometime around the election of 2008. But this turning takes place with fits and starts: False dawn movements which serve briefly to amuse, to titillate, and then diminish into nothing. . .
The Old Southern Strategy in America
Cesca describes his experience with the Tea Party members who responds to his views on their movement:
The dominant theme throughout the most outraged responses was, essentially: We're not racists, but here's why we're pissed about blacks and immigrants. For example, here's a particularly illustrative e-mail, reprinted as it was received:
The Tea Party is NOT about race, it is about me paying taxes to support every non contributing individual . . . the majority of NON contributors are minority. It is not my/our fault some refuse to learn English. . . The main reason the Tea Party exists is Obama's Marxist/Socialistic COMMUNISTIC leanings that will ultimately cost me, part of the 50% that pays taxes, as opposed to the 50% that DON'T PAY!! An ideology that will transform this Country into a third world nation. Try having some honest debate Booby and you might gain cred. Until then you're shining Garafolo's shoes. . . Is that the case Booby? If so you can always go home! Careful moron . . .
Smart. I have dozens more just like it. Several of them tell me I'm an idiot . . . followed closely with a line about how I should "go back to Cuba or Africa." Nope. No racism there.
The half-truth that the tea party movement is more about taxes, big government and personal freedoms is a recognizable strategy of the American south. One speaks about taxes, but it is only a mask behind which something else plays its covert role. Taxes translates to "taxes on the rich" to finance the welfare layabouts - as if those even exist anymore, which is an impossibility ( go on welfare and see how it works for you). One speaks of "ramming healthcare" down their throats, but as Cesca points out, this is a subtext for anger at minorities and immigrants.
And Cesca sees, he comprehends, that the GOP strategists like Dent and Buchanan have been able to shrewdly transform this southern "layering" of speech into a low-minded Tea Party rhetoric. It is obvious - not to those who have not bothered to study history, I will admit - with what vapid eagerness the mass of resentful disenfranchised will swallow notions of "socialism" and "taxation" while all the while a seething and sickly contempt for minorities is just underneath the surface.
Just let anyone dare to say that the constant boom of resentment and vitriolic rants spewed forth by opportunists such as Glenn Beck does not call forth such covert racism and class-consciousness : As Cesca states, "That's the Southern Strategy. It's as old as the Civil War and the Southern white "fire-breathers," but only in the last 40 years has it become a significant subheading in the fear chapter of the Republican Party playbook." Well spoken, and whispered to those in the GOP who already know; the initiated.
What Comes After a False Dawn Movement?
Cesca is right when he asserts that this isn't some delusional far-left conspiracy theory. The Southern Strategy was and still is very real: It is at work in subtle ways, creeping into every nook and cranny of our current culture. It is there in the nod and the wink, in the profit-huckstering of Fox News and Glenn Beck, promoting Tea Parties for profit while they laugh all the way to the bank.
The flimsiness of the veneer of ideas which gloss over the subtext of resentment can never be disturbed, lest the scales fall from the eyes of those who have imbibed some false notion of this movement like a baby imbibes its mother's milk: With trust and lack of consciousness. Before long, a real movement will overtake this false one: That is the natural chronology of history. And as Howe and Strauss said, that is the real Fourth Turning.
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