"Leave-me-alone politics." Oxymoron or Tea Party?

Politics is a real drag, and I hate it. But last night I dragged myself to a Tea Party meeting and fund raiser. I wasn't in the greatest mood, and I have a long history of being immensely turned off by political meetings of any sort. Still, this weird sense of duty made me go anyway, and I expected to just grit my teeth and get through it. By "it" I mean the insufferable pontificating and displays of egotistical "I take myself very seriously and you should too!" behavior that inevitably seems to accompany most political meetings and discussions.

Most but not all. Once again, the Tea Partiers renewed my faith in the power of ordinary people to just get fed up and say "HELL NO!" to activist busybodies.

The speaker (whose name does not matter here) was no political junkie, but an ordinary family woman who was just fed up with what is going on. She won me over with a very simple remark that there was nothing she hated more than politics, and nothing she would less rather be doing. She also said (as did several other people) that conservatives want to be left alone.

Naturally, this was music to my ears.

She realized (as I think most of the rank-and-file Tea Partiers realize) that the problem is people who like politics, who like hearing themselves pontificate, and who don't want to leave people alone. Tea Partiers are people who would rather be left alone, and would have been perfectly content to leave the rest of the world alone, except they've learned that the Golden Rule doesn't work in reverse. Leaving them alone does not guarantee they will leave you alone; instead it guarantees the opposite.

So, much as I realize that this sounds like another impossible contradiction, I have to say that I rather enjoyed doing what I hated last night. I still hate politics, but there's something incredibly optimistic about being with fellow haters -- especially those whose goal is to take away power from those who won't leave people alone, and then leave people alone.

posted by Eric on 04.23.10 at 11:04 AM


And thus is the power of the Tea Party. It is a bunch of people who'd rather be doing something else. Even when a meddler tries to "represent" the movement they soon find themselves alone. It is also why the DC crowd so misunderstands the movement. Where were they during the Bush years, they were living their lives. It only now the DC crowd have really threatened peoples autonomy.

From my time in DC, I quickly came to see the status and power of the bureaucrats was measured by how many people they could muck with. Beyond that it was the politician who controlled the most bureaucrats who could muck with the most people. Actual betterment of the nation or mankind was secondary. Basically the entire DC area is made up of all those annoying overachievers from high school who were always trying to make a difference by getting people involved.

I recently read a book from the late 19th century promoting manual education. In it, the author compares the lives of Gladstone and Bessemer. Over a 12 year period where Gladstone and Disraeli alternated control of the British government they saved about 12 million dollars to pay down debt. Over the same period the Bessemer steel making process saved several billion dollars. Although respected the meddlesome government types can never hope to advance mankind as much as those who seek to use tools to solve problems.

JKB   ·  April 23, 2010 11:55 AM

That's why I always tell people to go to a tea party before they opine on them.
They're just people.
You see the same people you see at Disney or Walmart or something.
They're angry, but they're not angry people.

Veeshir   ·  April 23, 2010 10:10 PM

Utter nonsense.

If conservatives really wanted to be left alone, they wouldn't get all fired up about military action.

In winter of 2003, did you want to leave the Iraqi people alone?

BHO   ·  May 3, 2010 6:07 PM

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