I have had some writer’s block lately as I have pondered the recent Tea Party activities in my own back yard, specifically, last week’s protest outside Congressman Tom Perriello’s office over Cap and Trade.
I‘m not so much troubled by the event as unable to place these events in any context that is consistent with concepts of logic, common sense and just plain decency.
I understand disagreeing with Rep. Perriello on the Cap and Trade Bill. While I believe that the fact of global warming and the fact that human activities contribute to it is beyond any kind of reasonable scientific and political dispute at this point – there will always be flat-Earthers making noise at the extremes -- there is plenty of room among reasonable people of a wide degree of political worldviews to disagree with respect to how we ought to deal with it.
Cap and Trade is but one way, and whether one happens to agree it is the best way, or even if it will be effective at all, it is simply not so far out on the fringe of science or acceptable political and social belief to engender the hatred it did at Congressman Perriello for voting for it.
Or so I thought.
But there, outside Tom’s office, were my neighbors calling their Congressman “traitor” and “coward,” and as far as I could tell, not a word of condemnation from any local leaders of the Republican party. Not a word from declared congressional candidate Bradley Rees. Not a word from rumored candidate Cordell Faulk. Not a word from local Glenn Beck wannabe Rob Schilling. Not a word from Delegate Rob Bell.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have no problem with a person passionately expressing their political beliefs, but these are the supposed mainstream GOP leaders in this district. If they do not find this sort of rhetoric objectionable, then I submit we have nothing to debate with the Republican Party. Let them pitch their fits, but don’t give them the attention they so desperately seem to require.
While I don’t think this sort of behavior is consistent with healthy or productive political debate, engagement is pointless. Whether this movement ascends to power or simply becomes a marginalized small group remains to be seen, but I suspect the latter because the political circumstances are not even close to supporting the level of anger these people seem to have, notwithstanding the fact that in their fevered imaginations these people seem to imagine themselves as some kind of modern-day iteration of the Patriots of the American Revolution.
They are nothing of the kind. In fact, in their protests, in their use of the symbols of Revolution and defiance against the very leaders elected under the system that Jefferson, Madison, Adams and Washington risked their lives for, these Tea Partiers do not, despite their loudly professed intentions, honor the memory of our Founding Fathers. They besmirch it.