Tea Parties and Fear of the Future
For every event in society, there are at least two sides, the side seen and the side unseen.
Oftentimes, the side seen is simply that which coincides with media narratives, a perverse kind of shadow-theater, where the media, by its choices of what to cover, and what to ignore, writes the script of social reality.
All of us saw this several years ago during the run to the Iraq War, where the government, using all the tools at its disposal, mobilized the media to make the Iraq War seem inevitable—and indeed, made the illogical, seem logical.
According to some published accounts, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein didn’t believe the U.S. would actually invade until the bombs began to fall, for he—a logical man, after all—never could accept that Americans could be so silly.
The U.S., you remember, armed his forces during the ruinous war between Iraq and Iran, where nearly a million people died. He knew therefore, that a U.S. invasion would badly weaken Iraq, and strengthen Iran considerably.
This, he reasoned, made no sense from the standpoint of U.S. interests.
As time has taught us, governments can be silly, driven by constituencies and class forces into martial madness.
The Tea Party groups are one such constituency. They are a group trying to race back to a past that looks brighter in the present than it did in its own era.
They want the incomes that made upwardly mobile lifestyles possible for millions until policy makers sold them down the river with NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and other such pacts which rushed manufacturing jobs out of America forever.
They want the economic security that their grandparents fought for, without the unions, which made that security possible.
In essence, they want yesterday, without the struggles that shaped those days.
They want white supremacy (with a few colored tokens), English only spoken (again, ignoring the many tongues of their grandparents), and eternal war against the threatening, dark “Others” (Muslims, Chinese, Blacks, Mexicans, Venezuelans, etc.)
Isn’t it ironic that they chose an historical image, The Boston Tea Party, where Bostonians dressed like Indians, to sabotage, destroy, and throw overboard shipments of British tea, to protest taxes? I’ve often wondered, why did they dress like Indians? Why didn’t they simply wear masks?
Why didn’t they wear their own clothes—or their own faces—unless they feared the repressive responses of the British Army?
Why dress as Indians, unless they were trying to provoke an Anglo-American attack against neighboring Indian tribes?
The Boston Tea Party always struck me as an action laced with fear.
Perhaps it is thus fitting that such an historical image arises in the present age.
For, above all, they fear the one constant in the universe: Change.
—prisonradio.org, April 24, 2010