In many conversations with Europeans in the last year or so, I've discovered that the NYT, CNN, MSNCB, ad nau have done an excellent job convincing folks over here that the Tea Party is some sort of Hillbilly Uprising or Redneck Revolution. Mention the T.P. or Sarah Palin or Glenn Beck and you get (in order) a cringe, a purpled face, a pair of rolling eyes, and then a rant on horrors of American democracy and the need for better education, i.e. a better re-education in cultural Marxism.
What's most exasperating to me is the unwillingness of these cultural relativists to concede that there is a cultural difference btw the US and Europe that defines the Tea Party movement as a grassroots democratic push to preserve basic natural and civil rights. It seems that for most Europeans government is a natural good and more government is naturally better. They simply cannot imagine what it means to have a form of government that is constitutionally prohibited from growing and growing and growing.
Ultimately, the reactions I get from my European friends and some of my brothers here are rooted in a deep misunderstanding of American culture and a fear of the bourgeoisie. Loathing the hard-working middle class is a sacred tradition among Europe's elite, a tradition recently imported into the US. Hating the hand that feeds you seems to me to be an odd way to live your life.
An excerpt rom Rich Lowry in NRO:
The much-analyzed speeches at the Glenn Beck Lincoln Memorial rally weren’t as notable as what the estimated 300,000 attendees did: follow instructions, listen quietly to hours of speeches, and throw out their trash. [Have you seen the vids comparing the condition of the Mall after the Beck Rally and after B.O.'s inauguration?]
Just as stunning as the tableaux of the massive throngs lining the reflecting pool were the images of the spotless grounds afterward. If someone had told attendees they were expected to mow the grass before they left, surely some of them would have hitched flatbed trailers to their vehicles for the trip to Washington and gladly brought mowers along with them.
This was the revolt of the bourgeois, of the responsible, of the orderly, of people profoundly at peace with the traditional mores of American society. The spark that lit the tea-party movement was the rant by CNBC commentator Rick Santelli, who inveighed in early 2009 against an Obama-administration program to subsidize “the losers’ mortgages.” He was speaking for people who hadn’t borrowed beyond their means or tried to get rich quick by flipping houses, for the people who, in their thrift and enterprise, “carry the water instead of drink the water.”
The tea party’s detractors want to paint it as radical, when at bottom it represents the self-reliant, industrious heart of American life. New York Times columnist David Brooks compares the tea partiers to the New Left. But there weren’t any orgiastic displays at the Beck rally, nor any attempts to levitate the Lincoln Memorial — just speeches on God and country. It was as radical as a Lee Greenwood song.
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