It is difficult to know whether or not the Tea Party Express is a grass roots creation, a production of Fox News like American Idol or, as recently claimed, a concoction by a public relations firm to make money. But no matter its origins, it seems to have coalesced around some basic concepts. It opposes taxes and waste and fraud in government -- particularly the federal government, and my response to that is: Who doesn't? We would all be members if those were the only goals.
But high taxes, increased deficits, fraud and waste were rampant during the Bush years, it is the health care legislation which apparently has caused so many to dip their tea bags in boiling water and shout cries of Nazism and the coming of Hitler to America in the guise of our president. Let us examine this creeping socialism morphing into communism, then fascism and eventually Nazism. The goal of the health care legislation was to provide insurance and, in turn, health care to those who have been denied it for reasons of health or lack of funds. It is meant to provide affordable and competent health care for all and by doing so include the poor, the sick, the young and the elderly, who were formerly excluded. Forgive me, but I have some difficulty in equating universal care for the poor and the sick with the extermination of 6 million Jews. I have a sense that Jesus given the chance would have voted in favor of health care legislation and not stood with the Tea Party on this issue.
When I hear of the fear of this creeping socialism, I wonder what it is that the tea-baggers would eliminate? Is it our armed forces, our national bridges and highways, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment benefits, FDIC deposit insurance, the FBI, the CIA, our federal courts, the G.I.Bill, our national forests and parks, our child labor laws, the FDA and all of the other government agencies that seek to protect the public from dangerous products or practices? Sure, we would all like government agencies to run efficiently and without waste, but we shouldn't close them down because they don't. We should eliminate the waste and the pork not the worthy goals.
Right now, I do not think anyone knows whether this legislation will increase or decrease costs or the deficit. But when opponents insist that this is a government run program (which it is not), they point to other government agencies or entities to prove the likelihood of failure. My favorite analogy is the U.S. Post Office. Yes, because of the advent of e-mail, the Post Office is in financial difficulty. But if the Post Office is an example of a failure then I hope we suffer many more. All I know is that during my entire lifetime I could mail a letter and it would magically be delivered to someone else's home or office anywhere in the United States within a few days. According to Wikipedia:
The United States Postal Service employs some 656,000 workers, making it the second-largest civilian employer in the United States (excluding the federal government) following only Wal-Mart. Each day the United States Postal Service delivers some 660 million pieces of mail to as many as 142 million delivery points. The USPS operates 32,741 post offices and locations in the US. USPS operates the largest civilian vehicle fleet in the world, with an estimated 260,000 vehicles. If that represents government failure, I hope the auto industry adopts the model.
Finally, I suspect that Jesus would not approve of the hate and incitement that is being spewed at these rallies. To the Michelle Bachmans, Sarah Palins, Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs and others who fuel this hatred, we remind you on this anniversary of the Oklahoma bombing, that there are other Timothy McVeighs out there listening to you putting elected officials in "the cross-hairs", callings them "gangsters", "Nazis", "fascists" "Hitler", "socialists", flaunting your weapons, forming militias, and challenging the President's birth. In the words of Rev. Wright whom you so often like to quote, some day these vile comments "will come home to roost", and it is you who will be responsible for the consequences. Jesus would not approve or join your club.