If what passes for news on cable TV- and talk radio-covered third party politics, President Ron Pauls coalition government would be moving Constitutional lawyer Barack Obama from his Senate seat to the Supreme Court and Patrick Buchanan would be heading a commission investigating US corporations who move operations overseas and hire undocumented immigrants when Americans are jobless all after two successful terms by President Ralph Nader.
Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, ad nauseam are more combative and partisan than Main Street Republicans, openly promoting the most extreme elements of the Tea Party.
MSNBC, Stephanie Miller and so on are more timid than some Democrats, too often refraining from criticizing Obama or even acknowledging the Green Party.
So maybe its time for a common-sense, common-ground coalition: the Green Tea party.
After all, distrust of government at any level is not unhealthy. More importantly, the three most common core values expressed by Tea Party activists are fiscal responsibility, limited government and free markets pretty sensible goals that have nothing to do with race, birthers, Oklahoma City-style uprisings, etc.
Further, half of the Greens 10 key values fit quite comfortably with the Tea Partiers (three others maybe; two doubtful).
The five points of agreement are a decentralization of government, community-based economics, ecological wisdom (maybe expressed as conservationism), personal and global responsibility, and grassroots democracy.
Three other Green points might be accepted: nonviolence (although smart Tea Partiers ought to publicly make this clearer), future focus (we all care about tomorrow and our kids lives ahead), and feminism (would they tell Sarah Palin she shouldnt be paid the same as a man working the same job?).
Disagreement is likely in two Green points: social justice and respect for diversity. Both depend on whos defining the concepts. Social justice ranges from the right to an attorney to limiting tax-funded help to the aged and poor. Respect for diversity runs from including a mandate for vegan choices at school lunches to excluding Evangelical Lutherans as too liberal.
Still, the notion of working with others not dismissed as Others enemies, aliens, etc. is being discussed elsewhere. For instance, the current issue of The American Conservative magazine has progressive and conservative voices writing about joining forces to work for peace; some of their thoughts are more widely relevant: William S. Lind, co-author of The Next Conservatism, writes, Left nor Right has anything to lose by exploring a coalition because alone neither is having an impact. Justin Raimondo, editorial director of Antiwar.com, adds, The brewing populist revolt against our corrupt, hapless elites can be turned against the War Party quite easily. A recent Pew poll showed that Americans would prefer a foreign policy described as minding our own business. The same poll shows our elites have quite the opposite opinion.
Thomas E. Woods Jr., author of Nullification: How To Resist Federal Tyranny in The 21st Century and eight other books, writes, The most dangerous extremists in our society are to be found in that continuum from Mitt Romney to Hillary Clinton that we grotesquely describe as the mainstream. It thinks nothing of lying to the American public. And Markos Moulitsas, founder of DailyKos, adds, The problem is simple: Republicans are too eager to demagogue and Democrats are too quick to cave. Fear pervades both parties the former is afraid of scary brown people, the latter afraid of electoral losses.
Theres a disconnect between Main Street and Wall Street, unhappiness with bailed-out banksters and large corporations, and the corrupting influence of money in politics, according to studies by groups such as the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. Thats logical, too. Over the last decade, the financial sector has spent more than $4 billion to lobby Washington more than any industry and some 1,400 bank lobbyists work Capitol Hill. Further, the financial sector spent $476 million in campaign contributions in 2008 almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Thats more than seven times what Big Finance sent candidates in 1990 ($60 million), according to Federal Election Commission data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Of course, for a Green Tea party to be brewed, participants must work together on ideas they share and ignore areas of disagreement, be confident that ones principles will endure different views, and to show mutual respect.
Bill Knight is an Illinois journalist who teaches at Western Illinois University.
From The Progressive Populist, August 1, 2010
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