Where Have I Heard All This Before?
– by David Matthews 2
This is an open letter to the Tea Party crowd… a friendly word of advice from an actual Independent/Third Party supporter who has been in the political desert a LOT longer than many of you have.
But in order to give this friendly piece of advice, I’m going to have to first engage in a little bit of imagination. I’m going to have to PRETEND.
I’m going to have to PRETEND that you ARE serious about being independent voters. That you really HAVE burned your GOP membership cards and returned that GOP contribution envelope back with a terse request that they do something to themselves that would be anatomically impossible.
I’m going to have to PRETEND that you truly ARE disgusted enough with both the DNC and the GOP and that you HAVE accepted that there REALLY NEED TO BE a third-party solution!
I’m going to have to PRETEND that you’re NOT a bunch of political posers that are using the banner of “independent voters” as a cover to support the GOP. That you’re NOT being funded by career insiders for the GOP to tap into that overall political resentment over Washington in general and to use it for that outdated party’s political games this coming November.
I’m going to have to PRETEND that you guys are who you politically claim to be, without subterfuge or deception… that you really WANT to fix things in a way that the career politicians would NEVER consider.
In fact I’ll even go so far as to PRETEND that you DID NOT just waste $100,000 on the latest FoxNews media personality… otherwise known as the former Governor of Alaska. The show model for the GOP; their perfect spokesperson.
I have to PRETEND that you’re genuine about this… or else the advice that I give will essentially be WASTED.
If you ARE legitimate about this, then these next few months will be troubling times for you and your movement. Right now you’re basking in the limelight of the media. You’re the New Coke of politics. Everyone wants to know who you are and how vast your influence really is and what you REALLY stand for.
But THIS IS an election year, and pretty soon it’ll be PRIMARY time for the various federal, state, and local offices. The time when those two bloated outdated dominant parties will parade their cast of wannabes and wishful dreamers in front of the voters to see who will stick in their minds. And that’s when the media will turn to you guys and ask you where YOUR horses are in this derby.
Who are YOU backing? Who is getting YOUR group’s support? Is it a member of the DNC, or is it the GOP? Or are you backing a dark horse candidate? Are you supporting someone who truly IS an independent candidate? Maybe someone who thought about running but didn’t live up to the standards of those outdated dominant political parties, or perhaps was concerned about whether or not they would have adequate support?
It’s okay if you don’t have an answer right at that moment. After all, it’ll still be several MONTHS before the November Elections and there would be plenty of time to come up with an answer.
But if you don’t have an answer, then that’s when “IT” will begin.
“IT” will be the visit from friends, colleagues, associates, commentators, columnists, and pundits one and all. And they will all have the same request. They will ask if you don’t have a favorite horse yet for this derby that you back the GOP horse.
Sure, they’ll tell you, the GOP horse doesn’t really represent everything that you guys believe in. Sure the GOP horse is a career politician that has been so firmly entrenched in the system that it wouldn’t know how to function outside of the system. Sure the GOP horse has flip-flopped on issues more times than a flapjack cook, and has the ethics of a streetwalker.
BUT they will tell you that there is a FAR GREATER EVIL lurking in the wings. It’s the evil of allowing a DEMOCRAT to win that election and take that seat!
You see, Tea Party leaders, you and your friends have been hitting the anti-Obama and anti-Democrat rhetoric pretty heavy of late, and it gives people the impression that you hate THEM far more than you hate the stagnation in Washington. And you know what they say about the enemy of your enemy, right?
Don’t worry, though, because your friends, colleagues, associates, commentators, columnists, and pundits one and all WILL come bearing gifts. They won’t just be cajoling you to side with that GOP horse for no reason. They’ll first FLATTER you and compliment you on your willingness to stand true to what you believe in. They’ll tell you that it’s GOOD that you’re making your feelings known about the gridlock in Washington, and that they AGREE with everything that you say about it. But if you’ll just back their GOP horse, that career insider, that failed excuse of a human being, that YOU WILL be rewarded for it. They promise that if you are willing to give that one-trick GOP pony one more time, your grievances WILL be heard. Heck, the GOP horse might even be willing to sign his or her name to some bill that would address some of your issues. That sounds like a good deal, right? I mean, that’s far more than what you’d get from the Democrats, right?
Of course if you DO already have a candidate in mind by the time they come a-calling, then they may not be so complimentary. In fact they may even be downright RUDE towards your choice. They’ll insult your intelligence. They’ll question your motivations. They’ll even go so far as to accuse you of THEFT! YES, THEFT! Because if you’re not backing their GOP horse, then they will actually accuse of STEALING VOTES!
Oh, and if you DO have a candidate in mind that is NOT a member of those two dominant parties, then you better hurry to get them on the ballot, because the bar is set infinitely higher for an actual independent candidate, and it is done so ON PURPOSE.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering just HOW would I know all this would happen, right? Well let’s get brutally honest here… this is standard operating procedure for ANYONE who considers themselves to be a TRUE political independent or a third-party supporter. This is precisely how the political system that you claim to despise continues to carry on, no matter who wins the elections. If you’re not committed to anyone, then you’re ripe for seduction. If you’re not committed to them, then you’re treated as a thief… or worse.
And bear in mind that this would not come from the career politicians themselves… because they know that you don’t trust them, never mind like them. This will instead come from your friends, your associates, your colleagues, the people that you respect. You’ll hear it on FoxNews, from those media personalities that you love to watch. They’ll cajole you; ask you why you won’t go with the flow. They’ll ask why you can’t get with the program. You’ll hear about it from the columnists that will wonder what more that you’re holding out for. What sort of deal will they need to broker to get your support? You’ll hear it day in and day out on talk radio, with personalities like Rush Limbaugh continually telling you to “get off the fence”.
You see… if you stay out in the political desert long enough, then you’ll hear all of the rhetoric and propaganda that is cleverly disguised as logic. You get to see the siren’s call for what it really is. And it all gets repetitive and loses its sting after a while.
And here is the trap, Tea Party leaders… if you truly are the independent forces that you claim to be. You can go with the status quo; betray your own principles on the mere PROMISE that you’ll have a political bone thrown your way in return. Or you can stay true and be isolated, hoping that others would see your example and follow suit. If you succumb to the former, then you’ll be seen as political prostitutes, and given the same kind of respect as you would a streetwalker. If you hold out for the latter, then you’ll be vilified by your friends who are still a part of that system that you claim to want to change.
Now you know why I refer to this as the political desert.
But then again, that is all on the premise that you ARE serious about wanting REAL political change; that your grass roots are not really political Astroturf being propped up by a special interest organization simply to keep the status quo going. Only time will tell if you’re truly serious about change… or if you’re just another in a long string of political mirages.