What Does The Tea Party Fear The Most???

Many if not most of my conservative friends seem to base their political posture on fear. They are anti- anything that changes their version of the country. Their fear is so pervasive in their actions. But what do they fear the most??? That is probably a question that has a myriad of answers but let me give you my beliefs about it.

2013-11-02_17-01-58The Tea Party is anti almost everything. But the thing that they most loathe is our current president. They see him as one of “those people” who are not like them.  They see the future of the country in his heritage. Here are some words from a recent email from Jim Wallis about that.

In only about 30 years, most Americans will come from Africa, Asia, or Latin America. Most Americans will no longer be white, and many white Americans are clearly not ready for that profound demographic change in their country. That white fear of who “we” Americans will be is at the heart of resistance to immigration reform. Many older conservative Republican and Tea Party voters are acutely aware of being “white” in a country that is becoming increasingly a “minority.” Congressional voting districts have been oddly gerrymandered along racial lines to protect dominant racial majorities. Shutting down a government that they believe to be too generous to minorities becomes an urgent matter. “Obamacare” becomes the great threat of government providing medical insurance disproportionately to poor people of color. Giving food stamps to poor families becomes another racial flashpoint for conservative white voters.

Finally, a black president becomes the most hated symbol of the demographic changes they most fear for their country.

Questioning Barack Obama’s birthplace and parentage, calling him a non-Christian Muslim, naming him as a “foreigner” and not a “real American” are all ways to define this president as “the other” and not one of “us.” The hatred goes far beyond Obama’s policies and extends to his personage as the wrong kind of American. Obama shows them they are losing elections, and they fear that means losing “their” country.

I know this is a very sensitive topic and I am trying to speak with that sensitivity in mind. When Lyndon Johnson dared to push through the Civil Rights laws of the 1960s the South was for the most part in the Democratic Party.  The Republican party which was the party of Lincoln and the Emancipation Proclamation up until that time had little appeal to many in the previous Confederate States. But the Civil Rights laws pushed all the “Dixiecrats” over into the GOP and that is where they are still firmly entrenched. They became the new base for the party. If you don’t understand that then just look at the red/blue maps of our country.

I believe that much of the Tea Party “principles” are based on things we just don’t want to be visible. It is kept firmly under the surface in today’s politics. No, am not painting with too broad a brush here. I understand that there are other factions who have also chosen to hitch their wagons to this Tea Party movement. Some have a nobler agenda and some probably not. But to ignore that racism plays a strong part of the Tea Party agenda  and their vitriol hatred of an African-American president is in my mind just not facing reality.

So many Republican politicians go to the extremes to placate their base.  Maybe it is time to jettison those angry folks and look for a new and certainly more noble foundation. I would certainly support them in that effort.


  1. Interestingly, much of what you write about Republicans is also true of Democrats. I’ve not seen many politicians of any stripe do more than pander to their base and fear a course of action that would take the country in different direction than the one they support. This includes Democrats (name one that has seriously suggested we get our fiscal house in order, or even believes that is important) as well as Republicans (who have allowed their party to be hijacked by extremists…which they felt was ok as long as it resulted in winning elections). Compromise works both ways, and neither party seems interested.


    • While I agree with your point that it seems that so many moderate politicians of both stripes seem awfully quiet (Warren being a good exception), I think that the money and the vociferousness of the radical right has put almost everyone else on the defensive. How can anyone put forth a reasonable plan, policy, or budget when a “chosen few” can be so effectively obstructionistic? In the current climate of grandstanding and venom, it seems futile to even try any kind of compromise.


      • Thanks Banjo Steve for answering the other Steve for me. The first name that come to mind about our fiscal house was Elizabeth Warren (run, Elizabeth, run). There are several others but as you say the Tea Party has such a strangle hold on our government right now everything else is almost moot. I pick on Republicans mainly because they are so easy to pick one. I try to always mention that there is a big swath of the GOP that I am sure still maintain a degree of sanity and even some empathy but they are currently being drowned out by the radicals among them.

        As the old saying goes “the squeaking wheel gets the grease”. I talk about the GOP because they are the elephants in the room so to speak and no I am not talking about Christy here 🙂 I don’t often pick on the Democrats, but I certainly do pick on them on occasion. I need to hold out some optimism that someone can bring us out of this condition we are in. It seems the GOP has lost their ability to control their own monsters so someone has to be able to do it. Let’s get some sanity back into our government and then we might be able to get our fiscal house in order….


      • I agree with you but would add that divisive, divided government has been with us since the very beginning – at least since Washington’s second term. Real leaders, of course, find a way to get things done no matter the environment and we can all think of past political figures from both parties who were true leaders. The current administration seems to have missed a rare, early opportunity to change the trajectory when it failed to coalesce around the (seemingly obvious) recommendations of its own Simpson-Bowles commission and when it also controlled the House and Senate. Instead, nothing was done, the House later shifted radically right, and we now govern from crisis to crisis while hoping a group of grown-ups from each of the parties will find a way to break the logjam.


        • Hi Steve. Yeah I agree that we have always had a divided government. Washington was astounded that it turned out that way. He just did not see the party division that quickly occurred. But to even remotely suggest that what is happening now is normal is way out there… 🙂

          I think the Obama administration has a lot to criticize about but I differ with you on the belief that they squandered the initial two years. They got at least a very limited version of universal healthcare passed. That was no small feat. Yes, maybe a small majority of citizens don’t like things about it but I am sure it will turn into something as loved as Medicare is now among us seniors when it is finally fully implemented and hopefully will lead on to a more robust version of universal healthcare. If only we spent the last three years fixing the current problems with the plan instead of trying futilely to abolish it, think of how much better it might be today.

          Yeah, I agree that Simpson-Bowles should be acted upon. That is one of the things that we need to address quickly after the GOP wrenches control away from the wing nuts in their party.

          BTW, I like your site. I too am a history buff. I see you are now reading about Andy Jackson. If you get a chance you should visit “Hermitage”, it is a very eye-opening place. I am not much of a fan of Jackson, too much bravado for me. Somewhat like LBJ in that regard. But at least LBJ got things accomplished… 🙂


        • I would love to visit “Hermitage” – I’m currently looking for an excuse to find myself near Nashville sometime soon. Among the early presidents I have found Andrew Jackson surprisingly interesting – his “bravado” and ability to get things done both being part of the allure. Your comparison of him to LBJ (which I hadn’t yet focused on) is incredibly appropriate on many levels.


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