It’s tea time!

Nayeem Hossain

Nayeem Hossain

A decade is ten years. It sounds a long time but time fly! It seems just yesterday the world saw with horror and surprise the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York. Yet it’s been ten years! That one incident changed many definitions, has drawn new lines of friends and foes. But most importantly changed the demography of Western politics. West started to look at her backyard with a different view. The melting pot wasn’t melting anymore. The gardens were not appreciated with so many colors in it. The fall of the two buildings gave the rise of a new form of right wing politics in the West.

In most countries the definition of right wing might be the same but the message they had for people were different. Never the conservatives had a unified message. Conservatives are skeptical of big government here in the US, they want minimal involvement of federal system, want free market to dictate the course of business and believes people knows the best how to run his life and his surrounding. The more the government gets involved the more the civil liberties of individuals are hampered. Well that’s what on paper they believe and oppose. In last ten years we have seen a new breed. The right wing conservatives have run a unified bandwagon all over the West. That was on immigration and anti-Islamic view. Europe especially has seen history written in many countries. Hardcore right wing parties have became governing force for the first time in some but in most countries won electoral seats. European parliament has rightists from Great Britain, Netherlands, Denmark flocking in with a common agenda- have strict immigration policy and stop sympathizing with Islamic countries who harbor terrorism. On the other side of the Atlantic the same ideas are coming forward but with a twist. Here the first victim of extremist conservative are the conservatives themselves.

Tea Party Movement has stormed the picture of American politics like a wildfire fanned by a tornado. They are the newest edition of a long list of political entities in United States. They are suppose to be the most conservative section of the country, the far right. They took the name from the Boston Tea Party incident of the American Liberation movement. They don’t want Government in anything, and they think the Republicans are not conservative enough to take them to the ‘good old days’. The love for their American Values seemed to be threatened only when an African American with an unconventional name took office. This movement was never seen when George Bush was president. Wire tapping to Americans phones, given unprecedented power to gage in wars and spend billions of dollars in tax payers money and giving out billions of bail out money to financial institutions no question asked didn’t seem like big government activities to them. All of a sudden in 2009 people started to come out on the street; energized to take back the country. From whom, might be a logical question and here comes the new right.

If you look at any of the tea party gatherings you won’t find anyone criticizing a policy of the Obama administration. It’s far more complex then that. The banners and placards will say, “Move the Nazi”, “Take back America from Osama”. I saw thousands of footage of these tea party activists and one lady’s comment was the most open and honest. She said, “I don’t think Obama is a bad man, but I can’t see my country turn into a Muslim Taliban state”. One out of five in America believe the President Obama is Muslim and again as I have said before the country is in such Islamophobia that the president can’t repeat what Collin Powell said on behalf of him, “Even if he is, what’s wrong with that”. One of the reason the press secretary had to come out and said the president is a practicing Christian is the Tea Party bandwagon. Majority of these tea party movers emerged right before the presidential election of 2008 and many Republican strategists were surprised to see the size of this fraction. To keep these rightist votes McCain had to change many of his centrist or ‘liberal’ stands and was almost forced to make the biggest mistake of his life-pick Sarah Palin as a running mate.

If you are still not sure what the Tea Party is, just remember Sarah. She’s the beacon of this movement. Within last couple of years, she has turned an ignorant movement to the most crucial vote count sect of 2010 mid term elections and I’m sure for the 2012 presidential election. Their almost militant aggression has effected the Republicans the most. In many states strong candidates with long history were kicked out in primaries by “Outside” Tea Party backed candidates. One victim: Congressman Mike Castle, who lost the Delaware Senate primary largely because he was seen as too moderate. He had been a figure in Delaware politics for more than four decades and was seen as having a good chance in the November election. Sarah Palin backed Tea Party candidate Sarah O’Donnell, has made the race pretty easy for Democrats. She’s already in controversies for giving false information of going to Oxford and Ivy League schools but later said she never attended those schools. John McCain barely made it in Arizona, which was unimaginable even two years ago. Utah senator Bob Bennett was one of the most respected Republicans and is ousted in the primaries by Tea Party candidates. He served 18 years in Senate. In Nevada Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was expected to have a tough race but Tea Party movers took the strongest candidate out of the race. In Florida the incumbent Governor is running as independent by not going into confrontation with Republican Tea Party activists.

All in all, the surprising aspect is many of these Tea Party candidates will go to the election with a strong base even if they are not the most qualified candidates. The horrifying truth will be when many of them win seats in House and Senate. In Nevada Reid’s opponent Ms. Sharron Angle recently made a comment that Muslims are taking over the country city by city and many cities are run by Sharia Law. She indicated that Dearborn, a Detroit suburb with a significant Muslim population of whom there’s a significant number of Bangladeshis, are running the city under Sharia Law. Half of the Tea Party movers think United States is not tough enough on Muslim militancy because the president is Muslim. Recently Republicans have urged to reform a constitutional amendment (Amendment 14) which gives birth right citizenship to anyone regardless of their parents immigration status. Even to many “not so conservative” Republicans that was a line crossed no one imagined can happen. But the extreme ideas are flowing in American right wing strongly. Even some conservative Democrats are distancing themselves from the president to save their seat, as they are afraid the Tea Party allegations will change their voters minds. A slow economic growth has also been against the Democrats and Obama, also incident like the Time Square Bomb plot and the New York Islamic Center controversy helped the movement to get the right kind of ammunition. Almost 10% unemployment and unpopular but necessary initiatives like the health care reform gave the movement the intensity it needed. The failure of the left was to leave the argument tables in media and let the conservatives bash everything the administration brought on the table. Like in Europe this didn’t help to keep the independents or general population focused on the positives.

It’s obvious this would be seen as a great victory for the Tea Party movement, but the trend of kicking incumbent president’s party in midterm election is common. It happen in Regan’s time, Clinton’s first term, Bush’s era in 2006. Many in the US like to see check and balance in power. So having a president from one side and legislation from the other is seen as a preferable balance. But this time the Tea Party seems to take it to the extreme far. If Republicans do get as many seats as expected then they’ll block everything the president will put on the table. Measures like environmental conservation or negotiation in Middle East, can be seriously threatened by an uncooperative Senate.

It’ll be interesting to see how far the ignorant movement is going to keep their stronghold. But for now, it’s tea time all the way to November 🙂

The placard says it all...