If you are a Tea Party member in Mason City, Iowa, the commonalities lunge at one like bad 3-D, but to a person who reads, thinks for herself and happens to have paid attention during her early 20th century history class – the question should really be “aside from being political leaders during economically crushing times what do they have in common?”
And even that is stretching it.
The “change” bogeyman is nothing more than a political tool that they all use – Tea Partiers and Mama Grizzlies included -because it works.
Human beings are notorious for their dislike of change. Creatures who seek comfort and who mainly live within the confines of their homes unless some consumer need drives them out to the nearest shopping blight on the landscape, Americans in particular are living change at speeds that the vast majority of them never anticipated and weren’t raised with the coping skills to deal with.
The Tea Party then is little more than an adult temper tantrum about the loss of the American Dream rug beneath their feet. Turns out, that whole myth about us descending from hardy pioneer stock is really just a myth.
The people of Germany and Russia during WWI, which is the breeding ground for both Hitler’s rise and Lenin’s takeover, were dealing with the kinds of economic devastation the likes of which would send most Americans in search of corners to curl up in. To compare our current recession to children literally starving to death, as they were in Russia at the end of the first world war, is the height of self-absorption.
To their credit, the main body of the Iowa Tea Party disapproves of the Mason City billboard.
Yes, it’s a billboard, and it’s up for the coming month in Mason City, so feel free to mock and jeer across the blogosphere, but don’t expect it to have any effect on their views.
I know the kinds of people who fall for this type of logic. I grew up next door to them in the northeast part of the state. I taught their kids for twenty years in the public school system in the center of the state. Decent enough folk, they lead with their bellies and their sense of entitlement and a recession like the one we are experiencing unnerves them. Why? Because it flies in the face of everything we Americans are taught to trust. Behave, work hard and the middle class dream is yours.
A dream that Obama favors by the way and that Lenin would have curled a lip at.
I won’t argue with the smaller print that “radical leaders prey on the fearful and naive” but I will note the irony. And the fact that the irony would be so lost on the people who designed this billboard.
UPDATE: After being up for just one week, the Mason City Tea party billboard has been covered up at the request of the group who received hundreds of threatening messages from irate Mason City folk – who apparently all know there history better than the Tea Party people. No apology was issued and the group’s spokesperson insists that people misunderstood the billboards main idea. Um … sure, dude.
Photo by Deb Nicklay/Mason City Globe Gazette