LETTER: Tea Party Movement Co-opted by Opportunists

By Beacon Staff

So what’s happened to the tea party movement some five years after the financial crises of 2008?

It seems to me the tea party arose as a grassroots movement after the financial meltdown and subsequent U.S. government bailout. Basically, the American taxpayers had to rescue, in many cases, the very same people who almost brought the U.S. financial system, and hence the world’s financial system, to its knees. Naturally, this caused some anger, horror, outrage, etc. to the same taxpayers. Presto: we got the tea party movement.

Reforming Wall Street and the U.S. banking system so that we might avoid these crashes in the future – and prevent future taxpayer bailouts – seems like an intelligent idea worth pursuing.

But what happened to the tea party movement since 2008? Like most reform movements, the tea party movement has been adopted, co-opted, some might even say hijacked, by political opportunists, billionaires, and the think tanks that carry water for the 1 percent. When the talking heads on Fox News, conservative think tanks, and folks like Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin adopt your cause, then all hope of any real reform is lost.

So what do we get now from the tea party? More of the same old culture war gems such as demonizing the working poor, immigrant bashing, denying marriage rights to gays, government hating, and other idiocies like more guns equals more safety and Obama is a commie socialist, and one my personal favorites: we Christians are being discriminated against, oh poor us!

So this is what it’s come to. A reform movement that started as a legitimate reaction to the insane way our financial system was managed has now in five short years devolved into the same old conservative nonsense. Goodbye reform; hello status quo.

Ian Walker