Nevada Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle is the perfect example of what the Tea Party movement is all about. She and compatriot Rand Paul of Kentucky have made many bizarre statements and hold views so reprehensible to our idea of modern society that they make us question if we as a nation have advanced beyond the Neanderthal.
Why, we may ask does Angle feel comfortable saying that she supports “Second Amendment remedies” to “take out” Harry Reid? Could it be that at the Tea Party conventions she spoke before, this was standard issue conversation, and now she finds she must account for herself, having escaped the asylum? You know, the one that is proud to have been likened to Timothy McVeigh by Sean Hannity.
More Anglisms: "The Federal Department of Education should be eliminated. The Department of Education is unconstitutional and should not be involved in education, at any level." Especially in states like South Carolina, where desegregation of schools and equal funding was still being fought over decades after Brown v. Board.
"People ask me, 'What are you going to do to develop jobs in your state?' Well, that's not my job as a U.S. senator." We’ll see shortly that her view of her “job” is subject to confusion.
"When I said privatize, that's what I meant. That I thought we would just have to go to the private sector for a template on how this is supposed to be done. However, I've since been studying and Chile has done this." Chile, it should be said, was at the time ruled by the brutal right-wing dictatorship of Pinochet.
After insisting to a classroom of Latino students that she didn’t know that the three fearsome (to white eyes) dark-skinned men in a virulently racist campaign ad were Mexican (they posed a "threat" to a photo of white kids dressed in graduation gowns), she went on to say that "I don't know that all of you are Latino. Some of you look a little more Asian to me." Many of the students, needless-to-say, were shocked by this transparent effort to treat them as if they were dim-witted fools completely ignorant of the cynical efforts to demonize them to gain "cred" with the racist element.
“You know, this is a war of ideology, a war of thoughts and of faith. And we need people to really stand for faith and trust, not hope and change.” Faith and trust, of course, is a euphemism, used by white right-wingers as another way of saying maintain the status quo that favors them.
When a Las Vegas television reporter tried to track Angle down to explain some of her statements after a campaign rally, in the perfect “Know-Nothing Party” tradition she refused to answer any of them, save to attack the reporter as a Harry Reid stooge. Did Angle really desire to end social security? Didn’t she say that she would support “transitioning out” of Social Security into personal retirement account “options,” putting their money in the hands of Wall Street, where the gambling of banksters might end with crashes that would wipe-out those “options?” Did I say that? What, me worry? What about eliminating the EPA? Angle didn’t deny it, but claimed that national issues are not the prevue of a U.S. senator, at least not from Nevada.
At least when Rand Paul says crazy things, he follows-up by denying he said them at all, or was taken out-of-context. After a brouhaha from his insistence that Medicare should be eliminated, he came backatcha with “Medicare is socialized medicine! People are afraid of that because they’ll say ‘ohhh, you’re against Medicare.’ No, I’ll say ‘We have to do something different. We can’t just eliminate Medicare, but we have to get more to a market-based system.” His suggestion? A $2,000 deductable, just what seniors just barely making it month-to-month want to hear. After Paul mused on a right-wing radio show that in his view the federal government should not have the authority to enforce integration on private businesses—meaning banning racial discrimination in hiring—he insisted that he said no such thing, that if he was a senator at the time the 1964 Civil Rights Act came-up for a vote, he would have supported it. It’s just that, well, um, you just shouldn’t have such regulations on businesses.
Angle and Rand are true representatives of the Tea Party movement. We should not mistake them for being mainstream in any way. They are born from the same cesspool of hate, intolerance, xenophobia and paranoia as other extremist elements that have emerged time and again when certain people (mainly white) have felt threatened by “change,” which they interpret as a threat to their hegemony. These people have no real political agenda or ideology, they only know what they are against and who they hate. They do not believe in a program of progress and solutions, or at least not one that doesn’t involve a meat cleaver. Confront them, and they whither in tired clichés, and if you press them further, they expose their mindless bigotry. If we allow them to define what this country claims to be at the polls in November, it will take decades—if ever— for this country to dig out the cesspool from which they came. The country needs unity more than anything to face an uncertain future, not a virus that tears us apart.