I Declare...
The Maine incarnation of the Tea Party is turning Republican…doh. Rather than being pure separatists they think the Republican Party is a good vehicle for their stuff. So at the party convention they threw out the Republican Platform and replaced it with their own platform. It is a mishmash of ideas tempered with some head scratchers. The suspected move toward isolationism is becoming more and more apparent as you read through the document.

It begins like a declaration of independence from something.

“In the course of a nation’s history, it is natural that political philosophies will evolve which run contrary to the original principles evident at the time of that nation’s founding. A nation founded in tyranny will by its nature spawn sentiment in direct opposition to that tyranny.”

I’m not sure if it is independence from the Union or independence from the crazies of New York or the “Left Coast” or the crowd in DC but their aim seems to be “To form a more perfect Union” I am guessing in their own image. I also guess being so close to that socialist regime in Canada may have helped give rise to this “new” philosophy.

Most of what follows from that initial statement are some non-sequiturs and fuzzy ideology for this “new regime.” It is interesting to note that there is no mention of “community” “solidarity” or “fairness” which may give more insight into the seemingly selfish nature of this movement. While there are honest people in the TP that legitimately call for less government at all levels the focus of this declaration seems to be on “freedom and personal liberty” rather than the welfare for the citizens of this nation as a whole. It doesn’t seem either very patriotic nor American.

To wit:

1.a All legislation must adhere to the restrictions outlined in the Constitution to protect the individual from intrusive government.

Isn’t that why we have the Supreme Court? Although the court can make some awesomely bad decisions, e.g. Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (corporations are persons or money = speech), it’s all we have in the way of staving off anarchy. This point, “a” and point “b” are referring to the 10th Amendment with little regard to federal law which may trump a state law (e.g. civil rights).

There are other xenophobic points that follow including registration of voters and who can and cannot vote in elections. But lets jump down to the more head scratcher isolationist points beginning with point “h” specifically subparts “i” and “ii.” (i)”Oppose any and all treaties with the UN or any other organization or country which surrenders US sovereignty.” For example: “Reject the UN Treaty on Rights of the Child.” This is a treaty which was written in 1995 to protect children from the international sex trade and stem child slavery. The treaty, signed by the U.S. has yet to be ratified by the Senate. So why not? Well, the Heritage Foundation and religious conservatives think it intrudes on what we, America, should do for ourselves. In other words the world body should not have any say on domestic issues. I can only surmise that these TP folks do not care about these heinous practices or it’s all about money hidden in the cloak of sovereignty. Well keep it up TP, we and Somalia are the only signatories of this treaty which have not ratified it. As long as I can get my soccer balls from Bangladesh or my underwear from El Salvador at a cheap price from WalMart I ain’t signin’ no treaty.

(ii) “Reject “LOST” the Law Of The Sea Treaty.” This is a treaty which among other things, asks us to sign on to adopt regulations and laws to control pollution of the marine environment. According to Ed Meese, U.S. Attorney General under Ronald Reagan this provision in the treaty was a deal-breaker in 1982. Meese explains, “…it was out of step with the concepts of economic liberty and free enterprise that Ronald Reagan was to inspire throughout the world.” This typical “out of sight, out of mind” approach to taking care of messes or cleaning after oneself, is back in this platform. The type of environmental myopia of “eat drink and be merry” for tomorrow hasn’t come yet because there are “people” who will clean up after us, has been a theme of the Republican Party for years so there is nothing new here.

It may sound like i am only picking out the most egregious points and I am, but there are also things I agree with in this document for example, term limits, and curbing congressional compensation. I just wish the statement went a bit farther and excluded the obscene amount of money needed to get elected.

Part III focuses on “Insuring Domestic Tranquility” by stating the usual Republican talking points, not allowing gay marriage, promoting of family values (if ever there was a party to promote family values it is the Republican-wide-stance-Appalachian-Trail Party), sealing the border (those damn illegals from Canada!).

Part V (a) There is one confusing line in the “return” to the roots of whatever they are rooting around to find and this is “Return to the principles of Austrian Economics, and redirect the economy back to one of incentives to save and invest.” Are they talking about emulating the economy of California under our Austrian-American governor?

It’s good to have stuff in writing, because sometimes one doesn’t get the full impact of the message from a placard or sign held up at a rally. Perhaps we need this rhetoric thrown in our faces to help the rest of us to focus on what we really value as Americans and hopefully discuss where the ideas can overlap and what borders on altruism rather than patriotism. As “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” needs to be our mantra, it is also important to be vigilant of the radical radical right wing (which in the 50’s people labeled communists) so that the shrill voices don’t drown out the progressive movement of this experiment known as the U.S.A.

The TP has a right to present what they think the country should be like. Tyranny has many faces and in this case it is older, white and educated. If that’s what you believe, this is your party.