The Resistance Is the Majority of Americans — Not a New Tea Party

From Time Magazine:  http://time.com/4676825/democratic-resistance-tea-party/

Jesse Ferguson
Feb 21, 2017

On August 25, 2009, Democratic Congressman Bart Gordon held a town hall meeting in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. A local news report called it “a discussion about the nation’s health care” that “led to loud boos and heckling” from the crowd. On February 9, 2017, Republican Congresswoman Diane Black — elected to Gordon’s seat in the fall of 2010 — held a town hall meeting in the same city. A local news report headline proclaimed, “Diane Black, GOP lawmakers faced defenders of Obamacare at lively town hall.” Sounds similar, right?

The zeitgeist is quickly setting in: Republicans right now face a backlash akin to what Democrats faced from the Tea Party in 2009 and 2010. Some have gone so far as to call this resistance the Democratic Tea Party. It’s a convenient comparison: Democrats like it because the Republican Tea Party was successful in 2010, and the media appreciates it as a simple and straightforward story. I’ve been guilty of leaning on it myself.

But the Democratic resistance and the Tea Party actually differ in a number of important ways, each of which tells a different story about where our country is and where our politics may be headed.

For starters, the Tea Party was forged as an opposition to a societal reality in our country, while today’s resistance is opposed to a political reality. The Tea Party began before the election of President Obama, as a reaction to President Bush and the bank bailouts of 2008. Tea Partiers believed that society and the economy had all left them behind. The movement’s anger was stoked by the realization that the country had changed to the extent that it would elect someone like Barack Obama and support his “liberal” policies like the Economic Recovery Act (the so-called stimulus) and the Affordable Care Act (scornfully dubbed “Obamacare”). These members wanted the entire country to revert to a set of values that more closely resembled what they saw on Leave It to Beaver.

On the other hand, the current resistance isn’t based on a belief that our country has gone astray from some former golden age. It’s a political backlash, borne out of Donald Trump’s policies and his presidency. Its participants aren’t rejecting the social structures of American society. They are embracing and defending our evolving structures of diversity and inclusiveness. The people stepping forward to resist the Trump Administration are standing against an Administration that doesn’t respect the core values that this nation holds: that we are all equal and that we can all achieve our own dreams.

Second, these movements were forged in entirely different political situations. Members of the Tea Party believed they had been marginalized and had to fight back against this new oppression. They represented a minority, losing the 2008 elections by almost 200 electoral votes and 10 million people, while Democrats gained a more significant majority in the House and a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority in the Senate. Headlines announced a permanent progressive majority. The Tea Party disapproved of their country going in this new direction, which bred their movement’s anger.

Continue reading at:  http://time.com/4676825/democratic-resistance-tea-party/

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