Globalization of the Tea Party Movement
November 11, 2011
Before the year 2009, the Tea Party signified a historical protest against a colonial taxation. Since 2009, the contemporary Tea Party is known as a movement born spontaneously in support of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets.
The undercurrent of both parties is protest against disagreeable practices by those who wield power. The formation of the first Tea Party led to the birth of the United States of America. The current Tea Party movement has become a force to reckon with here in the U.S. To the extent that the U.S. has important global influence, it goes without saying that this movement is bound to become an important political force at the global level.
The current Tea Party movement’s genesis at the grassroots level here in the U.S. is likely to be perceived as a movement that is limited within the borders of the U.S. A closer analysis may, however, reveal that it could be projected outside the U.S. borders. As a matter of fact, it can be also said that this grassroots movement is also a projection of other grassroots movements against various forms of injustices.
Some in various parts of the world have used their whims to dictate their pigment of imaginations to the people they have taken upon themselves to lead. Take for instance Helen Epstein’s observation of Meles Zenawi’s dictatorship over the Ethiopian populace. She specifically pointed out his dictates that he spelled out in 2001: “When ‘Revolutionary Democracy’ permeates the entire [Ethiopian] society, individuals will start to think alike and all persons will cease having their own independent outlook. In this order, individual thinking becomes simply part of collective thinking because the individual will not be in a position to reflect on concepts that have not been prescribed by ‘Revolutionary Democracy.’”
As a confidential report by former U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Vicki Huddleston, which was made public recently by WikiLeaks, disclosed, the government of Ethiopia under the leadership of Meles Zenawi is reported to go to the extent of bombing people in its captivity and then blaming it on independent political and civic organizations. It is even more puzzling to read in the same report that the deceased had been picked up by the Ethiopian government police a week prior to being bombed, kept in detention, and tortured.
One of the best innate reactions of yearning for liberty and against this dictate and acts of savagery came from Birtukan Mideksa, a former federal judge in Ethiopia and one of the leaders of a major Ethiopian political party. In a poem that she wrote in jail, which became public in 2009, she clearly projected the quintessential wisdom of give me liberty or death.
The above instances are far worse than Mr. Newt Gingrich's early observations in the contemporary American politics that appear alien to American history and traditions and Mr. Herman Cain's recent succint statements that "there are too many people in the media who are downright dishonest" and "do a disservice to the American people."
These instances may elucidate the fact that the innate quest for liberty, justice, and human rights are universal in nature. The U.S. has been rightly characterized as the beacon of hope for these innate values and has projected these values to many parts of the world. On the flip side of this are the continuous attempts to project failed ideologies, such as communism, against the virtues of liberty.
The above contrast seemed amply demonstrated in the week that saw the death of one of the greatest marvels of all times, Steve Jobs, and the beginning of perhaps one of the most ideologically devoid movements in the U.S., Occupy Wall Street. One of the greatest contributions to American strength are the hardworking people who use their imaginations in the little spaces they get, including garages, dormitories, libraries, and so on, and end up making a difference that reaches out to many corners of the world. Steve Jobs was certainly a classic example.
The generation that paid tribute and gave all kinds of accolades to Steve Jobs may well has been using Steve Jobs' products to stand against what Steve Jobs stood for, hard work, and went out to protest with a practically senseless contrast of 1% to 99%. To begin with, there is always a 1%. To continue, there are all kinds of one percents. To mention a few, they include material power, political power, intellectual status, innovation, art, academic standing, and so on. Bill Gates is in the top 1% in material power. President Obama for sure wields political power of the top 1% in the world. This writer empirically considers himself, risking self-aggrandisement, in the top 1% when it comes to intellectual status and satisfied with it but far from the top 1% when it comes to material power and blames no one for it.
Normally, those who have the basic understanding of the above insights strive to be in the top 1% than blame others why they are in the 99%. Perhaps, the most important factor to consider in this debate is whether there exists an avenue to be in the top 1% or even 0.1% or not. Chances are one of the greatest, if not the greatest, here in the U.S., which may well be why it has been characterized as the land of opportunity. The confusion about this factor was amply demonstrated when one of the Tahrir Square demonstrators came to Wall Street to share his experience with Occupy Wall Street.
Tahrir Square was a demonstration that brought down a dictator who ruled for about thirty years one of the ancient countries of the world, Egypt. In the time that Hosni Mubarak had been ruling Egypt from 1981 to 2011, about seven presidential elections were conducted here in the U.S. This clearly shows a sure contrast about the opportunities in place, or not in place, to grow as well as account for successes and wrongdoings. This is why comparing Tahrir Square with Occupy Wall Street is hypocrisy at best and confusion at worst.
Sorting out such confusions doesn’t take much thinking. There are common sense values. Any transgressions against these values are bound to, and should, give birth to movements like the Tea Party. For these kinds of movements to be highly effective, they need to go beyond spontaneity to form a formidable force at the grassroots level both nationally and globally. The assurance of liberty everywhere is its maintenance anywhere. If the current Tea Party manages to accomplish this, it may well be recorded in history books as more significant than the first Tea Party. This is simply because of the global dimensions of the challenges and opportunities that historical circumstances have made it to face.
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