Mar 302010
 
Authors: Sarah Millard

On this day in the middle of last semester, the sun is out. My car windows are open, with the wind whipping through my hair. My favorite song is on the radio, and thus far, no one has cut me off. I haven’t failed a quiz today, and somehow managed to avoid the Greenpeace watchmen lurking in the plaza. It is a good day.

Up ahead, a large group of people has gathered on the side of the road, and I try to catch a glimpse of what exactly is going on. It’s never a surprise when a large group of people congregates around the CSU campus, and the crowd is usually a response to some man with a copy of The Bible telling all the harlots and wenches of CSU they will go to hell for wearing earrings.

Needless to say, it was in my best interest to watch the protest. Instead, I see an elderly man, who looks strikingly like my grandfather, holding a sign depicting President Obama as Hitler.

Excuse me, grandpa?

In my highly imaginative mind, I pull over and beat that old man with his sign, taking out all of my frustration with Fox News on this grandfatherly-type figure.

In a less interesting reality, I slow down, flip him off and tell him to get a job.

This event happened five months ago, and at the time, the Tea Party was still gaining momentum in the political arena. In less than a year, it has transformed from a localized grassroots movement to a national campaign, staging protests and town meetings across the country.

What had started out as a faction against the governmental status quo has flourished in an attempt to secure a Republican majority in Congress by aligning itself with prominent Republican figures.

Fox News contributor Glenn Beck and loser VP nominee Sarah Palin have bought into the public’s frustration with the government and have tried (and apparently succeeded) in telling the public that President Barack Obama will be the death of this country.

Armed with tea bags, these tea baggers are trying to spread vicious slander about the Obama administration, from supposed “death panels” to refusing to meet with congressional Republicans. Both are outright lies.

Even more, these people are using images such as Hitler-fied Obama, swastikas and the Communist sickle and hammer to scare the rest of the public into actually buying these outrageous claims.

To disagree with a politician is one thing. To tote around signs that proclaim, “We didn’t bring our weapons –– this time,” is another. The Tea Party is a perfect example of how the political parties are being polarized.

Whether a Republican agrees with this group or not, they will furthermore be associated with this modern day quasi-militia assembly. Not only can this party broaden the spectrum between Democrats and Republicans but moderate Republicans from ultra-conservative Republicans.

As noted during the 2008 election, the only chance the Republican Party will have in the upcoming years would consist of rallying together and supporting one candidate, a process that has not yet been perfected.

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can cause emergency legislation, public mobilization and even war.

This grassroots movement has decided to focus on the imminent threat of a socialized country under the Obama administration, and, still reeling from Cold War politics, the 50-plus age group is dedicating itself wholeheartedly to this cause.

In reality, Obama has proven to be more centrist than his campaign predicted, and, concerning health care, has included Republican ideas and have asked for input and support from the opposing party.

While television pundits and governors from Alaska lend their support to this massive movement, the mounting pressure on the government is beginning to crack. We’ve already seen what this party can do in a short period of time, and there very well may be a moment in political history where a member of the Tea Party makes a prominent bid for a public position.

On the other hand, it is very possible that this party will explode and cease to exist. All we can do is watch what these tea baggers do next.

Sarah Millard is a junior political science major. Her column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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