I'll admit some sympathies with the Tea Partiers. I understand their frustration and anger. I get it. But I also think it's childish and naÔve. I have the same sympathies for Libertarians, which is an ideology I explored years ago. The problem with it for me was like any ideology, it only works in ideal and theoretical situations. Sure, I am all for limited federal government in theory, but I also want to ensure we have safe roads, steady interstate commerce, protection of civil rights across state lines, etc. etc.
But there's a bigger, practical problem with ideology in that it doesn't account for the realities of governing. In my ideal world we would have single-payer universal healthcare for all American citizens. It makes the most financial sense and also fits with my moral beliefs. But it's not politically viable today, so my options are to cling to a pipe dream or accept incremental steps that are imperfect but get us closer to the ideal. As a pragmatic idealist, I chose the latter.
It appears as though I'm not the only one who had to come to grips with the idealism of strict ideological adherence against the reality on the ground. This week Michigan Tea Partiers thwarted a proposed protest of the Detroit Auto Show by a National Tea Party group (dare I say a Federal Tea Party group???). The national group wanted to protest the federal bailout of automakers as an overreach of power and socialistic meddling in private business markets. Theoretically, the Michigan group agrees with that stance. But the bailouts also saved jobs in Michigan (which was the point) so they'd rather not harp on that particular Obama power grab.
"Why must some Americans boycott G.M. and throw INNOCENT people, such as myself, out on the street trying to find another job in this economy? Did I do something wrong," said Michigan tea partier and ex-GM employee Joan Fabiano. "Would you like to see yourself out of a job if your company's leadership made the errors and you had NOTHING to do with it?"
No, of course not, Joan, which is why I supported the bailouts in the first place. We faced a financial crisis that required massive action that only the Federal government was equipped to take. That's a reality Fabiano had to face. The problem with this sort of flexible ideological stance is that those realizations usually only happen when it affects your personal situation. That's childish and selfish and why I can only offer sympathy, not support, to these dopes.