There is a group of politicians in Washington that has adopted and adhered to a set of priorities and policies that I believe have been damaging to our country and our social conscience. They do not represent the philosophy of a single political party even though they primarily reside within the Republican Party. This group is commonly known as the Tea Party, and one example of their tenuous attachment to the Republican Party is the loss of Republican establishment leader Eric Cantor in his recent primary election.
Consider the following positions this group has espoused, and in many cases has followed, to the point of being able to obstruct the functioning of government:
- No to any movement on immigration. Their distorted notion of amnesty has thrust them into a position of preferring to leave 12 million undocumented individuals in limbo. They refuse to allow the issue to be resolved even though the votes are there to pass comprehensive immigration reform.
- No to the bank bailout even though responsible Republicans and Democrats understood the chaos that would have ensued had we not taken the steps we took in 2008 under the Bush administration to prevent the collapse of the entire financial system.
- No to extending unemployment benefits that could have enabled many of those caught in the recession to seek other jobs, feed their families, and pay their rent.
- No to an increase in the minimum wage.
- Yes to a government shutdown. Their position seemed to be that we were better off without any government. It doesn’t matter if we don’t pay our debts.
- No to sensible gun legislation.
- No to raising the debt ceiling. Again, it doesn’t matter whether this government pays debts that it has already incurred. It doesn’t matter whether the elderly receive their Social Security checks.
- No to infrastructure projects. These projects would have provided jobs and would have improved our rapidly deteriorating infrastructure of bridges, roads, etc. Not even safety considerations seem to matter to this group.
- No to any government stimulus. The initial stimulus had much to do with preventing our country from experiencing the depths of the recession as it was experienced in Europe. It was instrumental in keeping thousands of policemen, firemen, and teachers on the jobs in states where they would have wound up without jobs.
- No to nutritious school lunches for young people. It just costs too much money to ensure that our children have access to nutritious lunches.
- No to any efforts to address climate change. This group refuses to admit that climate change exists or that anything can be done about it.
- No to the young, poor, or minorities being allowed to vote. This group has pushed for voter ID laws designed to reduce the number of poor and minorities voting. This group cannot win if all the people vote. How democratic a position is that?
- No to health care. They have good health care, so they really don’t care what happens to the millions of Americans who don’t have health care.
- No to Medicaid expansion even though 100% of the money needed for this expansion of care to the poor is already available.
Do we really want this group of individuals making decisions about our future? As Christians or as American citizens is this the kind of government service we want from those who represent us in the Congress? Isn’t it time to refuse to support any candidate for reelection who continues to rigidly adhere to such problematic positions, and refuses to consider any kind of compromise?
The mere fact that members of this group do not believe in the value of government would in itself seem to disqualify them from serving in the government.