Thursday, 4 March 2010

Tea Party (3) The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution,

The United States of America is going through another of its periods of national navel gazing. (This is a generalization, I know!) We are indeed a very young nation, in our early youth compared with ancient nations such as Egypt, China or Persia (Iran), and as such, filled with the insecurity and self-doubt of adolescence.

At this time we are an angry people.

For some that anger is rooted in an understanding that all the old landmarks have disappeared. Gay-rights, women’s rights, the rights of ethnic minorities, the recognition that we are a multi-faith nation etc, etc, have begotten an America which is vastly changed from the one of their memory.


The election of a black President (unthinkable just a few years ago) has signaled that “the times they are a-changin’”.

For others, there is an anger based on a sense that the governmental response to 9/11 has led to a fearsome reduction of our civil liberties. Or that government is no longer responsive to the average Joe or Jane, but that it is beholden to big business, bigger banks, and biggest wallets.

I understand the anger, and I share some of it. (Guess which, will you?!)

I rejoice in some of the changes which could well lead us to a “more perfect union”. (Guess which, will you?!)

It is my understanding that the “Tea Party” movements (and they are movements, not a movement), have arisen from the seed-bed of much of the current American anger.

But it is also my conviction, very strongly held, that the remedies which those movements propose are inadequate.

For they are rooted in an immature “us and them” view of life.

Tea-party folks see the problems as the fault of “them”. In my opinion that can all too easily lead to the scapegoating of “them” (whoever the “them” are).

I, as a believer in government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, see these problems as the responsibility of “us”.

I am reminded that the second paragraph of the American Declaration of Independence begins with the pronoun “We”.

Note also that the preamble of our Constitution begins with these words: “We the People of the United States”






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