Is the “tea party” movement really that impressive?

The company CBS hired to give an estimate placed the turnout at 87,000 for Glenn Beck’s rally this past Saturday, which is quite a bit less than the 1 million that Michelle Bachman claimed attended the rally. Either figure places the number of attendees at well less than a percent of the US population (300 million).

Amusingly enough, the number of people who showed up for Beck’s rally was also considerably smaller than the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, at which Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech and which Beck self-consciously styled his “restoring honor” event after in order to the irritate what may exist of a US left wing. The 1963 march drew around 200,000 people, according to contemporary estimates. The crowd for the 1963 rally was also considerably more diverse, had a leftist economic agenda and was organized by admitted socialists who palled around with a number of other lefty types. Additionally the 1963 crowd also was produced without the kind of financial support provided by Freedomworks and Americans for Prosperity, and at a time when long-distance communication tools were considerably more limited.

We can also question how many people were present this past Saturday as part of the counter demonstration against Beck’s rally.

What we have is an incredibly loud and vocal minority which is given far too much attention while other viewpoints are not represented. But even more frightening is that there is no real alternative to the “two US political parties” and the “Tea Party” is not an alternative, but a frightening trend in the movement toward the reactionary right in the USA. This rightward shift deems the policies of conservative politicians such as Richard Nixon as “liberal”. In fact, the term “liberal” is used as a derisionary term toward any policies which the reactionary right dislikes, yet does not fall into the category of being socialist.

The problem is that the solutions peddled by the reactionaries have been tried and found wanting. If these solutions had been used again, we would be in an even worse economic situation than we now find ourselves. Additionally, the use of religion in public should cause bells to go off in people’s minds (yet another aspect of US historical amnesia).

The US is supposed to be a SECULAR society which is why Article VI has this:

“no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.”

Or the First Amendment:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

So what if Barack Obama were a muslim? That makes no difference according to the Constitution. It wouldn’t matter if he were a santeria priest!

I shudder when anyone discusses any religion in regard to government as a violation of First Amendment rights. The fact that Beck wanted to take the US back to “Judaeo-Christian” values (which Islam also belongs to as well) should tell you that he is working to violate your rights and make you run in the opposite direction.

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