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The Tea Party? Where’s the Peace Party?


Call it the Dove Party, the Isolationist Party, the Republic Not Empire Party, the Revitalize America Party what have you, but the Tea Partiers haven’t put together anything close to some of the anti-Iraq War efforts during the presidency of George W. Bush. The Tea Partiers would like to present themselves as the true heirs of the American revolution, but it was George Washington who warned against entangling alliances; and Thomas Jefferson who, in his inaugural address, called for, “peace, commerce, and honest friendship” with all the nations of the world.

The anti-Iraq War rally that George W. Bush infamously chalked up to a focus group was estimated, conservatively, to have had 300-400,000 people, and other estimates had the number at more than a half a million folks. The total of all rallies in the U.S. on February 15, 2003 was estimated at between 850,000 and 1,000,000 demonstrators. The largest single event that the Tea Party movement has been able to muster together, had less than 100,000, and the largest nationwide — when all rallies are aggregated collectively, was around 250,000 souls.

The Democrats use the anti-war movement as an opposition when the other party is in power, and to get elected, but once they take over the reins of political authority; they don’t take those voices seriously anymore. There seems to be a dearth of discernible opposition to Obama’s wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, and his saber rattling against Iran — which does not have a nuclear weapon; but even if there were a robust opposition to Obama’s imperial reach and unmitigated global pugilism, does anyone really think that Obama would become the peace president that many voted into office in 2008?

Everyone knows that Obama’s favorite pet, Israel, has nukes and they developed them without being a signatory to the NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) — as did Pakistan and India. Where were the U.S. threats, at the time, towards these countries? Even when North Korea went nuclear we saw nothing like the current treatment toward Iran. This is because the U.S. doesn’t believe in international standards, it has never followed them; and it reserves this same right for many of the countries that it supports.

So I’m wondering where the Peace Party that we saw under George W. Bush actually is today? Its numbers are far larger than the Tea Party, and surely I would hope that it does not accept the war mongering of an administration because it is a Democratic and ostensibly liberal one. Last I checked diverting far too many resources towards global warring and empire continuation, sacrifices a robust social agenda at home. We need to once again see that Peace Party that emerged under George W. Bush, that could see through the lies of weapons of mass destruction; and that knew this was just the same old tired practice — of a once American allied dictator turning against his estranged former colleagues.

The New York Times has reported that the Tea Party is really more or less a movement of the petit bourgeoisie, but Noam Chomsky thought differently when he told an interviewer that it was really a failure for the left to have not organized many of these folks. It seems highly unlikely to me that both of these parties/movements could merge and become as one together, however; with all the extreme paleoconservatives, nativists, flat earthers, and vile reactionaries within the ‘diverse’ ranks of the ‘variegated’ Tea Party.

Historian Benjamin Carp, who is currently at work on a study of the Boston Tea Party, says that the Tea Party “[has] a tradition of non-violence as well as violence, a bowdlerized past as well as possibilities for future transformation. It has been a political football for conservatives, liberals, and people who defy easy characterization—just like the Statue of Liberty, the American flag, and other historical icons.” The revered Mahatma Ghandi, however, cited the Boston Tea Party as an impetus to his non-violent resistance efforts against the colonial British regime; and interestingly enough, in the largest rally ever in the history of the United Kingdom — which was February 15, 2003 — some of the protesters, at that event, were spotted holding signs suggesting that the political leaders of the world should “Make Tea, Not War.”

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