Those fun-loving, totally patriotic Tea Parties folks are all the rage these days.
Grab a tricornered hat and an historical flag, and—presto!—you too can assume the role of revolutionary patriot fighting for freedom and basic American values, just like the real Founding Fathers (and Mothers).
Or maybe not.
As USA Today columnist Dewayne Wickham wrote this week in the Tulsa World, the Tea Party has it exactly back-asswards. They say they want Constitutional values, but they actually "espouse views that threaten to turn this nation and its founding documents upside down."
Rand Paul, Kentucky's Tea Party Senate candidate, has said that Congress went too far when it outlawed racial discrimination in private businesses, a position that would effectively reinstitute racial segregation in the South. Oops!
Paul has now backtracked on that position, Wickham notes.
Or how about Sharron Angle, who has talked about "Second Amendment remedies" to the nation's problems? Hmmm. Advocating violence against the government doesn't seem all that Constitutional, does it?
Wickham writes, "It's the kind of warped sense of entitlement that plunged this nation into a bloody civil war."
In short, Wickham continues, the Tea Parties blowhards are akin to the Know Nothing Party of the 1850s, a party that "ultimately collapsed from the weight of its own intolerance and blurred political vision."
Anger and resentment are not the building blocks for a coherent political philosophy. Let's hope the Tea Party folks—some of whom share the intolerance and blindness of the past—meet the same fate at the Know Nothings.