As someone who has taken part in the local Tea Parties, I would like to respond to Kevin Osborne’s criticisms of the “angry white conservatives” who take part in these events (“Smearing Socialism,” issue of May 6). I might be the wrong man to do so, however, since I’m a Libertarian.
Much of Osborne’s critiques of the Tea Parties is warranted. There are many conservative hypocrites at the rallies. There are many there who defended or stood idle as President Bush ran up obscene levels of debt.
Just as Osborne questions others’ sincerity, so do I. I’m well aware that many of the people at these rallies voted for McCain even though he voted for the bail-out. Which means either: a) They’re too stupid to realize they’re protesting themselves, b) they’ve had an honest conversion in the last few months (more fall into this category than you might think) or c) they’re being political opportunists and trying to blame everything on the current administration.
I never wanted the Tea Parties to be Obama-bashing platforms. I applaud the changes he’s made in administering the TARP, which was started under the previous administration. Putting stipulations on the money such as executive pay limits and tracking how the money is used will protect taxpayers and are far better than how the Bush administration was going about it.
I still think, however, that it’s a bad idea to give money to billionaire bankers who make money off of putting people into debt servitude. And why is borrowing more money for economic stimulus the answer when it was loaning too much money that caused the economic crises to begin with?
It was my hope that this Tea Party movement would unite the far left and the far right. Just as Libertarians (labeled as rightwingers) and paleo conservativesjoined with progressives and socialists in protests against the war in Iraq, we can unite on this issue as well. This is an issue where Ron Paul and Bernie Sanders find much agreement. The broad neo-conservative and neo-liberal center (like McCain and Obama) are in the pockets of the big banks.
Issues like auditing the Federal Reserve, increasing its oversight and accountability and lessening its power can unite all of us. If Libertarians are against central planning from governments, you better believe we stand against central planning from a cartel of banks.
To this end I and many other Libertarians took part in a rally May 16 that addressed the banking system and the Federal Reserve. I asked the Tea Party leadership to address these issues at their rallies, but they said they were afraid that people wouldn’t understand them and be bored. My perception was that they either didn’t have the guts to say these things or that they didn’t want to offend their banker buddies.
When I complained to them that they had only Republicans on the stage at the first Cincinnati Tea Party, they offered us a speaking slot at the next event on April 15 — which they then rescinded, saying they didn’t have time for it and were looking for people to speak who didn’t have strong political connections.
Having said all that, I still support the goals behind the Tea Party movement and will continue to participate even if I disagree with the approach that’s often been taken. We shouldn’t bail out billionaire bankers, and we shouldn’t borrow more than we can pay back in one generation.
I’ll continue to both appeal to the organizers and take part in the rallies. If you come to one, you’ll see plenty of people who aren’t “angry white conservatives.” — Brian Doran, Hamilton County Libertarians