Friday, January 8, 2010

Being David Brooks VI

A frequent commenter here who goes by the name of Zorro pointed me to an article, "The Tea Party Teens", written by David Brooks in the New York Times that outlines the possibility of this movement becoming center stage. The tea party movement has only just begun that article posits. It's an interesting perspective and I suppose Brooks has a point, especially considering how this country started with a ban of dissenters opposing a then powerful empire.

Brooks points out the movements of the 60's and 70's that changed the landscape of America. The main difference here as I see it is that the civil rights movement and the feminist movement had to do with human rights. The frightening thing about the tea party movement with Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann as spokespersons is the hate, divisiveness, and violent aggression that is exhibited at their rallies, not to mention the racist background and rhetoric of the tea party founders, If this movement can transform America it will indicate that we have not really evolved and the history of oppression can readily re-emerge.

Fear, real or imagined, has a way of bringing up deeply seated biases and prejudices. If this movement indeed has the potential of becoming center stage, I understand even greater now the message of Jews: "never again." I see the tea party as an ominous movement, not because of its passion but because of its racist divisive message coached in constitutional rights such as the right to bear arms and speak freely. I also find it correlative that such a movement emerged with the election of the first African American president. Vigilant we must be!

Another thing that is important to mention is that Brooks is an intellectual and conservative. While I appreciate much of what he writes, the fact that he uses Rasmussen in his article as proof of his ideas for a central point which includes the all-important independent voters, did not sit well with me. Rasmussen, the hired pollster for the Bush administration, is known to be bias. Its polls are ALWAYS favorable to the issues on the right even when all others are left by large margins. This seems to indicate prodding via questioning to evoke a desired response.

The problem also with intellectual types is that they take themselves too seriously and hence tend to find reasons to support their opinions as opposed to doing the exact opposite, finding reasons to negate them. With the latter reality is more readily revealed. I am not particularly disparaging Brooks, rather making a general statement. I do, however, find his last statement a bit ironic considering all that came beforehand. Perhaps, he is indicating that he has actually taken the opposite view to arrive at his reasoning. This is understood. But I do wonder about Brooks' motive.

11 comments:

Haddock said...

Life is not to be taken seriously.
(after all we have only one life)

Judith Ellis said...

Haddock - I wish I understood the meaning of your lines in reference to the post. Do explain please.

septembermom said...

I'm struck by Brooks' use of the word "passion" with regard to those involved in this tea party movement. Brooks even clearly states that they are all about focusing on the negative. How can that kind of divisive, finger pointing negativity help the country in any way? Democracy encourages free speech and dissent, but it also inherently calls for cooperation and respect. I fear that this movement would only get its "passion" from judgment and fear. There is no place for that kind of energy in our democracy.

Judith Ellis said...

Great juxtaposition, Kelly, of civil liberties with "cooperation and respect." Beautiful! Thank you, my dear friend.

JOHN O'LEARY said...

Judith, I've been away too long. Mea culpa.

I share your ambivalence about Brooks who is sometimes a voice of reason on the Right. The problem with the tea party crowd is that it's almost exclusively white, which doesn't sit well with today's more idealistic teens who are quite comfortable with diversity.

Judith Ellis said...

Yes, John, it is exclusively white: no Chinese, African Americans, East Indians, Latinos, etc. But it also appears to be exclusively without reason and education. This is another BIG problem. Outside of the less notable "leaders" of the movement, just consider Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann as paid speakers at their "convention." This is so very sad. And, yes, it is quite obvious I agree with you on Brooks. We talked of him before here.

Good to see you, John. I'll pop over to your blog in the hope that you have posted something. You post by far too few posts for my desire. :-)

Yisrael Pinson said...

Hey Judith,
A little of topic, but I just wanted to comment on the purple magnet "the Friendship Circle".
Friendship Circle is a non-profit based in West Bloomfield, Michigam that serves families with children with special needs, of all religions, races and creed.
To learn more about us visit http://www.friendshipcircle.org
Great Blog!

Judith Ellis said...

Hi Yisrael,

Ah, thanks! I'll edit the post. You know, I've been meaning to check it out. But it's funny that I've only seen the signs in Huntington Woods and West Bloomfield. Don't know if you're from the metro Detroit area, but both are densely populated Jewish communities. I do not see the purple magnet in any other communities. I have an autistic niece who lives in Grand Rapids and will tell my sister of this organization. I haven't checked out the blog yet but I will check it out and send her the link. What is the ratio of other religious or ethnic groups in the Friendship Circle, not that this matters terribly to me or my sister. Our great grandfather, by the way, was Jewish. We are Christians. Do pass through again.

Rabbi Yisrael Pinson said...

I actually live in West Bloomfield and work for FC...
We serve 155 schools from the South East MI, mostly non Jewish children.
We also have programs for families directly, not thru the school system. I would say that in that category it's about 50/50
If you come by i will be happy to give you the VIP tour...

Judith Ellis said...

Rabbi Pinson - Thanks for the information. I will most certainly give you a call and would love to have a tour. Blessings!

Judith Ellis said...

Almost six years later, I posted this post on my Facebook page the other day. I also realized that there is an error in my comments. My great grandmother, not great grandfather, was Jewish. And, these many years later, I have yet to take that VIP tour. Note to self: Call Rabbi Yisrael Pinson.