I am not a Tea Party member. I agree with some of their positions, but not all. I am a citizen who forms individual political opinions.
On her Fox News program today, Megan Kelly showed part of an interview with former U.S. Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. In the interview, she showed a clip of a town hall meeting that he held before the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obama care). In the meeting, a number of voters strongly expressed their disapproval of the bill that ultimately was passed by the Senate Dec. 24, 2009, and by the House March 21, 2010.
Asked by Kelly if that was the turning point that marked the eventual end of his political career, Specter responded that no, it was when he voted for the stimulus bill. But he went on to discuss the town hall meeting, saying that “they (the voters expressing their disapproval of the Obama Care bill) were whipped into a frenzy by the Tea Party.”
It did not occur to Specter that those voters could have individual thoughts. He thinks voters are too stupid to have individual thoughts or opinions, and that they couldn’t possibly have individually formed negative opinions of the bill, so the Tea Party must have put them up to it.
Many of those at the town hall meeting were Tea Party members, but Specter apparently doesn’t understand causal relationships: They were Tea Party members because of their individually formed political opinions. It’s not as if the Tea Party seeks out citizens randomly, makes then join the party, then brainwashes them and sends them to town hall meetings to speak out.
Specter obviously holds disdain for those who speak out against his positions, and he conveniently blames the Tea Party. He and many current senators and representatives (Democrats and Republicans) seem intolerant of those who oppose their political positions.
I think that voters need to demand that politicians appear at town hall meetings and hear what we think. The first thing I would tell them is that we are the citizens, and they work for us, so they’ll just have to tolerate us. Congress is not our master; it is the body that represents us–all of us, Democrats and Republicans–in the federal government. If those in Congress can’t tolerate us, then we need to remove them from Congress.