The Desperation to Create The Desperate

Lëtzebuergesch: *Sujet:Boston Tea Party Source...

Photo credit: Wikipedia)


I am blessed to have some really smart friends. Through the growth of the so-called Tea Party (ironically fighting for tax breaks for corporations while invoking the memory of people fighting tax breaks for corporations) I have wondered why so many of their supporters vote against their economic interests. I am not talking about the members of the Tea Party: upper middle class or wealthier men and women who view themselves as a new aristocracy. Rather, I am referring to the legions of voters who back their agenda, despite the fact that this agenda is spelling doom for them.

I have mentioned in the past how part of this phenomena is created by hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars being poured into propaganda, and that is certainly true. It is definitely more charitable, and likely more accurate, than the notion that these people are all idiots. There is too much information out there, and most of America is at least functionally illiterate if not fully literate, so I doubt people are just that stupid. In all this, though, I have ignored another possible, perhaps even likely, and much less flattering motive.

Many of these people voting against their interest are straight white, cis males. Much has already been written, here and elsewhere, about the obvious racism and heterosexism in the movement. These people have been less than subtle in their unhappiness over having a man of color in the Oval Office and likewise unsubtle in his support of LGBT rights. Beyond that though, and here is where my smart friends chime in, is the sexism behind it all.

Because desperate women, women bereft of support, women who are under or unemployed make easy targets. They are willing to put up with more from abusive spouses. They are willing to give up rights for a little security. They are too busy worrying about keeping a roof over their, and their kids’, heads, than fighting for their larger economic and health rights. Desperate women, created by the destruction of our social safety net are willing to tolerate cruel men, at least more willing than they might otherwise be.

This no doubt pleases the knuckle dragging neanderthals among the Tea Partiers. Their masculinity brought into question by their “low” economic status coupled with challenges from women who, surprise of surprises, want to be treated like human beings has left them angry and desperate to assert that masculinity. The dire straights so many single mothers and recent college grads saddled with debt creates leaves these thugs with easy pickings.

As with every other theory put forth about the enigmatic choices by this group I am sure this does not stand alone. It is a mix of problems with our society, but this gives us just one more reason to, as the kids say, “smash the patriarchy” (the kids say that, right?)  It holds us all, men and women, back, and makes us all easy pickings for a power elite that love to see us make victims of each other rather than hold them accountable for their selfish behavior. We are all of us smarter than that, and can break free of the chains of gender policing that has long been one of their best weapons against us. That, or we can just sit back grabbing at those crumbs of male privilege they brush off to the dirty floor. It’s your choice, whether you are an entitled Tea Bagger, or someone too “polite” to call them out. I know what choice I am going to make.




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