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How Can You Have a Tea Party If You Won't Share the Pie?

"You know what's really dragging our country down? The Tea Party's selfish, misanthropic mindset."

I'm sorry, but I just can't sit idly by and let the Tea Party stain the reputation of a beverage beloved by cultures the world over for centuries. How did a delightful afternoon ritual steeped in civility and gentility become a synonym for angry mobs of Fox populi with holsters on their hips and foam on their lips? Give me clotted scones, not sotted clones.

Don't get me wrong; I feel the Tea Party's pain. Hey, I'm angry, too. There's a lot to be angry about. As New York Times columnist Bob Herbert noted recently, "People are upset because they are mired in economic distress and are losing faith that their elected representatives are looking out for their best interests."

So it's no wonder that populist rage is all the rage; pundits and politicians have brought the Tea Party to a boil. Sadly, much of their anger is a toxic brew of bigotry, ignorance, and fear. And many tea partiers suffer from what Barbara Ehreinreich has aptly dubbed "an empathy deficit," a belief in the notion that if you're poor, or sick, or otherwise challenged, you must have brought your misfortunes upon yourself and are therefore to be despised and mocked.

The Tea Party ridicules the notion that government could be--or should be--a force for good. It also maintains that the media (with the exception of Fox News, of course) cannot be trusted.

How ironic, then, when one of Glenn Beck's sponsors turned out to be a con artist who'd been fined $400,000 by the FTC back in 2005 for making false and unsubstantiated claims for the "Himalayan Diet Breakthrough," a dietary supplement containing Nepalese Mineral Pitch, “a paste-like material” that “oozes out of the cliff face cracks in the summer season” in the Himalayas.

This miraculous product supposedly enabled you to achieve rapid and substantial weight loss without dieting or exercise, while still consuming unlimited amounts of food. I asked:

Who could possibly buy the notion that you could sit on your ass all day eating crap and still lose weight by ingesting some mysterious substance harvested in the Himalayas?

Maybe the same folks who think that slashing taxes and shredding regulations is a dandy way to shore up our crumbling bridges and highways, boost our children's flagging academic performance, clean up our environment, guarantee affordable health care, protect consumers from makers of defective products (like, say, cars that accelerate unexpectedly, or a diabetes drug that's known to cause heart attacks); and prevent financial institutions from ripping people off through fraudulent, predatory practices.

An indignant tea bagger named 'Richard' responded:

Look at the list of things you expect from your government. Wouldn’t you feel better if you would take it upon yourself to make sure that you 1-quit worrying about the 1 in 3 million chance that you will have a bridge collapse beneath you; 2-realize that parents are mostly responsible for our flagging academic performance and throwing more money at it wont fix it; 3-where is all of this nasty environment you guys are always complaining about…it is beautiful where I live; 4-find a way to pay for your own healthcare so I don’t have to..if it is that important to you, drop your cell phone or your cable TV to afford it and try shopping around…do it yourself; 5 – I can’t go on, I have to get back to work since we are rapidly approaching a situation in America where there are more people riding in the cart than those of us pushing it. Good luck man, with your attitude, you will need it.

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