Tea Party: “Liberté, égalité, fraternité”

Posted on January 27, 2011

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Author: Stan Moody:

Madame Defarge is a pivotal passive/aggressive character in Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities. She emerges quietly sitting and knitting in a wine shop, every stitch symbolizing the names of her intended victims, justifying on political grounds that which is highly personal. She simply cannot abide anyone with a touch of bourgeoisie, no matter how noble or well-intentioned.

In the end, Madame Defarge meets a violent death, leaving redemption to the alcoholic attorney, Sidney Carton, who casts aside his own life in Christ-like fashion to the presumed benefit of his eternal soul and the heart of revolution. His final words: “It is a far, far better thing that I do than I have ever done. It is a far, far better place that I go to than I have ever known.”

The bourgeoisie in our time being a ruling elite of wealthy, well-connected and erudite sons and now daughters of the American Dream, the lower and middle classes are taking the hit in ensconcing these paragons in their delusions of grandeur. “Let them eat cake,” comes the cry from ruling right. From the ruling left comes the insistence on government providing the cake.

Tea Party favorites, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, having chased the Dream through a frustrating gauntlet of respectability, have joined Madame Defarge’s personal vendetta against the ruling class. As was true with those who were lulled into complacency by Defarge’s knitting, attempts to connect the dots between Tea Party actions and noble purpose reflect a failure to understand the depravity of the human psyche.

Political change is merely causal in our narcissistic culture – a vehicle for becoming somebody, the root of evil in any society. Palin and Bachmann vault out of the liberty earned through the women’s movement (equality), only to take on the worst of male chauvinism. They think themselves neither right nor wrong but as righteously indignant over the triumph of experience over words (fraternity).

To put it bluntly, the Tea Party is a populist revolt against education, experience and credentials – traditional paths to power and historically the purview of white males. If you are an established Republican, you are branded a RINO – Republican in Name Only; if a ruling Democrat, you are an enemy of the American people.

Lump them all together – Palin, Bachmann, O’Donnell and Angle – and you have an emerging cacophony of strident voices without accountability, or from the Book of Job, “Utterance without knowledge”. Will it require a male sacrifice to the greater good to put things back into perspective, or will the proletariat ultimately prevail?

If the proletariat prevails, the question on everyone’s mind is, “In what form will our democratic republic emerge?” Will it be an authoritarian culture masquerading as a God-ordained theocracy?
As with the reigning powers of 18th Century England and France and 20th Century Russia, Germany and China, the ruling elite of America has indeed become too enthralled with itself to pay more than lip service to the power of the people. The danger, of course, is that the people will rise up in support of anyone who gives voice to their marginalization, real or imagined.

A Tale of Two Cities ends on a happy note. Boy escapes certain death; boy gets girl. Meanwhile, baskets full of heads remain unaccounted.

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Posted in: Politics