Wesley G. Hughes, Staff Writer
Posted: 04/18/2010 07:45:46 PM PDT
It was one of those “aha!” moments.
Isn’t it amazing what you can learn just by reading a newspaper?
The New York Times/CBS News conducted a poll to shed a little light on the Tea Party movement. The results were printed Thursday.
Tea Party members try to present this image of Americana: patriots, scratching out their livelihood with bare hands, true to their heritage and the meaning of what happened at Boston Harbor all those decades ago.
But scratch the surface, remove the costume and the picture changes. If patriotism equals greed and self-interest, they’ve got it in spades. It’s disappointing but not surprising.
The picture of the typical Tea Party activist that emerges from the poll:
He’s male, overwhelmingly white, and mostly 45 or older. He does pretty well financially, is extremely conservative and well-educated.
The Times story reports that the members are convinced “that the policies of the Obama administration are disproportionately directed at helping the poor rather than the middle class or the rich.” Well duh! Who should we help, the drowning man or the guy who wants a bigger yacht?
The story goes on: “The overwhelming majority of (Tea Party) supporters say Mr. Obama does not share the values most Americans live by and that he does not understand the problems of people like themselves.”
This truly saddens me. It shouts racism to the rooftops even as they try to hide it behind code words.
Maybe I should feel sorry for them. They are frightened. They think they see their world turning upside down. The white world has been on top so long and now all of sudden we have a black president. How did that happen? What does it mean? And the white majority? How much longer is that going to last? Scary isn’t it? It is to the Tea Party movement.
It doesn’t matter to them that he’s smarter, more well spoken and an acknowledged expert on the Constitution than they are. And that he’s trying to do the right thing.
The group fought and is still fighting health care reform. They are happy with what they’ve got, so why should they care whether anyone else has health care.
Obama got health care through Congress despite heavy opposition. And that’s a good thing, despite what the Tea Party folks say. I’ll admit that it’s not a perfect instrument yet. But it can be fine-tuned and improved over time. Medicare and Social Security weren’t perfect at the start, and they still aren’t, but they have been kept viable with a tinker here, a bolt-tightening there.
And it’s been shown that even the Tea Party generation likes and wants to keep those two pieces of social engineering intact.
Smile Train needs help
It’s time once again for me to remind you about Smile Train, the wonderful charity that goes around the world fixing cleft lips and palates so that afflicted children can smile for the first time and then smile again and again.
The folks at Smile Train have reminded me that the Great Recession has hurt charities as much as it has hurt you and me, and donations are way down, but the number of kids needing cleft surgery doesn’t go down.
As reminders, I have photos of these sad-eyed children taped to the edges of my computer screens both at work and at home. They silently speak their need. Beautiful children with broken faces.
Smile Train is my charity of choice, but others are feeling the same recession pain. If you have your own favorite charity, now is a good time to dig down and help. Any amount will be welcomed. And if you don’t have a favorite, I’ll share Smile Train with you. Think of the wonder of bringing that first smile to the face of a child.
Remembering Capt. Leland Norton
It was a pleasure a week or so ago to visit Stater Bros. corporate headquarters and see the minimuseum honoring a hometown, homegrown, real honest-to-God hero Capt. Leland F. Norton, who at 23 gave his life so that his crewmen could live. “Greater love hath no man than he give up his life for his friend.”
I agree with Jack Brown, Stater Bros. chairman and CEO, that the name Norton should have been preserved when the former Norton Air Base was turned over to the city for civilian use.
Brown has done his part to preserve the Norton name and history through creation of the lobby display and by naming part of his sprawling operation an the former base, the Norton Distribution Center.
I remember a few years ago interviewing Mrs. Vernice Moran, Capt. Norton’s sister. She still lived in San Bernardino and was proud of her brother and her city. She was a wonderful lady with a sense of history and a sense of humor. Already in her 80s, she complained about the many potholes on the city streets that kept her from shopping downtown. Maybe a few filled potholes would have meant fewer empty stores.
I was saddened to learn than Mrs. Moran died in 2005. I feel guilty. I should have known. I should have written an obituary. And I should have attended the final service. I wonder if others missed it, too? That happens when you forget your history.
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