In his article “My Country, Tis of Me”¯ posted in Atlantic magazine, Michael Kinsley expresses his opinion about the Tea Party Patriots sharply criticizing their activity (Kinsley).
The newly formed right movement called the Tea Party Patriots (TPP) made the representatives of both Democrats and Republicans anxious. The first ones are afraid to be left in the minority in the Congress because the movement might involve many Republicans (Amos 23-24). The latter at the same time fear the TPP will draw back moderates and make the party inconsistent. The only satisfied side in this situation is the media, which now have got a new topic for writing regardless of how good or bad this new phenomenon is as long as it evokes interest of the publicity.
Kinsley presents the results of a Harris poll that show that the TPP is supported by a third of the population and opposed by the quarter, however few of them understand clearly what the TPP really is.
The author denies the similarity of the TPP movement with the 1960s student protest, supporting his opinion with three major arguments. The first one is that the representatives of the TPP are not students at all but middle-aged and old people, who do not act their age and look childish at times.
The second argument is that, unlike the students in the 1960s who were fighting for one common goal ”“ termination of war in Vietnam, the Tea Party Patriots have no common purpose, and are united rather by some abstract indignation, general tension and irritation.
The last difference, according to Kinsley, is that the essence of 1960s movement was unselfish and idealistic: ending the war, fighting racism; eliminating poverty, while the TPP’s aims are mainly self-oriented: cut one’s taxes; prevent the government from interfering into one’s Medicare, etc.(Amos, 67-73) Thus, Tea Party Patriots lack romantics and poetry in their intentions.
The author considers that the Tea Party movement cannot be the resolution of the American society’s weak points, but an example of those weak points. According to Kinsley, this is not due to Party’s belonging to the right-wing movement, due to its inclination to mixed concepts, or due to racism, but is explained by the self-centered grounds of the movement as such, which include the idea that all the existing challenges or problems are not the fault of the society, but the government.
Kinsley stresses that nowadays, conservatives seriously surpass liberals in liberating the citizens from their personal responsibilities. However, the Tea Party Patriots still consider that the government is a dangerous uncontrollable monster, not influenced by the citizens and guilty in most cases. For Kinsley, the function of the government consisting in providing well-being for old people is fulfilled; that is why the majority of old people is able to take part in similar movements (though these facts are ignored by the Tea Party Patriots).
Eventually, Kinsley comes to a conclusion that if the TPP ever make up a consistent program, they will lose half their followers. One of the most annoying things about them is the exploitation of the word patriot, meaning that those who disagree with them are less patriotic than they are. Due to such movements, the rage against the government has become part of our national idea, and supporting it now seems absolutely unpatriotic.