Though I don’t agree with either the message or methods of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, I’m glad they’ve taken the field in America’s culture war.
For quite some time the mainstream media have told us that the problem in Washington, D.C. is gridlock–that our politicians just need to listen to one another, and then come up with some bi-partisan solutions to the nation’s problems.
We are told ad nauseam that political gridlock is the problem–that both conservatives and liberals are to blame–and that the answer is to heed the call for civility made by Rodney King in 1992:
“You know, can we all get along?”
But now thanks to Occupy Wall Street, the truth is clear: The game to shape America’s future is on–the teams have taken the field–and only one team can win. It’s a cultural clash that will end in victory for one side and defeat for the other.
For which side will you fight?
I think it’s helpful to compare the 2011-2012 US culture war to the American game of football. Two teams take the field. They go at one another for sixty minutes–there is back and forth, ebb and flow of the contest–bruises aplenty and even some serious injuries. In the end, only one team is the victor. The groups don’t compromise–they don’t work out a plan to make everybody happy.
They fight it out on the field and the best team wins. Real wars work the same way.
With the 2012 election looming, America is engaged in a desperate and serious struggle for its future. I know of a Christian leader who has a book coming out this fall who believes that the next president of the United States will affect history for good or evil for the next one hundred years.
Whether he right or not, this I do know: For the next thirteen months, the game is on.
Here’s my view of the contest.
Team One – The Tea Party
One team in America desires to renew America’s exceptional roots. This team is best symbolized by the Tea Party movement which burst on the scene in 2009 in response to the election of Barack Obama and his desire to take the nation in the direction of socially-democratic Europe. Spontaneous gatherings erupted around the nation of ordinary Americans, many in their middle and latter years, who carried a clear message to their elected officials of the need for reduced spending, lower taxes, and limiting the size and scope of government.
The Tea Party movement, like its revolutionary namesake, lit a fire for traditional Christian values and the type of limited government it produces. The movement got heavily involved in grass roots politics and saw landslide victories in the 2010 elections. In 2012 they hope to win the presidency, gain a majority in the US Senate, and retain the House of Representatives. They also understand the need for small government leadership in our towns, cities, and statehouses.
Tea Party activists–and the people who resonate with them–desire an America that acknowledges God in our public life, supports traditional values including marriage, free market capitalism, and our God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Justice is seen as creating a level playing field for all people where some can become successful if they choose–and others can settle for less if they desire.
In this Judeo-Christian worldview, every person is responsible before God for their outcomes in life. Character determines destiny. Government’s job is to protect people’s rights and punish evil both inside and outside our borders.
The Tea Party Team is the “home” team. They are historic America. They are composed of conservatives and independents with at least a memory of biblical ideas and how they made America great. They want to see those ideals flourish in our land again.
Team Two – The Flea Party
This is symbolized by the Occupy Wall Street crowd. The movement was recently nick-named by conservative columnist Ann Coulter. I’ll let her explain the meaning of the Flea Party moniker:
“So far, the only major accomplishment of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters is that they have finally put an end to their previous initiative, ‘Occupy Our Mothers’ Basements.'”
“Oddly enough for such a respectable-looking group — a mixture of adolescents looking for a cause, public sector union members, drug dealers, criminals, teenage runaways, people who have been at every protest since the Berkeley Free Speech Movement… they can’t even explain what they’re protesting.”
“The protesters either treat inquiries about their purpose as a trick question, or — worse — instantly rattle off a series of insane causes: “No. 1, abolish capitalism; No. 2, because 9/11 was an inside job; No. 3, because Mumia is innocent …”
“Curiously, the only point universally agreed upon by the protesters and their admirers in the Democratic Party and the mainstream media is that “Occupy Wall Street” should be compared to the tea party. Yes, that would be the same tea party that has been denounced and slandered by the Democratic Party and the mainstream media for the last three years.”
“As a refresher: The Democratic National Committee called the tea partiers ‘angry mobs’ and ‘rabid right-wing extremists.’ ABC said they were a ‘mob.’ CNN accused them of ‘rabble rousing.’ Harry Reid called them ‘evil mongers.’ Nancy Pelosi said they were ‘un-American.'”
“But apparently liberals couldn’t even convince themselves that tea partiers were an extremist group unworthy of emulation. At least they’re embarrassed about what the OWS protesters really are: wingless, bloodsucking and parasitic. This is the flea party, not the tea party.”
Ann’s not far off. Just look at the current protests. They’re made up of primarily young people and older hippie-types who seem to enjoy slamming the system. They were joined–and many even paid to protest– by some labor organizations and communist/socialist groups backed by the progressive pockets of George Soros.
The Flea Party wants to destroy America as we know it. They are the “visiting” team who do not believe in our history. Though their message might be jaded by too much marijuana inhalation, they want bigger government, taking money from the rich and giving it to others, cradle-to grace entitlements, and I guess–a socialist utopia like, say, the Soviet Union! (Whoops–wrong example. That didn’t end well… How about Venezuela, Cuba, or North Korea?).
Interestingly, our current Democratic leaders are embracing the Flea Party. President Obama might have launched the movement himself with his incessant class warfare rhetoric over the past few months. It could be a re-election strategy: Take attention off the dismal moral and financial problems facing our nation–he can’t run on his record–and blame the greedy fat cats on Wall Street! (Whoops again–Wall Street gave historic amounts of money to Barack Obama in 2008…Oh well, people might not remember.)
The Flea Party is a cultural team devoted to secular values. They want God and his prudish morals out of America and demand a Bigger Uncle Same to play Robin Hood–to take from the rich and give to the poor. They’re willing to start a violent revolution if necessary (a la Europe?) to bring about transformative change. This team is mostly made up of liberal progressives and left-leaning independents. They want Big Government to level and control the playing field.
But Erick Erickson of redstate.com has a better solution:
“The point is not that we now need to punish those big businesses. The point is that we need to re-level the playing field and make it a fair competition between entrepreneur and corporation again. We need big business to stop living off the taxpayer dole. We need a new age of corporate welfare reform like the welfare reform of the 1990s.”
“The playing field has been tilted toward the big businesses because they are the only ones who had the capital to stay ahead of government regulations and new government burdens, and the influence to bend new laws in their direction. The playing field does not need to be tipped back in favor of others. Just level it. An upright tower build on a slope will topple the moment the slope is laid flat.”
Every football games has its refs, and our present titanic clash is no exception. At the present time, the majority of the referees are the liberal mainstream media who demean the Tea Party and sympathize with the Flea Party. They support Barack Obama and want to see America permanently changed. They’re similar to the referees of the 2006 Super Bowl between the Steelers and the Seahawks who said they were neutral but really favored Pittsburgh on a number of controversial calls.
Seattle coach Mike Holgren said at that time that he expected to play the Steelers–not the men in black and white stripes. I feel the same today. Media bias makes it very difficult for the Tea Party traditionalists to win.
However, the emergence of Fox News and conservative radio has placed a few other refs on the field that could influence the outcome.
But it’s still an uphill battle.
For the next thirteen months these two teams and their philosophical allies will be fighting it out on the gridiron of the American destiny. Only one team will win. The wild card of this contest is which side will God’s people join. Will they pray and get involved to bring the United States back to its godly roots? Or will the Church unwittingly support the dissolving of our godly heritage?
It’s time to think clearly. This is not about gridlock. The game is on. One team will win and the other will lose.
It’s that simple and that profound.
I hope we choose wisely. Our future hangs in the balance.