The Tea Party movement has been one of the most exhilarating things to happen to American politics in decades. Millions of Americans who have become increasingly frustrated with government and who feel that they are not being represented have banded together to take collective action in what is truly one of the greatest grass roots movements in U.S. political history. Some have even suggested that the Tea Party movement should become a new political party. Every single day now, the Tea Party movement makes headlines all over the globe and it has had some tremendous success in getting some candidates elected recently. But are there problems on the horizon? The truth is that there are only a few things that almost everyone in the Tea Party movement agrees on. But there are a whole bunch of issues that are creating major ideological divisions among Tea Party activists. In fact, most of the issues listed below will create huge arguments at any Tea Party gathering. The reality is that the Tea Party movement has attracted a very diverse group of people, and there are only a few points that they all agree on. So can such a fractured movement survive in the long-term?
Before we get to the ideological divisions in the Tea Party movement, let’s take a look at the few points that almost all Tea Party activists do agree upon….
1) The don’t like high taxes.
2) They don’t like exploding government spending and exploding government debt.
3) They don’t like Barack Obama.
4) They are very angry at the government.
Beyond those four things, there is not that much that the Tea Party movement as a whole really agrees upon.
And that is unfortunate, because it would take a very united, very cohesive organization to truly turn the direction of the U.S. government around.
So what are some of the ideological divisions in the Tea Party movement? Well, listed below are 10 issues that threaten to divide the Tea Party movement and doom it to failure….
1) Iran – Tea Party activists are deeply divided over Iran. Many in the “Republican wing” of the Tea Party would advocate an immediate military strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. They would argue that we simply cannot allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. On the other end, many in the “Libertarian wing” of the Tea Party are completely and totally opposed to ever striking Iran. They feel that Iran is not a serious threat and that we should not be using our military might to impose our will around the globe. As Iran continues to become a larger issue in the months ahead, this division in the Tea Party movement will only grow stronger.
2) Afghanistan and Iraq – On a similar note, there are very strong opinions on both sides when it comes to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many in the “Republican wing” feel that we have to fight the terrorists “over there” so that they will not strike us at home. Many in the “Libertarian wing” feel like we should not try to police the world and that we cannot afford all of these endless wars.
3) Abortion – This is a major, major point of division in the Tea Party movement. Up until now, the Tea Party leadership (to the extent that the Tea Party does have leadership) has remained very, very quiet on social issues. The Tea Party movement has always focused primarily on economic issues, but the truth is that it has attracted a lot of members who care very, very deeply about social issues such as abortion. Probably a majority of Tea Party activists are against abortion, but there is a very sizable minority that either is pro-abortion or who don’t want the movement to take a stand on social issues. In the end, however, the Tea Party is going to have to take a side on this very important issue.
4) Gay Marriage – This is another social issue that is highly divisive. Many Tea Party activists are very much against gay marriage, but many others support the gay agenda and feel that we should let people have the freedom to do whatever they want. In fact, some of the most prominent Tea Party “heroes” have actually endorsed candidates that have ties to the “Log Cabin Republicans”. For now, many Tea Party groups have decided to stay mute on the issue of gay marriage, but that cannot last forever.
5) National Security And Civil Liberties – There is a huge, huge ideological divide on these issues in the Tea Party movement. Many of those who were fans of the Bush administration believe that we should do whatever we can to keep ourselves “safe” from terrorism. On the other end, many of the more freedom-minded members of the Tea Party movement feel that our liberties and freedoms are being rapidly destroyed and that the United States is very quickly becoming a Big Brother police state.
6) Support For Israel– This is a very, very touchy issue. There are many in the Tea Party movement that have an unflinching allegiance to the nation of Israel. They would point out that Israel has always been a great friend to the United States and that we share a great deal in common with them. On the other end, there is a growing anti-Israel movement in the United States, and some of these groups have unfortunately been attracted to the Tea Party movement.
7) Drugs – Many on the “Libertarian wing” of the Tea Party movement openly advocate the immediate legalization of drugs. They argue that the criminalization of marijuana and cocaine is similar to what the United States went through with prohibition during the 1930s. On the other end, many on the “Republican wing” of the Tea Party movement would want nothing to do with the legalization of drugs. They argue that drugs have already decimated our cities enough, and that if we legalize them it will unleash an absolute nightmare upon our communities.
8 ) Trade – Globalism and free trade are highly divisive issues among Tea Party activists. The Wall Street crowd would argue that globalism and free trade have brought us increased prosperity and have lifted the entire world economy. Many others in the Tea Party movement would counter by saying that millions upon millions of jobs have been shipped to the other side of the world and lost permanently and that now we do not have nearly enough jobs for everyone in America.
9) Separation Of Church And State – This issue will set off a firestorm at just about any Tea Party gathering. The words “separation of church and state” are not anywhere in the U.S. Constitution, but many people quote them as if they are. Many people feel that “religion” should be completely pushed out of every corner of public life. But many others believe that this country was founded on Christian principles, and that when we seek to banish these principles we are turning our back on the foundation that this nation was built upon. In particular, the debate over whether intelligent design should be taught alongside the theory of evolution in public schools is something that almost always draws out explosive emotions – especially among Tea Party activists.
10) The Federal Reserve – To many in the Tea Party movement, this is the most important issue. Many Tea Party activists believe that the Federal Reserve is the heart of America’s economic problems and that is must be shut down. However, many others in the Tea Party movement (particularly those sympathetic to Wall Street) believe that it would be crazy to shut down the Federal Reserve and that it could collapse our entire economic system.
So as you can see, there are some very important issues that divide Tea Party activists. Almost all of them can agree that they don’t like high taxes, that they don’t like reckless government spending and that they don’t like Barack Obama. Beyond that, it is really going to be hard to get Tea Party activists to agree on much of anything.
And that is truly unfortunate. The U.S. political system desperately needs to be reformed. The U.S. government desperately needs to change course. The nation that so many of us love is slowly dying, and many have hoped that it will be the Tea Party movement that restores things to how they should be.
But can such a deeply divided movement actually truly succeed?
Well, perhaps they will be able to vote out Barack Obama in 2012, but will the person replacing him be much better?
Actually, just about anyone would be significantly better than Obama, but the point is that both parties have been slowly killing America for decades and there just does not seem to be much hope that things can be turned around.
Do you agree? Do you disagree? Feel free to tell us your thoughts in the comments section below….