A media-made Pavlovian response
Over lunch recently in a local restaurant, I overheard a patron say, “The Tea Party is too far right.” The man who made the comment is an older gentlemen in his early 90s, someone I’ve known through the restaurant for a long time. He may be older, but he still has his wits about him. He is a retired lawyer and a Republican, so my interest was piqued when I heard him make the comment.
As I got up to leave, I stopped by his booth to say hello to both him and the person with whom he was having lunch. In the course of the conversation I said that I had heard his comment about the Tea Party. As I have met many people from the Tea Party, I asked him why he thought the group was “too far right.”
He hemmed and hawed, and tried to dance around the subject, but he couldn’t give me a straight answer. He started to say the Tea Partyers were against contraception (a reference to recent events at the Supreme Court) and that they were against all government regulation. I countered that this was simply not true and asked him how he came to these conclusions. Frankly, he wasn’t sure. I asked, “Is it possible that you are the victim of the spin from the mainstream media?” He stopped, thought about it and conceded this may very well be true.
It seems rather obvious that the Tea Party has been vilified by the press and the Obama administration. It has become the icon for evil, which produces a Pavlovian effect in people. The Tea Party members I have met believe in smaller government that is less intrusive in the lives of the people. They are capitalists who believe in personal responsibility and accountability, they consider themselves patriotic, and they possess a firm belief in the U.S. Constitution. As I’ve said in the past, if there is a member of the Tea Party who is a racist, I have yet to meet him.
The Tea Party is vilified simply because its members possess a different perspective of America, and as such, represent a threat to the current administration. Think about it: My acquaintance in the restaurant was a confirmed Republican who has allowed the media to manipulate his thinking patterns. This certainly says a lot about the power of the media.