Into the Harbor

Ye Gay Old Valley 

Ted Trip, Merrimack Valley Tea Party
Ted Trip, Merrimack Valley Tea Party

By: Dani Langevin, Lesbian Columnist – December, 2010

I’ve been watching the Tea Party movement, well, not really. I’ve actually just been hearing about it, listening to the fact that it’s growing faster than a bald man’s hair plugs and had some sort of impact on the recent elections. I will always be the first to admit that I do not follow politics very closely. I vote and I try to keep up with what each candidate stands for so that my vote is well spent. That’s about it.

Issues keep changing, loyalties become fuzzy and candidates are all corrupt. It’s the way it’s been since the first caveman picked up the biggest stick and demanded to be head of the clan. I truly feel disconnected from the political world. But right from the get go, something about the Tea Party movement put up red flags in my head.

Just what are they all about? What is their agenda? Thanks to Tom Duggan, his column in last month’s Valley Patriot opened my eyes and allowed even a political light-weight like myself to have a somewhat better understanding about what this movement is trying to do and they frighten me a little.

In his article, Tom talks about the first settlers and how, “They were searching for self fulfillment, versus being told what to do by the ruling class. . . They were looking for freedom.” Amen to that.

Freedom, yes! As long as you were a white, land-owning man you had your freedom. Me, being a white, lesbian woman would not have had the luxury I do now of owning my own home. In fact, I’d probably be tried for witchcraft for loving another woman.

Is this what the Tea Party wants to return to, a white, male agrarian society? Tom also mentioned that the settlers, “accepted that they needed to rely solely on themselves and their God, their families and their neighbors.” ‘Their God’, not just God, but ‘their God’. If that’s truly the case then it could be the Jewish God, the Christian God, the Muslim God, the gay God or whatever god they pray to, but I don’t get the feeling that’s any of the gods the Tea Party is referring to.

Back in the good ole days of freedom, sovereignty, and hard work defense against attack formed by local militias. Would that really work today? I can’t imagine arming the general public and relying on them to come to my defense against a terrorist attack. I’ve got to think that several of them want me dead just for my life style alone. I’ll keep the defense of my freedom to the well-trained men and women of the U.S. armed services not the John Wayne wanna be with his private hoard of guns, grenades and ammo.

What I did agree with in Tom’s article is that our founding fathers held certain truths and rights as basic principles of human dignity, the Constitution creates a government of just laws and actions for the whole country – not an individual or special interest group. Does the Tea Party extend this school of thought to the gay community? Will my marriage to my wife still be honored? Will all gays and lesbians in all states be allowed to marry, adopt children and pursue their happiness?

I get the distinct feeling that derailing our marriages, denying us adoption rights and sidelining our pursuit of happiness is on this party’s agenda because it doesn’t fit under their view of family values.

I believe in family values. My Catholic parents ingrained them in me.

As soon as I could get married legally, I did so that I could model a loving, committed relationship to my children. We have dinner together every night and we discuss our day. When my children were growing up we had movie night, game night, and dinner out night. My wife and I made it clear to our children that they could talk to us about anything. We were and are visible, involved, loving and forgiving and we’ve taught them to be the same. My fear is that the Tea Party’s idea of family values will devalue my relationship with my wife and children because we are two women.

I believe that neighbors should help neighbors, but there’s only so much I can do for them or they can do for me. My fear is that the Tea Party will take away government subsidies that help people who are trying to desperately help themselves. What happens to the person who loses their spouse and more than half their income and still has three young children to raise? They can’t afford to pay their mortgage or the rent for an apartment that will fit the four of them. They can’t work a regular full time job, get their kids to school, be able to get them off the bus and can’t afford to pay for a before or after school program and they have no extended family. Will their neighbors step in?

Will they pick up the cost of day care or bring the kids to school and pick them up? A good and just country has a government that picks up the slack our neighbors cannot.

As a history teacher it is necessary to look to the past to improve our future. But looking to the past and going back to it are two very different paths. We should be forever moving forward. Our founding fathers were geniuses. They had a magnificent gift of foresightedness that too many of us lack. Would they be upset with the government corruption, the lack of honest leadership, the extensive taxes and the ridiculously huge government?

Absolutely! What they would not be upset about is that many of us, who didn’t have it before, now have the right to pursue our happiness when it does nothing to take away from any one else’s. They would be thrilled with a government that takes care of its citizens. The Tea Party can wrap themselves up in the American flag, quote the Constitution and Declaration of Independence while standing on top of a giant cross, but I don’t buy for one minute that they have my pursuit of happiness or my right to domestic tranquility in mind and I bet they don’t have yours in mind either. Going back over two hundred years will do none of us any good.

Just like the tea dumped in the harbor by our founding fathers, I say the Tea Party is all wet.