A Sad Allegory

Does anyone — including those millions who were personally invested in it until eight years ago — remember the American Tea Party movement? This genuine grassroots uprising, as civil as it was reviled by the establishment, and as feisty as it was indignant at the progressive usurpation of American society, thrived on a devotion to certain essential tenets: republican constitutionalism, a reason-based anti-establishmentarianism, and active public support for a few similarly principled and well-spoken elected representatives in the U.S. federal government who appeared to speak from sincere likemindedness, and without the mealy-mouthed tribalism and petty careerism that had devoured the heart of American politics for so many decades. I was one of those who, watching from the outside, admired, appreciated, and promoted the Tea Party. I even tried, along with those American grassroots conservatives themselves, to hold out some measure of hope for the most promising of the young guns in the U.S. Congress who, when they stepped up to any microphone, consistently sounded like men and women speaking from honest belief rather than calculating greed, from constitutionalist principles rather than pragmatic partisanship, and from a Reaganesque dedication to the almost-lost cause of liberty rather than a mere drive for donors and re-election.

Among that small band of elected politicians who earned the support and admiration of the Tea Party movement, few were regarded with more general respect and trust than Senator Mike Lee from Utah. As a simple but brutal allegory for what has happened to the Tea Party, and to all the elected representatives whom the Tea Party once understandably claimed as its truest and most trustworthy statesmen, I give you Senator Lee’s latest public statement, issued in response to a Democratic Party rejection of a proposed aid package for Israel (which most Democrats support) detached from aid for Ukraine (which many Republicans do not support).

The incoherence, the squirming, the muddled and incomplete sentences and sentiments, the wandering eyes and the words detached from thought, the oblique and cynical attempt to interpret the Democrats’ vote against this proposal as “anti-Israel” or as a “sabotaging” of Israel, while simultaneously attempting to dismiss any parallel or analogy between America’s interests in Israeli victory and America’s interests in Ukrainian victory.

This is what eight years of ever-growing, ever-metastasizing, ever-lobotomizing Trump cult populism has done to the Tea Party, to a former leading voice of constitutionalist forthrightness, and to the last fading hopes of a once-great but now dead and rotting country. Mike Lee, as he speaks in this video clip that he himself posts for us on his social media account, as though terribly proud of his performance, fumblingly plays establishment electoral politics, slurps at the trough of Jewish donor money, and continues his perpetual begging for forgiveness and support from millions of people, many of them his former admirers, who have long-since forsaken his and their old principles of individual freedom and limited government in favor of kissing the ring of a moronic demagogue, spewing bile on the grave of Ronald Reagan, and drumming up increasingly obvious and untenable hypocrisies to defend the “interests” and bloodlust of Vladimir Putin.

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