Photo: sterno_inferno via flickr
Dear Tea-Party,Hello, my friend. It’s been a while. And I know this letter is a long time coming.
It’s no secret, TP, that over the years, you and I have fallen into an abusive relationship. A cruelly demeaning and dismissive one. We’ve had our fights, burned our bridges, and hurled more than a few epithets at each other.
In retrospect, however…well…I have to sincerely apologise. I’ve come to realise it’s not you who’s to blame for our misgivings.
For now, after a bit of reflection, I think I get you. I understand what drives you – your anger toward the world, your willful pride in your own ignorance, and the deeply irrational hatred you harbor toward “others.” Turns out you’re not the willing bully, the big-kid-wearing-the-dunce-cap-in-the-corner I always thought you were.
You’re just a scared kid. Losing your temper. Frightened of your future.
And why shouldn’t you be? I bet you recently read The Atlantic’s “Can the Middle Class Be Saved?” and felt absolute terror. After all, it’s clear now that “arguably, the most important economic trend in the United States over the past couple of generations has been the distinct sorting of Americans into winners and losers.”
In short, as I’m sure you know, you’re the loser. And, like any patriotic American, you feel you’ve got to do something. Take action.
And so you do. You lash out. At everyone beneath you. You make irrational arguments and alliances. You want so badly to belong with the big kids – the winners – that you allow yourself to be manipulated by the very people whose success cuts directly into yours. You’ve convinced yourself that identifying with the rich – those who have successfully and effectively manipulated you into thinking what’s best for them is also best for you – will stop the socio-economic marauders at your gates.
And for this, I have to say…thank you. Your mistake in identifying with and fighting for the top socio-economic class has done wonders for many of us “Leftist Elites,” both in the boardroom and at home.
TP, your continued insistence that top-earners – those on Wall Street, living in mansions, ensconced in gated communities – NOT give back to a society that has given so much, has elevated many of my liberal friends into better offices, homes, and country clubs. Your continued push for a socio-economic policy that helps “my kind” more than yours –as irrational as it may be – has been immensely helpful for many of my buddies and colleagues. And, once again, we sincerely thank you.
A quick note, however.
While we “Elites” here on the left deeply appreciate your support, I don’t think I, at least, will be joining your irrational ranks any time soon.
For TP, while fighting for what’s best for “my kind,” you have come to sincerely believe that you can get America back on the “right track” – your track. The one that leads back to the 1950s, when whites were white, men were men, and that was enough. In your pursuit of defending the wealthy (and their corporations – to no benefit of your own), you have become hell-bent on destroying the poor. The sick. The elderly. All in the name of upper-class tax breaks and the elimination of even the skeleton of a social net (that, ironically, you will one day most likely need). These are things, I’m sure you know, in which I don’t believe.
So, TP, while you’re off fighting my fight, I’m going to be pursuing further greatness for this magnificent and proud country of ours. And I’ll be doing so by pushing for socio-economic progress and equality here on the home-front. Helping municipalities and small businesses on their knees get out of this economic mess and back on a better, more forward-looking, track. In short, by making America a better place, one city, one county, and one small business at a time.
For I sincerely believe America should be a nation on which Main Street is as great of place to live and work as Wall Street. One that demands you hold “my kind” economically and socially accountable for the betterment of our nation, while we work together for a greater tomorrow…not a warmed-over version of yesterday.
Please know, TP, that before you start threatening, degrading, and criticising me for what I’ve laid out here, that I truly am deeply, deeply grateful for your support. Even if comes from a dysfunctional and dark place of fear and panic.
In short, thanks again for fighting my good fight,
Margaret Bogenrief is a Partner with ACM Partners, a boutique crisis management and distressed investing firm serving companies and municipalities in financial distress. She can be reached at [email protected]
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