Eddie is one of my very closest friends. We have known each other since we were teenagers and knew of each other even longer. Our fathers were best friends and Polish immigrants who met in London following World War II and came to America on the Queen Mary together. When I lived in Connecticut and Eddie was in New York we hung out together every other weekend. We attended each others weddings. We love each others spouses and parents and the relationship between our families is continuing now for a third generation. When I travel to New York I stay with Eddie and if he ever would go west of New Jersey I would roll out the red carpet for him in Denver. Eddie and his wife, Mary, have raised two incredible kids and I hope my children will be as worldly and successful. I am blessed to have Eddie and his family in my life.
As close as Eddie and I are, we are on completely different wavelengths politically. He is very conservative and admires Sarah Palin. I am very liberal and support Barack Obama. We love to debate and adore each other despite our points of view. So I shouldn’t have been surprised when he sent me a message on Facebook saying “My daughter is KICK-ASS.” He was proud because Kara attended a Tea Party Rally in Washington D.C. and made an impromptu speech. She talked about the dollar and how it is losing its meaning because it is no longer earned but rather allocated (she said stolen) through government programs which we are taxed to support. Kara standing up for the populist Tea Party and shouting out for fiscal responsibility has shaken me. Until now it has been easy for me to ignore the protesters because they look nothing like me. I cringe when I hear Sarah Palin’s braying and see people who remind me of my father-in-law who lives in small town Iowa when I scan the crowds. If Kara is jumping on the bandwagon it’s time to pay attention. I need to ask if I’m missing something here?
Another good friend who also shook his head over my politics used to tell me “If you’re young and you’re Republican you have no heart. If you’re old and you’re a Democrat you have no head.” So what was Kara doing at a Tea Party Rally? I’m not certain I can dismiss this movement anymore as a bunch of Republican extremists. If the message is making sense to smart college educated kids like Kara then perhaps the Tea Party is gaining the kind of traction that will make a difference at the polls in November. I hope other liberals like me who look at the Tea Party as a movement that clutters the airwaves with hate speak and reaches out to the disenfranchised few and their birther friends, ask themselves if they’re missing something too. And when they start getting uncomfortable like I am now, when they start realizing that maybe this is a party to be reckoned with, then maybe they can stand up like Kara did and make some noise.
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