Tea Party or Pity Party?

By: Megan Meehan
By: Megan Meehan

What is the Tea Party whining about? More important, why does complaining about government seem to be the number one activity of the members of what could be more appropriately labeled the Pity Party?

In the introduction to his book, Looking Forward, Franklin Roosevelt observes, “Until we look around us we are likely to forget how hard people have worked for the privilege of government.”

The air we breathe is made cleaner because of government regulations. We drive cars that are safe because of government regulations, and we drive them on publicly-funded roads. We benefit from the kind of formative public education which assures that all Americans are given the opportunity to learn.
Roosevelt’s 1933 observation is still true today. But, while that moment in history was characterized by working Americans coming together to end widespread impoverishment, today we see another class of Americans fighting to end government. The motivation of my grandfather’s generation was obvious. Today’s mean spirited anti-government rhetoric is confounding to me and other workforce newcomers. These anti-government folks must have forgotten that our government is capable of bettering the lives of its citizens.

What is the Tea Party whining about? More important, why does complaining about government seem to be the number one activity of the members of what could be more appropriately labeled the Pity Party?

Contrast all that fake victim-hood with what others are doing.

My twin sister delayed graduate school so that she could teach high school English in rural Alabama. A close friend soon departs for the Peace Corps in South America, where he will spend 27 months working in a small village bringing clean water to the people there. Other friends are working to prevent unplanned pregnancies and promote reproductive health among young people. And others are working to encourage their peers to vote and give part of every paycheck to a candidate in whom they believe.

While the Pity Party is putting energy into complaining about losing their share, my contemporaries are working to make sure others have a share. Young people now are both benefiting from society and taking a responsible role in making sure society benefits others.
In my view, there are two clear choices, and my generation is choosing one over the other. You can be a person of action or a person who whines. You can blame government for losing a piece of the American dream, or you can create that dream.

Like other young people, I like to go out. If I was asked to go to a party where people were complaining about the service, I’d say, Thanks but no thanks. This 20 something wants to get something done.
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