You can be horrified by this, you can ask what is happening to this country, and I would agree with you that these folks are frightening. And yet, what use is there in demonizing them? The Tea Party people are classic reactionaries in a world of incredibly rapid change. Cycling is an important element in the revolution going on globally in major cities, and it is a hopeful human adaptation catching on. America is or has become an isolated nation of naysayers who have afforded, out of excess wealth, to be highly independent and particularly maladaptive. They are often dragged along by others. But dragged along they will be. The question is how painless or painful will the transition to new ways of human adaptation. Progressives do no one any good or help anyone adapt by being terrified of reactionaries. In fact, what left and right share in the U.S. is an overwhelming sense of terror at the strange other.
It is time to lose the terror and begin the Enlightenment, to be as patient as you would be with a terrified child, afraid of thunder and lightening. Life is either about war or it is about enlightenment. War and Enlightenment mix like oil and water. Cultural and media war is no different than physical war in its emotional foundations. The only alternative to cultural war is cultural embrace and enlightenment. It is true, I admit it, I do not consider a Tea Partier my intellectual equal. I do not consider a Tea Partier to be a mature, self-examined, enlightened human being. But he/she is my political equal, that I must accept for any social contract to work, even if he/she wants to eliminate me from the social contract. But I need to see him/her as someone in need of help, care, leadership, education, not given with anger, with fear, but with the same openness and enthusiasm you would offer children.
Sometimes, in order to lose your anger as a teacher, as a moral agent, as a citizen diplomat, it is important to see yourself as an incredibly old person, practically unable to walk, and people are seeking your words on how they should live.
© Marc Gopin
Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes knows you might think bicycles and bicycle riding are harmless, but beware: “That’s exactly the attitude they want you to have.”
The Denver Post reports that Maes, a Tea Party friendly candidate facing former Rep. Scott McInnis in the August 10 Republican primary, has come out against a public bicycle program run by the city of Denver. Denver’s mayor, John Hickenlooper, is the presumptive Democratic nominee, and a cycling supporter.
“This is all very well-disguised, but it will be exposed,” Maes said at a small campaign rally last week, according to the Post. “These aren’t just warm, fuzzy ideas from the mayor. These are very specific strategies that are dictated to us by this United Nations program that mayors have signed on to.”
Maes said in a later interview that he was referring to Denver’s membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, an international association that promotes sustainable development and has attracted the membership of more than 1,200 communities, 600 of which are in the United States.
It turns out that Hickenlooper wasn’t even mayor when Denver became a member of the program, but no matter.
Maes said ICLEI is affiliated with the United Nations and is “signing up mayors across the country, and these mayors are signing on to this U.N. agreement to have their cities abide by this dream philosophy.”
The program includes encouraging employers to install showers so more people will ride bikes to work and also creating parking spaces for fuel-efficient vehicles, he said.
Pretty sinister stuff. Wait a sec… So what’s the issue? Maes admits that on the surface, things seem harmless.
“At first, I thought, ‘Gosh, public transportation, what’s wrong with that, and what’s wrong with people parking their cars and riding their bikes? And what’s wrong with incentives for green cars?’ But if you do your homework and research, you realize ICLEI is part of a greater strategy to rein in American cities under a United Nations treaty,” he said. Well then: it all becomes clear.
A recent SurveyUSA poll shows Maes leading McInnis 43-39