If someone told you that the Tea Party and the Occupy movement (or the factions of the left most still associated with their causes) have the same goals, you may scoff at them, maybe even laugh in their face. Yet, when you talk to those on both sides you hear the same arguments. You hear that the government is giving money to wrong people, or that racial issues are tearing the country apart.
The two movements were born out of the same fabric, just on opposite sides. The Tea Party was mad about the Obama bailout of the big banks, just as occupy was. Yet, the Tea Party wants the government out of dealing with money while occupy saw a better use for that money in healthcare reform, education reform, and housing reform.
The Tea Party thinks racial minorities are benefiting from an Obama presidency and it is white people getting the short of the stick, banging on about #AllLivesMatter and blaming the economy on immigration. While the left is consciously aware that racism runs rampant through the Tea Party movement and much of the left and sees their fight to systematically oppress all minority groups as damaging to not only those groups, in which many of them, especially the African American community deal with senseless acts of violence and murder at the hands of white police officers over the simple acts of selling CDs outside a convenient story, or selling cigarettes on a street in New York.
The left understand that it is not safe in this country to be a black man or women, or sadly, even a black child.
This division of ideals, while born from the same corrupt government actions are what fills the pages of Sarah Jaffe’s new book, Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt (Nation Books, Aug. 23). Jaffe talks to those on both sides of the fight, humanizing the Tea Party members who truly believe they are fighting for an American utopia with the same energy as those who took over parks as part of the occupy protests.
Yet, even with the humanizing and honest tone, this book pulls no punches. While Tea Party members will quickly say they abhor racism, she holds the movements feet to the fire over racist actions, signs, chants and more importantly, the very fact they try to disguise their racism as honest criticisms.
The book looks at how government laws and regulations have been used by the right, and unfortunately, sometimes the liberals as an excuse to gut unions, cut jobs, and keep pay at an all-time-low that forever keeps millions of workers trapped in a cycle of poverty. A poverty that leaves them stuck reliant on a welfare system that the Tea Party right is fighting to abolish.
It isn’t often a book comes along that has the ability to forever change the narrative when we talk about what a political revolution is and what it means for Americans. When you have two very loud groups fighting for control of what the future of the country should look like, this book comes along and lays out what the fight is really about. It blows that media hyperbole; it doesn’t rely on flashy headlines to villainize one group over another. It takes a real and honest look at the revolutionary movements taking place in our country and Jaffe masterfully explains the movements like no author or journalist has done before.
And masterful is an appropriate word because Necessary Trouble is a political masterpiece. It’s honest and biting and leaves the reader feeling sorrow for the people, often the poor and racial minorities, who are caught in the middle of this fight and are paying the real price, often with their own lives.
If you see yourself as a revolutionary, your bookshelf is nothing without this book. It should be the kindling that ignites the next phase of the political left. Jaffe has shown us our opposition and shed a light on the lives that are counting on our success.