Guest column | James Pettican

What a Tea Party America would look like

What would Tea Party America be like? Ask any tea partier and he or she will tell you. It would have a smaller government with less regulation of our personal freedom.

Imagine yourself waking up some morning and finding yourself there. Turn on the TV to watch the news. But what's wrong? Why do two channels seem to be coming in at once? Oh yes, you remember now. They abolished the Federal Communications Commission a while back.

You're still feeling a bit queasy from dinner last night and wondering if cutting the Food and Drug Administration and the Department of Agriculture to a much smaller size was really the right thing to do. All the grocery chains tell us that they do their own food inspections now but you have to be skeptical. Don't they have their bottom lines to consider?

A sudden loud bang down at the corner of your street breaks into the morning stillness. Gosh, that's the second time this week a car has hit that big pothole. The county, of course, will eventually repair it but with the cutbacks in their road crews, it will take a while. Meanwhile, you'll try to remember that it's there.

You remember that today is the day that your Social Security check comes to your bank account and you hope it won't be three days late like last month. That makes paying bills a bit awkward. Social Security, you were told, was too big, a swollen bureaucracy, and so it was cut to half its size. Then, there are those rumors about reduced monthly checks but, at least, it hasn't happened, so far.

You worry about your health care too. Oh, Medicare is still functioning but it takes so much longer now for your insurance company to get approval of certain treatments and medications that you feel a bit uneasy. At least you're in better shape than those poor folks who lost their Medicaid when it was abolished. Now they keep showing up for free treatments at hospital emergency rooms and the hospitals are saying they're going broke because of it.

Well, at least you can look forward to that driving trip next week. Just hope the interstate highway is in better condition than it was on your last trip. Why do repairs and improvements take so long these days?

You're beginning to wonder if the smaller government idea was such a good one. And you can't help but remember how your tea party friends were so worked up and excited about bringing it into reality.

But, dear readers, take heart. This brave new world has not come into being yet and with luck, it never will. Just talk to your tea party friends and suggest that they take a refresher course in American history and a closer look at everyday reality.

Since I'm old enough to remember hearing FDR's fireside chats on the radio and being a teenager in the depths of the Great Depression, I might just know a thing or two about what works and what doesn't. At least, I hope I do.

Retired journalist James Pettican lives in Palm Harbor.

What a Tea Party America would look like 07/20/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 5:23pm]

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