labeling the tea party

Photo by Amanda Lucidon for The New York Times

Photo by Amanda Lucidon for The New York Times

someone said:“Why is everyone trying to put a label and a leash on the Tea Party?”

my thought:Labels, categories, concepts…. these are how we understand the world.

Saying “don’t label me!” is fine, and to be expected, from an angsty teenager rebelling against authority and trying to find his identity in the world.

But it is ridiculous in political movement.

Because when the world turns its eyes to your “movement”, it wants to know: what do you stand for? What do you want? What kind of world do YOU think we should live in?

The fact that people are trying to “label” the teabagger movement is a symptom: this group has not yet answered these questions. And as long as they — as a group — remain unable or unwilling to define themselves in these ways, then they leave it up to OTHER people to define them.