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Tea Partiers only see sin

Posted: October 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 23, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Today’s tea partiers often use Christian-speak to build consensus and corral the faithful into panting the hard right’s party line. Issues of church are manipulated and abused into issues of state.

So sometimes it’s best to speak on a similar playing field.

I remember from my more Bible-y days — first as a Lutheran and second as a Mormon missionary — New Testament verses speaking of Sadducees and Pharisees outraged that Jesus would touch the unwashed or speak with the impure, prostitutes, tax collectors, or any of the general population who hadn’t totally fallen in line with the Established Party Order.

Jesus employed a direct response to these frequent confrontations. “Oh ye wicked and adulterous generation.” “Oh ye generation of vipers,”

And a host of equally devastating “Oh ye” rebuttals. Jesus served people from all walks of life and he know it right to reach out — and touch — everyone.

Doctrinal purity and life preferences did not get between Jesus and those he served. Jesus saw the Big Picture, while the hard right of his time were all caught up in self-serving rules and regulations.

Much of today’s super right wing — let’s call them “tea partiers,” as they prefer — have adopted a Pharisee/Sadducee posture in that communing or cooperating with members of other political ideologies is an abomination and a veritable sin punishable by a primary challenge by a generously funded right wing PAC.

This is the way of America’s emerging Righter Right Wing. No communication. No compromise. And no empathy for others.

After the damage from their shutdown, many have come to more accurately recognize the tea party as the Hater Party.

Recently, this columnist was accosted in a Signal Letter to the “Editor:
“Horton often points out that he does not vote for our Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon, but he never fails to tell us he has lunch with him, gets personal telephone calls from him and writes him letters.
“Horton’s last letter was successful because Wednesday ‘Buck’ McKeon sold out Republican conservatives and voted with Democrats giving Reid, Pelosi and Obama everything they demanded.”

In this letter, I’m framed as the sinner with Buck cast as the Order Betrayer in communion with political sinners like me.

Pity Congressman McKeon, that he had the civic-minded wherewithal to reach out, share thoughts, and even share a meal with an untouchable “liberal,” such as myself.

For such a crime against pure tea partyism, Buck should be banished forever into lobbyist hell.

The same letter writer is further irked that your author is a (recession-recovering) businessman who, over 34 years of focused effort, has acquired some of the fruit of his labor:
“(Horton) lives in a pricey Valencia home, sold another home in Lake Tahoe, has an avocado farm in Ventura County, drives a Corvette, has another home in Ventura County where he can dock his large boat, owns his own business and takes employees on nice vacations.”

Well, at least I’m credited for taking employees on nice vacations. Even liberal sinners have their redeeming qualities.

Readers, there’s two big lessons to learn from this whipped-up intolerance.

First, while Buck McKeon and I agree on very few issues, we agree enough to talk and exchange ideas. He has indeed taught me a few things along the way, and I hope I have somehow reflected toward Buck how folks like me feel.

Buck steadfastly states he represents all his constituents, and I believe this is true. This is not a weakness in Buck, as reaching out surely isn’t weak in Biblical Christianity.

Let’s get mature about civic living and understand that common progress is dependent on open communication — even sometimes compromise.

Second, when a tea partier discredits a “liberal” by virtue of his or her success, they haven’t much more to offer than hypocrisy.

Folks who know me know that Carrie and I moved to Valencia very young and very poor. We both worked our way through Cal State Northridge; we both worked our way to building a company.

In the process, we generated quite literally thousands of Republican and Democratic and Independent jobs for Santa Claritans and Californians. And these employees prospered and I prospered, and we all paid our taxes — and even after a tremendous recession a productive company remains.

Today, in my actions and writing, I continue to credit our socialized university system and the socialized help the state gave my struggling mom and family while I was growing up.

My success was empowered by progressive social policy — and I am compelled to repay credit where credit is due, and to pass the same opportunity to those coming up in our society as I did.

Tea partiers may resent communal cooperation, but real civic leaders understand the need to build consensus and understanding.

Love him or not, Buck is confident enough to hold meetings and communicate with just about anyone.
And if that’s more party impurity or reaching out than some can stomach, then more personal isolation, frustration, and anger lays ahead for the tea party and haters.

But as for me and my brethren, we’ll chose to share bread together and come together for common good.

Even when we disagree.

Gary Horton is a Santa Clarita resident. “Full Speed to Port!” appears Wednesdays in The Signal.



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