It irks me to see bumper stickers that pair the word "patriot" with the term tea party. Genuine patriots would never threaten to plunge our country into default, particularly because the Constitution they revere says: "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law ... shall not be questioned."
This tea party is funded by the Koch brothers and other billionaires, so although its self-proclaimed "patriots" rail against the budget deficit, they stay silent about the billions of tax dollar subsidies for fossil fuels and agribusiness. At the same time, they blast any bill that might require billionaires to pay taxes at the same rate as average citizens or that might require profitable corporations to pay at least some taxes, which many avoid all together.
At this moment, the Affordable Health Care Act receives most of the rage of these self-styled "patriots." Although that law tries to address the manifold shortcomings of our health care system, shortcomings that virtually no one denies, the tea party cries that it must be repealed. Not improved. Repealed.
The "patriots" of the tea party rebel at paying taxes that could comfort the poor, the sick and the elderly among us or protect the environment or provide an adequate infrastructure or fund a decent educational system. Theirs is a peculiarly narrow kind of patriotism, one whose loyalty extends neither to our Constitution, nor to the physical attributes of our land, nor to the people who live here.