Tea Party Menu for Indian Country: Peanut Butter & Ramen Noodles

Crystal Willcuts Cole

If you spread it thin enough, a 40-ounce jar of peanut butter can last a long time. Ramen noodles can feed a whole nation for the cost of a box of Sailor Boy crackers. This is the state of my family’s culinary affairs as, you guessed it, we were caught in the crossfire of the federal government shutdown. My husband works for the government, and even though he still had to report to work where he puts his life on the line every day, he was not being paid.

No matter what lens you want to look through, the Tea Party Republicans had basically brought the country to an impasse. Because of their disdain for the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare, they refused to pass a budget to keep the United States’ wheels on the road. I never thought I would be a political hostage but unfortunately, along with every single person living in this country, we were. I hated that feeling, like a gun was pointed to my head. The Tea Party and every Republican supporting them had the U.S. checkbook in one hand and a gun in the other, pointed at us. That’s really crappy. And not just crappy. They acted as terrorists would, the same people they are always so quick to denounce. Their actions are criminal and cry anarchy. Democrats wouldn’t budge, the President wouldn’t budge because one should never negotiate with terrorists.

What the United States need here is a diplomatic intervention. Maybe delegates from some far off land can come and save this government from itself. Has anyone thought to call Dennis Rodman?? My hope is in Dennis. I know he has the answer. But actually, the Republicans are right in a way. One of their favorite sound bytes is “Less government!” Which, incidentally, is completely ironic considering they WORK for the government. Change jobs if you’re so unhappy! Lots of places are hiring. Oh wait, no they’re not. What is needed is not “less government”, but a different kind of government.

Obviously this whole Republican/Democrat thing isn’t working. It’s time to say, “It’s not me, it’s you” and move on. Sign up with Match.com and you’ll be fine. When one keeps hitting their head against the same wall and expecting a different outcome, the only differing outcome will be increasing levels of brain damage. So a new strategy is needed. Hey, how about, I don’t know…maybe a government that represents all the people? I know, it’s a crazy idea, and one that sounds a lot like the old strategy, but there are people in this country and there are a lot of them and they are all different from each other, but the one thing they have in common is they all need representation. Now, I don’t mean lawyers, so stand down all you legal beagles. Put your cards back in your wallets. I mean if you are a man, then a man should represent you. If you are a woman, a woman should represent you. If you are Native, well you get the point. Have government look like us. The last time I checked, I wasn’t a rich white guy, so I’m really getting tired of that demographic running things or not running things, as the case may be.

What kind of crazy, utopian society would this be? Where every voice mattered, not just the people of every nation, but the earth, water, sky, the winged nation and the four-legged nation! Finally, there could be a voice to represent their needs because they are equal to us, most likely better than us. Women able to speak for themselves and not being labeled a slut or having the rights over our own bodies being dictated to us by people who don’t even have lady parts! I love you men, but you have got to get a clue. At least phone a friend. The elderly would be heard, the disabled would be heard, and the children would have an equal voice. Finally, they would stop being sacrificed on the altar of capitalism and BIG BUSINESS. What would this kind of government look like? It would finally look like us. It would look like a community. It would reflect the good things and the better things about us. It would make sure everyone had health care; babies and pregnant and nursing moms would be fed because that is what a community does.

These politicians are putting on a show of smoke and mirrors and want us to believe they are representing us, but only the opposite is true. Tea Party Republican Randy Neugebauer, R-TX, bullied and berated a female Park Ranger because the WWII memorial on the Washington Mall was closed. It was closed due to the government shutdown that he signed off on. He was angry at her for his actions! She was just doing her job and not getting paid for it, while his fat paycheck sat snug in his wallet. And he had the biggest honkin’ American flag in his lapel pocket that I have ever seen. What, couldn’t find a bigger one? This is a dangerous group with a lot of power. It’s time to redefine the kind of government that truly represents us.

In the meantime, I think there is a bag of powdered eggs from 1974 around here somewhere. Hey, I just found a can of commodity beef stew! It must be Christmas!

Crystal Willcuts Cole, Mnicoujou Lakota and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe member, was born in Rapid City, South Dakota and is an artist, writer, and poet currently residing in Big Stone Gap, Virginia with her husband and two children.

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Anonymous's picture
This article is wonderfully written and totally on point.
Michael Madrid's picture
When politicians fight everyone suffers! I'm old enough to know that all politicians are out for themselves, but the Tea Party idiots are clearly the worst obstructionists this country has ever seen. Republicans in general complain most about big government which would normally be detrimental to their political career if there weren't so many idiots voting for them. How smart is it to elect someone who does nothing but complain about how our government doesn't work, and thus give them the opportunity to ensure that it doesn't? This will hopefully be the last nail in the coffin of the Republican Party. They claim to know how to best fix the economy, yet they hold the entire country hostage at great financial distress to everyone. They claim to be strong on terrorism, but how must their petty bickering look to terrorists overseas? They claim to want smaller government, but they want to change the Constitution to define marriage, to patrol the bedrooms of Americans, to put their Ten Commandments in public buildings and to undo Roe Vs. Wade. What can you expect from the party of hypocrisy? They say they're Pro-Life yet they endorse war and torture. They call themselves Patriots, but they hold the country hostage to undo constitutional laws. They call themselves the "Family Values Party," but they want to undo "entitlement programs" that feed, cloth and help homeless families and elderly people. They call themselves Christians, but if call you a "Socialist" if you say more money is needed to help the poor. They call the rich "job providers" yet no jobs are provided no matter how few taxes they pay. Their stated purpose is to see that the first Black President fails. Indigenous Americans have every right to be suspicious of government. At best it's a choice between two evils. At worst, it's choosing your oppressors.
Michael Madrid
Jan Evans's picture
First off, Mrs. Cole have you ever been to a Tax Enough Already (TEA) Party rally? If you had you would know that they are people of all nationalities and color, they are just like you, needing food, needing help, needing a job. Worried about 17 trillion dollars of debt, losing freedom and our God given rights to pursue happiness. They grandmas, grandpas, veterans, teachers, doctors, lawyers, housewives, daughters, sons just American people that do not want to see this country destroyed by debt. If speaking out against Big government, spending, taxes, unconstitutional laws being passed with out bipartisanship, NSA spying on individuals, property being taxed and taken, 9 million people being out of work, 1.2 million homeless students in America makes one a terrorist. I guess I am one. All of these facts can be locate at the Google search. Speaking of Big business have you searched the internet to see whom big business donates and lobby's for? Speaking of capitalism...thank God for our mom and pa businesses they are the backbone of this nation. I have never heard of the unemployed hiring anyone have you? Without capitalism there is no money or jobs. But if you are taking about crony capitalism than I stand with you. You can find that in the White House, senate and house. Did you know that WWIIl, WWI, Vietnam Memorials on the Washington Mall are paid for by the tax payers which gives the tax payers every right to go there when ever they want. So the government, the president, had know right to close them and park rangers didn't need to act like the gestapo. It had nothing to do with the government shutdown, memorials are taxpayer funded, and by the way only 17 percent of the government was closed anyway, memorials were closed out of spite toward our veterans. The very party that forced our removal and keeps our people in poverty is the Democrat party. Wake up, people. Lastly about Obamacare that you seem to love.Th Teaparty patriots and Republicans have been warning Americans since 2009 about this evil unjust law. Obamacare has nothing to do with health care it is a tax. A revenue-raising tax legislation that will creep into every more of our lives. NO more privacy. It became law without both houses ever voting on the same bill and not one Republican voted for it. Do you, Mrs. Cole think it is fair that the American people are forced to buy something that the Democrats made law but do not have to participate in? Guess who is exempt from purchasing Obamacare: Barack Obama and his family, congress and their families, Justice department and their families, supreme court and their families, federal judges and their families and 1200 corporations and unions but not us little people. In your home state of S. Dakota insurance premiums will jump to over 100 percent. If insurance is not purchased, people will pay a fine. If they don't pay the fine for not having Obamacare, it will be taken out of their bank account, drivers license can be revoked or liens put on their homes. The elderly will no longer get the care they need because they are to old. What about the promise that Obama made to the American people....."For patients, he made a sweeping pledge that “no matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise: If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period. No one will take it away. No matter what". Is this the kind of America we were raised in? Everything I have posted can be found by typing it in Google search. In the meantime you can keep on joking about your powered eggs and beef stew believing in unicorns and utopia while laws being passed in congress turn America into a socialist country, taking away the liberty that we love.
Jan Evans
Anonymous's picture
To assign blame to a group labeled "Republicans" or "Tea Party" is grasping at straws. You are uninformed as to the true nature of this beast and so have easily bought into the lie. The truth is out there but you have yet to see it. Unfortunately, none of these groups truly care about Natives. You must learn to stand on your own without depending on hand outs of peanut butter or Ramen from your masters because these will end soon.
Anonymous's picture
Obviously this publications refusal to print my rebuttal to this slanderous article proves it to be no more then another one sided liberal (communist) web news source. The excepted one sided comments proves this to be true.
Anonymous's picture
Brilliant (and brilliantly articulated ;-)... !! Thanks...
Anonymous's picture
Again, where was the Tea Party when George W. Bush was spending money like a drunken sailor? Why is it they only want to cut "entitlement programs" when there is a Democrat in the White House?
rezflame's picture
Tea Party is ideologue (imaginary theory) is that the Affordable Care Act is the end of the world. They are so convinced of this fact that they don't hesitate to stop good hard working Americans from working, creating hardships, threatened the debt limit and shutting down the government. Kidnappers are terrorists when they demand some type of ransom. Their actions are criminal and they belong behind bars. But one positive about the whole thing is that they showed true colors that the average American now clearly sees and they are still patting each other on the back. Pitiful