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.




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