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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Tea Party trash-lands in AZ

Writing about politics tends to inspire some angry reactions. But before you pelt me with garbage, please ensure it’s not from Fountain Hills, Ariz., as the Tea Party says that Fountain Hills’ new trash removal program reeks of out-of-control government.

As of 2008, Fountain Hills has 25,995 residents. Fountain Hills also has two Tea Party groups: the Fountain Hills Tea Party and the Fountain Hills Tea Party Patriots.

Residents currently choose their own trash collector from a list of five, and there is no mandatory recycling program. Last week, the Fountain Hills Town Council agreed, 4-3, to a curbside recycling program and a contract with one trash hauler.

Opponents made the decision out to be the illegitimate love child of socialism and Obamacare, dubbing it “”trashcare.””

According to The Arizona Republic, prior to the council’s decision, the Fountain Hills Tea Party posted an announcement on its website that read: “”7 people will decide who will provide your trash collection services and take away your ability to choose that on your own. If you don’t like government telling you what to do, show up at the meeting and voice your opposition. If it’s not broken, don’t let government try to fix it.””

Fair enough. Government should not create solutions to nonexistent problems. People ought to live by the same creed, but it doesn’t really apply in this situation. The Tea Party isn’t offering a solution. Rather, it’s presenting anti-government rhetoric designed to appeal to your inner rebellious teen. You’re not the boss of me. You can’t order me around. Who are you, my mother?

Unfortunately, teens are rarely accused of being rational.

The issue caused a nearly five-hour-long public hearing and council debate that lasted past midnight. After the decision, the Fountain Hills Tea Party posted an online memo called, “”Talkin’ Trash,”” in which it claimed the council members who voted against the action “”voted to preserve your freedom.””

Surprisingly, I didn’t notice my freedoms slipping away each time the garbage truck that’s contracted with my homeowners’ association stopped in front of my house.

Arizona’s Campaign for Liberty website also posted a story about the Fountain Hills trash debacle, alongside a photo of a man in sunglasses and smoking a cigar, standing in front of the town’s fountain. News stories about the conflict describe the photo as “”menacing”” and “”intimidating.”” It’s also funny, in a warped and dysfunctional way.

What the Tea Party does not mention in their defense of your right to choose who hauls away your garbage is the benefits of the program. ABC15 reported the decision would save an estimated $100,000 a year. The contract for the city is also aimed to cut down on pollution, noise and traffic.

There is no limit to the lengths of ridiculousness the Tea Party will go to just to have something to be pissed off about. It’s not wrong to disagree with the government-made decisions. But the Tea Party’s trash-talkin’ is garbage. And not just because it produces a great deal of puns and wordplay. It distorts the line between asserting your voice in government and shouting just for the sake of being loud. And that smells rotten.

— Kristina Bui is a sophomore majoring in journalism and political science. She can be reached at


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