Contrary to what liberals are saying about the "Tea Party" idea, the Tea Party rallies are events where genuinely concerned people can come together to express their frustration over excessive government spending, government takeover of private corporations, pervasive governmental intrusion into our very lives, and where they can demonstrate a genuine concern over the challenges to some of our individual freedoms. And make no mistake, the people are "conservatives" who are Democrats, Independents, Republicans, and non-committed to any political party and from several racial backgrounds as well.
The Tea Party rally I just attended had quite a crowd for a small state; I'd estimate it was close to 1,500 people. I spent an hour and a half reading all the handmade signs and t-shirts that I could. No one wore swastikas or carried signs with racial slurs. There was nothing hateful about the rally. Instead, I saw signs that said things like "I fought for my country once, and I'll do it again!" "I've seen your change, now change it back." "No Obamacare." "Haste Makes Waste" "Term Limits Now!" "Stop spending my grandchildren's money!" "Silent Majority - No Longer Silent". Some were catchy like "I'm an anti-socialist" or "Astroturf made in [name of state]; Anger manufactured in Washington" and other signs expressing their desire for responsible spending, imposing term limits on Congress, the requirement of the teaching of the Constitution in public schools, as well as for Congress and the President to return to the Constitution as the ultimate guide writing and applying all laws.
All pretty innocuous, I'd say. But regardless of what was printed on their signs or shirts, their belief in their Constitutional rights to be heard is what brought them all to one central place to make a statement. And if I were to boil it all down to a few simple statements, it would be these: President Obama, we don't like path to socialism you have us going down and we are determined to go no further. Congress, since you work for us, we demand you listen to us. Preserve our individual freedoms now!
Obviously, since we elected our US Representatives and Senators to represent us (their home states) in Washington DC, it is natural for us to expect them to listen to us whether they are at home or when we contact their Washington offices, and then to express our wishes on the floor of the House and Senate or in committee meetings and to protect our interests. Unfortunately, many of them have truly forgotten that. Here's a prime example of that:
So, there you have it. Their constituents have become a vehicle to get elected, to gain power, and then they are no longer necessary because "everybody knows that it's hard to get an incumbent out of office." Perhaps that cliché' has long past. Ya think? We shall see. We shall see.
But in Washington, here's what is happening. Our representatives are hearing some things from their colleagues that they think has merit (or is a good deal that they can get in on or that they can line their pockets with or trade favors for), they conduct "legislative swap-meets", in order to gain support on issues that would profit them in some way. It's has become abundantly apparent that in Washington DC, and specifically in the halls of Congress, it's all about special interests groups, or how much money and favors change hands in order to get certain legislation passed, how it is going to benefit their own personal wealth, or give them position and/or power on committees, and so on. If you don't believe that's what it's all about, just look at how many lobbyists there are there in DC!
An example of what goes on might look something like this: If you help me get this bill passed, I'll support you in getting that widget manufacturing company to locate in your state and the company will pay out a bonus of a gazillion dollars which we will split. Or, if you help me get this legislation passed, I'll see that you get on such and such committee. But it starts back home. State legislators vote to lower taxes or give tax breaks/credits or make other conciliatory arrangements to lure business to their state. That brings jobs - a good thing - and it brings revenue in taxes - not a bad thing - but most importantly from a Tea Party perspective is the backroom dealings that go on that ultimately line the pockets of politicians who are sponsoring that company's relocation - a bad thing! There is corruption at every level of government beginning even in municipal government.
It is imperative that House and Senate members remember that they are sent Washington with a mandate from their voters, and should not come back home to lecture their constituents on what they have doing in Washington "for their good". Who, in the world, gave them the idea that they would get some epiphany while in Washington, that the socialistic ideas of a particular group of people, or the special interests of certain lobbyists would be best for their people back home?
Do they believe these conservatives from all political backgrounds are so stupid as to not know what has been going on for years and years on end? No, I don't think that's it - at least all of it. Rather, I think that they know that we were lulled into lethargy, perhaps feeling that we couldn't do anything to change the system - a feeling of hopelessness and oftentimes despair.
But those of us who are attending these Tea Parties do know what's going on, we have become well informed, and we have grown extremely tired of politics as usual, and we're not going to sit quietly by and let the erosion of our freedoms continue any more. We're going to start at ground zero and make a difference. We are going to "get in their faces", if necessary, and remind all of our elected officials that they work on our behalf, that we elected them to do a job for us. It is not their job to take office so they could barter and trade their votes on programs and policies and to line their pockets. They need to be reminded that people who elected them want to what they were mandated to do, to protect their Constitutional rights, to protect their interests and to represent them before the House and Senate. We certainly did not send our legislators to change the Constitution, to gain personal wealth while relieving us of our own, or to convert this nation to socialism or fascism or communism.
We Tea Party goers value our freedoms, we value free enterprise, and we value the system that allowed a bi-racial kid to rise to the rank of President of the United States without the benefit of wealth or birthright. That is what needs to be stressed -- how, under the freedoms that are afforded to the American people under the US Constitution, that can happen for anyone born under those liberties that we have enjoyed for over 200 years. Abraham Lincoln used to be our example for a poor, self-educated person's ability to become the leader of the free world. But today, we have a modern day model who had humble beginnings, managed to get a good education, and run and ascend to the highest office in the land. And in regard to Obama's School Speech to be delivered on Tuesday, that is all the politics that needs to be shared with elementary students.
But this same President seems intent on bringing us as quickly as possible to socialism. At every turn, he stresses socialistic policy where the hardest workers are required to share with those who don't put forth equal effort, or won't work at all. I'm not talking about people who cannot work. There are government programs (though improperly run) and charities in existence to assist those with their needs. But to say that if we work very hard and make a very good living and provide a comfortable life for our families, that we will be penalized by having to dole out part of our means to others who don't put forth equal effort. Or if we start a business and it finally becomes successful, that we'll have to pay a high tax level which will be diverted to the poor (if it really ever reaches them). That only encourages lazy, non-productive individuals who are content to just "exist" to sit back with hands out. It discourages those like Obama with humble beginnings to reach for a higher plateau than they were born to. And there are lots of people out there that don't have any drive or ambition in life.
So, Tea Parties are popping up with a unified agenda to do whatever they can peacefully and lawfully to protect our Constitutional rights to enjoy life, liberty, and to pursue happiness. They're people who are simply concerned citizens, concerned over what they see happening to their country. Some are "wealthy" small business people, but most are middle class, blue-collar workers who have worked very hard for years and years to get to some level of comfortable living and who pay their fair share of taxes. Most of them have never been political before, never made a public stance on any issue, but they have now come together to form a coalition of grassroots patriots who will be a force to be reckoned in 2010 and 2012 and thereafter.
What they believe and what they're feeling - what's motivating them is captured in The Tea Party Anthem. Enjoy!