Tuesday, 29 October 2013

In Defense of the TEA Party

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Just a few years ago, some American citizens came together to demand change. They were fed up with decades of out-of-control government growth, confiscation of their hard-earned income through ever-increasing taxes, and unending regulations invading every aspect of their lives. Things were racing out of control.

Every aspect of American society was changing, and not for the better. Freedoms and rights that are guaranteed under the Constitution — the founding document of our nation and law of the land, were disappearing. Elected representatives turned a deaf ear to concerned citizens. It seemed those in power simply didn’t care. No matter the outcome of elections, nothing changed. There was a sense of hopelessness, helplessness, and frustration as concerned citizens saw the America they loved disappearing. 

The answer? Enter the TEA Party — declaring “Taxed Enough Already.” It was time to make their voice heard. It was time to directly confront the government and demand that it stay within the confines of the Constitution that every single elected official at every level of government pledged to uphold.

They organized. They rallied. They confronted members of Congress at local meetings. And their voices were heard. The TEA Party movement spread across the nation like wildfire. Many people were excited that finally the national debate was about concerns over the ever-expanding government. Some officials embraced the TEA Party. Some feared it.

Most who participated were political novices, experiencing their first direct activism. Concerned citizens, many were just parents who had spent their time raising the kids, and had been unaware of just how massive the government had gotten. They were about to get the shock of their lives.

• The Federal Reserve is a private organization that isn’t officially part of the Federal Government. Yet it controls the money supply and controls interest rates. The TEA Party demanded that it be audited so we could all see its wealth, its holdings, and how it makes its decisions that directly affect our lives. Congress refused to demand such an audit. The TEA Party thought that was wrong and demanded that the Fed be held accountable to the American people. For that action the TEA Party was vilified for rocking the boat.

• The TEA Party demanded that out-of-control spending be reigned in, waste stopped, and taxes lowered. Supporters of big government raced to the microphones to declare that such demands would hurt the poor and deny them programs that were necessary for them to live. "Racist!" came the charge against the TEA Party.

• The TEA Party expressed opposition to immigration “reform” laws which would reward those who crossed our borders illegally, resulting in millions flooding into our nation, gaining free hospital care, education, and welfare, while denigrating American culture and quality of life. The TEA Party thought that was wrong and simply demanded that Congress enforce the very laws it had created. Again came the charge against the TEA Party of racism.

• In communities across the nation, TEA Party activists began to oppose regulations designed to damage or even eliminate private property rights, usually under the excuse of protecting the environment. Many such policies are being enforced through the establishment of non-elected boards, regional governments, and local planning councils, denying citizen input. When local citizens attend public meetings to express opposition, as is done in representative governments, officials many times simply ignored them, refusing to engage in discussion, accusing them of perpetrating groundless conspiracy theories. Some citizens have even been removed bodily from such meetings simply for expressing opposition. When in frustration of not being heard, TEA Party activists showed up in protest, and the head of the federal Environmental Protection Agency labeled them "jack-booted thugs."

• One of the most recent fights in which the TEA Party has engaged is the nationwide enforcement of new federal education curriculum standards called Common Core. A study of the curriculum shows it contains a severe lack of history of the founding ideals of America and a negative focus on free enterprise. But Common Core contains a strong focus on diversity, social justice, and globalism. There is very little actual academic instruction in Common Core. Some critics describe it as being more about creating a cadre of social activists than an educated society. When TEA Party activists begin studying the curriculum and asking questions of school administrators, they are dismissed as far-right lunatic fringe nuts.

• It is true that most activists in the TEA Party not only believe that the Constitution is the law of the land, but are also devout Christians. As such, they are very concerned by government actions to ban or shut down Christian activities. It started years ago with the banning of Christmas decorations or manger scenes on public property. Many ministers are afraid to speak out about current events from the pulpit for fear of retribution from the government. Yet, there is a drive to teach Islam in the public schools, where children are actually given assignments on the subject. There seems to be few restrictions on that religion in public life.  Naturally, the TEA Party thinks that is wrong and cries foul over the unbalanced situation. The charge against the TEA Party is "Intolerance!"

• And then there is ObamaCare. Says Nancy Pelosi and other supporters of this monster, there are millions of uninsured people in this nation and we need to fix that. Their solution is to force most of those millions to buy government-sanctioned insurance at exorbitant rates. Of course, the reason most of those people are uninsured in the first place was because they can’t afford it. Now, under ObamaCare, they must buy it or pay a fine — even though to do so means no food on the table, or perhaps outright bankruptcy. When you are a compassionate liberal on a mission, facts don’t matter. Companies that have decided not to hire new people, or only add part-time people because of the outrageous costs, are attacked as heartless. Of course, the Obama administration changes the rules daily as they exempt labor unions, Congress itself, and certain companies who perhaps just happened to have donated to Obama's campaign. The entire nation is in turmoil over this law that not a single member of Congress read before voting on it (because no printed copy existed). No wonder the TEA Party and about 70 percent of the rest of the nation oppose it. Yet, for that opposition, again the TEA Party faces the charge of rascism.

These are some of the issues that the TEA Party sees as problems in America. They focus on fairness, fiscal responsibility, and fears of government overreach. Yet the attacks against the TEA Party label it as a fanatical fringe element of the Republican Party. Why? Are Americans no longer allowed to speak out on issues? Is political debate to be outlawed? Are we just expected to shut up and take whatever certain elements of our society deem proper?

In the congressional folly just witnessed by the nation over the government shutdown and debt limit, the news media vilified the TEA Party as the root of the problem. Senator Ted Cruz took the lead in trying to stop funding, and thereby enforcement, of ObamaCare. He had very little backing from his own party. He was charged by the news media of trying to force a shutdown and thereby a default of the U.S. Government. The media referred to Cruz and other members of Congress who opposed ObamaCare as a “TEA Party” fringe of the Republican Party.  

It’s interesting to note that as the news media announces the latest polls showing the drop in popularity of the Republicans or the president over the shutdown debacle, they are also detailing polls showing that the battle led to a drop in the popularity of the TEA Party. Apparently, even as the news media wants to bury the TEA Party, obviously what it says matters. And the media is doing all it can to change that. Editorials are pounding on the TEA Party, blaming it for forcing the nation to the brink of collapse. In social gatherings (even some conservative gatherings) one hears negative comments about TEA Party nuts. “If only those nuts would get out of the way.”

Missing from most of these debates, polls, and editorial charges so anxious to blame the TEA Party are the facts that it was the Democrats who stonewalled while immediately labeling any new Republican proposal as dead on arrival. Obama refused to bargain.

Through the well-orchestrated charges against the Republican “fringe” and the clinking of Democrat glasses as they celebrate their “victory” over the TEA Party “nuts,” almost unnoticed was an October 15 report in the New York Post, which revealed that, behind the scenes in Democrat circles, close Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett is being touted as the “architect” of the shutdown. Why? Because it was Jarrett who advised Obama that voters would mostly blame Republicans if the federal government was shut down. That fact would give the Democrats the perfect excuse to allow it to take back control of the House of Representatives. Bottom line: The TEA Party has been set up by professional operatives on the Left in both the Democrat and Republican parties to take the fall.

As this debate over the TEA Party rages, it is vital that Americans understand what the issue is all about. Why is the TEA Party so vilified? Why are Democrats, mainstream Republicans, the news media, and the Washington, D.C., establishment so desperate to kill the TEA Party? Why do they fear it so?   

Why? Because the TEA Party represents a dedicated force that could change the future of the nation away from their well-laid plans for bigger and more powerful government control. The TEA Party asks the hard questions and won’t accept the hot air coming out of government officials. The TEA Party actually believes that when a politician says something on the stump to get their votes, he or she had better stick to those ideas when they get elected. What a concept!

The TEA Party is a throwback to those who founded this nation on the principle that individuals are born with their rights rather than having their rights granted by government, and that government’s job is to protect those rights at all costs. Such ideas in today’s world are a threat to the drive for a well–ordered, well-controlled society. Individuals running amok are a threat and must be kept in their place.

And so, the attack-dog media constantly picks at the TEA Party, trying to show its dark side. Who is its leader, they demand. Who speaks for the TEA? In doing so, the TEA Party is then defined by that so-named leader. Is it Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann? Then every negative thing that could be said about those two could be said about the TEA Party. It’s a divide-and-conquer strategy. Destroy that so-called leader and you destroy the whole movement. Democrat candidates do the same thing in their campaign ads against any conservative opponent. And so, for a news media that can’t seem to find any negative facts about a single government program or Democrat, it digs and digs into the TEA Party to find who leads it? Who funds it? Where did it come from? What does it really want? All questions designed to destroy it.  

Here’s the fact that frustrates the media and the Washington establishment: There is no one leader of the TEA Party. That is its strength. There are many individuals and local groups. It is a true grassroots movement with individual members and groups focused on a variety of issues depending on their location and concerns. There is only one connecting issue for every TEA Party group: a belief that the Constitution of the United States, the document that every elected official pledges to defend, is the law of the land and must be the deciding factor in every action taken by Congress and the federal government. It’s as simple as that.

There is one question every American must now ask after having witnessed Obama and Harry Reid refusing to consider any proposal offered by the Republicans. Is there room in modern America for anyone to object to those in charge? Do Americans have a right to speak out and say no? Do Americans have a right to take action against those policies they oppose? Obama, Reid, and others of their kind across the nation say no. Blind acceptance to their policies and ideas are the only acceptable way in their world. The technical term for such a state is tyranny.

If it frightens you that America, the Land of the Free, has come to such a state, then take a good hard look. Realize what you face in the future if it is allowed to continue. Regardless of whether you agree with the issues or positions of the TEA Party, this is one movement that is protecting the right of opposition and freedom of speech for every American. They have been attacked, called lunatic fringe, racist, and just plain nuts, simply because they believe they have a right, as Americans, to speak out against policies enforced on them by an out-of-control government. And they don’t buckle in the face of overwhelming opposition — because to do otherwise means the end of freedom. The TEA Party.

 

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education, and American sovereignty and independence. Go to americanpolicy.org for more information.

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