19 April 2009

Why I Attended a Tea Party

I've been reading many responses to the Tax Day Tea Parties from folks on the left. Assumptions are being made that don't reflect the thoughts of those on the ground. So, I thought I'd post a short explanation of why I went. I certainly don't speak for everyone.

The ostensible purpose of the Tea Parties was to protest the massive amount of government spending and debt. Susan Roesgen, a CNN reporter in Chicago got it wrong when she argued with the man she was interviewing, trying to remind him that he was getting a $400 tax break. This was about the spending. Even if the government taxed the richest people in the country at 95%, there wouldn't be enough revenue to pay the bill. This means that either everyone's taxes will go sky high or the government will have to inflate the currency, taking away our purchasing power and making our money worth much less (eventually worthless). Our children and grandchildren will be paying for this spending spree one way or another.

However, as unconscionable as the spending is, the spending itself is not the problem; it's merely a symptom of a much deeper problem, namely that the federal government has grown far beyond the limits set by the Constitution and is involved in many areas and issues that aren't mentioned in our founding documents. Our Constitution states clearly that the federal government is bound regarding the areas it can legally be involved in. If the Constitution doesn't give specific authority over a specific jurisdiction to the federal level of government, then the federal government has no authority to do or legislate in that area. Instead, that authority rests with the States and the People. Until more everyday people realize this, we won't really make any progress.

One complaint I've been hearing is that, since these protests didn't happen during the Bush administration with its growth in both government and deficit spending, they're illegitimate. The assumption is that everyone at the Tea Parties supported everything that President Bush did, so now that President Obama is doing multiplied more of the same, we have no right to protest. 

First of all, our right to freedom of speech is still in force, meaning that we do have the right to protest.  There is no statute of limitations on freedom of speech.

Second, for a century the temperature under the ubiquitous and metaphorical frog has been increased, slowly and gradually, from quite cool to hot-tub warm. However, in the last few months, the Obama administration has turned up the fire very hot, very fast. The frog has woken up and is finally jumping out of the pot. 

Third, this wasn't just a protest against the Democratic party.  I've been a registered Republican since I first registered to vote.  I haven't always supported everything the Republican Party stood for, but they were the closest game in town.  Today, I feel like Ronald Reagan: I didn't leave the [Republican] Party, the [Republican] Party left me. This growth of government has been going on for over 100 years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations and Congresses. It doesn't matter who is pursuing big, unrestrained federal government. None of them will get my vote again.  I will continue to examine the record and principles of each candidate and vote for those who reflect the ideas of small, restrained, Constitutional, federal government, no matter which party they represent.  Some of my readers may remember my post regarding my thoughts about whom I would vote for in the past presidential election.  I decided to cast my vote, not for the man whom I thought would make the best president, but for the lesser of two evils (of the two main choices and one for whom I've never voted before, even though I've had plenty of opportunities).  I will never throw away my vote in that way again.  I will no longer try to strategize, but will vote according to principle and my conscience.

I've been hearing lots of talk about the Constitution.  I just finished Mark Levin's Liberty and Tyranny: A Conservative Manifesto.  (Well-written, not earth-shaking for me, but he did give me a few new things to think about.)  I've started Judge Andrew Napolitano's The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land.  (Not far enough into it to have a clear opinion, yet.)  I hope others pick up these books, or others about the Constitution, and begin to educate themselves.  As Ronald Reagan said,
'Freedom is always just one generation away from extinction. We don’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream; we have to fight for it and protect it, and then hand it to them so that they shall do the same, or we’re going to find ourselves spending our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children about a time in America, back in the day, when men and women were free.'

1 comment:

  1. I am glad to see that people did support the Tea Party. Of course the media represented it wrong. They hate true conservatives. There is such a huge bias in the media today, it is scary. I wish I could have gone to a Tea Party.

    Lori in Lakewood, CO