American history tell us that this is a country of patriotic folk heroes, pioneering entrepreneurs and political activists since the colonists first sent a loud and clear message about how they were being misgoverned. Today, constituents who get involved about their frustration with Washington politics in governance have earned an unlikely sobriquet of Tea Partiers, or the contemptuous name of Tea Baggers by their detractors. Whatever we take from the series of national Tea Party Movement events—it is making a difference, as hundreds of thousands attend national events, even though their ideas or ideals may either coincide or collide about the present overspending on social programs, drastic changes in national and international government policies, or the discourse of too rapid-racing laissez-faire and ever-shifting political trends. The “taxed enough already” Tea Party movement was born as an anti-tax and Bush TARP bailout bill protest in October of ’08 and the Obama ARRA Stimulus bill .
The Tea Party movement, rumbling on the national fault line, emerged to symbolize citizens’ outrage about out-of-control government spending, which could lead to the bankruptcy of the greatest country in the world, built on the raw guts and tenacious endeavor of dynamic people, and that good old standby that gets us through the untamed wilderness of risk-taking—individual freedom and capitalism. What can apolitical observers take from the movement, if not, a perspective that citizens have taken robust action to show their outrage and frustration that their voices of patriotic dissent are not heard?
As we navigate the political landscape, we see a trend that active Americans—“We the People” –have molded this nation leaving imprints on policy-making and leaving enduring legacies enriched by vigorous contributions. The results of recent mid-term elections have proven that Americans want better pro-taxpayer representation and politicians who understand the power of their constituents’ influence at the ballot box—and those fence-straddling lawmakers who ignore them may be thrown out of office in November. The historical baggage of out-of-control spending, earmarks, deficits, Federal government debt and unfunded liabilities (related to bankrupt entitlement programs) have driven a lack of confidence in government. Simply stated, Americans are tired of the empty promises and Washington double-talk and are terrified of the mounting debt (approximately $13 trillion) and unfunded liabilities (estimated in excess of $100 trillion).
We must never forget the primary theme running through the nation’s founding: freedom, which included inalienable individual rights such as freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, protections from unwarranted search and seizure, the right to bear arms, the right to a speedy trial and individual property rights. The framework of our government was intentionally limited for the benefit of every single individual versus the state. The Constitution outlined what the government could not do to individuals while providing checks and balances intended to ensure limited citizen government for the benefit of a nation of individuals—the likes of which had never been known. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are not living breathing documents designed for the State. They are blueprints intended to protect every single citizen from centralized government command and control.
America was built with the help of its natural resources and the resourcefulness of its citizens. The Tea Party Movement is a riveting story of grass roots non-partisan like-minded freedom-loving individuals exercising their rights to protest against failed government. Tea Partiers simple believe that representatives should represent citizens, the reason for voting for them in the first place— while fighting for individual freedom, limited government, limited regulation, limited taxes, limited spending, limited debt and defense of our borders.
I attended the Alameda County Fairground Pleasanton Tea Party in April to get a first-hand account of the phenomenon of people of all party affiliations coming together to voice their concerns for the over-spending and dismantling of the constitution by subtle modifications not intended by the constitution framers. The local Tea Party event, spearheaded by Dr Bridget Melson in 2009, states she is “a lobbyist for the people and that the TPM should maintain a level of integrity.” The event attracted over 10,000—estimated by the city of Pleasanton’s Police Department—the media under reporting attendance as 3,000 to 5,000, taking early morning set-up numbers, rather than the actual attendance.
THE BOSTON TEA PARTY
The movement evolved, supposedly from a concerned citizen’s blog that has mushroomed into a national phenomenon translating from the historical dissent of overtaxed colonists. As we remember from history; in 1773, Parliament passed the Tea Act by retaining tax on tea in the American colonies and hand selecting the Loyalist tea consignees. Over one thousand people calling themselves “The Body of the People” gathered at a Faneuil Hall meeting to protest for their rights and question the integrity of the decision, already tax-stressed by the 1764 Sugar Tax Act and the Stamp Act forcing tax on newspapers and legal documents. When the tea ship ‘The Dartmouth’ sailed into Boston harbor, and off-loading the crates was forbidden until all taxes were paid. A decision was made to return the unloaded ship to England, however, Customs Agents declined clearance to leave harbor. About six thousand protesters gathered, leading to 342 chests of tea to be dumped into the harbor. The following year, George III punished protesters with the Boston Port Bill, closing all ocean traffic and placing the town under martial law. When British soldiers destroyed a Concord weapons’ depot, the Battle of Lexington resulted, entering the Boston Tea Party into the annals of American history—becoming a symbolic event of freedom from government manacles and peaceful protest.
The present Tea Party Movement retells the discourse between irresponsible government and the all-party constituents—gathering to protest peacefully the machinations of over-spending, over-taxing and over-reaching fiscal limits—thus taxing the future generations who are not even born yet.
News of the Tea Party protests, in nearly all the fifty states and Washington D.C. is sure to send a very loud and clear message to our chosen legislators to take a long hard look at what the people really want. “Read our lips; no more taxes, no more spending, no more government programs, smaller government”—and listen to the November voters—they are sending very loud messages to Washington.