Several hundred Coloradans gathered yesterday at the state capitol to remind our government officials that we pay the bills. Sponsored by a coalition of independent but like-minded organizations, including the Independence Institute, the rally vigorously reasserted our role 'as citizen-leaders.
Important points were addressed. Paramount were these messages to our state and federal legislators: Stop irresponsible spending and uphold the values of the citizens you represent. We don't want Obamacare. We don't want nannyism. We don't want economy-crippling taxes and regulation.
Judges too were called upon to be held accountable. Because our state supreme court too often condones the governor's and legislature's uncontrolled spending, shouts of "Clear the Bench" rang out.
Speakers and banners proclaimed that we just want the government to stick to its job and let us manage our lives ourselves. Many protesters waved "Don't Tread on Me" flags and "Taxed Enough Already" posters. Others, including me, sported "I Love TABOR" T-shirts. Defending TABOR, our solitary defense against rampant, ever-mounting taxation, was a primary theme.
Another fiscal-restraint rally is scheduled for April 15th, income tax day. Let's keep reminding them that they work for us. And, if they don't listen, we'll vote them out of office in November.
In less than a year well over a thousand independent groups have sprung up around the nation to organize and demonstrate against the attempted government takeover of entire industries, high taxes, crippling debt, and the agenda of President Barack Obama. While many have ridiculed and guffawed about the “teabaggers,” these motivated and angry voters have very quickly shown the ability to raise millions of dollars, target specific political races, grab headlines and media exposure, stage large rallies, and mobilize volunteers.
The Tea (Taxed Enough Already) movement has been defined as populist, conservative, and libertarian in tone. It is a movement diverse in leadership and organization but united in its defense of liberty and the constitution. Its members are technologically savvy and able to mobilize in a moments notice. It is anti-elitist, anti-big government, and anti-big business. It is a revulsion and revolt against perceived corruption and politics as usual. And it the most recent public face of the Liberty Movement that resides on the right side of the ideological spectrum.
It is the winning combination of the common sense principles of less government, fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, state’s rights, and strong national security that is uniting the Tea Party into an effective force to be reckoned with. The mad as hell Teaparticans are the modern-day serfs smashing down the castle gate in an attempt to overthrow their feudal overlords. It is a popular uprising against the political establishment.
The members of the Tea Party first came to national attention when they crashed townhall meetings and held spontaneous rallies and protests around the nation. Couched in terms like “the second Revolution” and “the uprising,” while touting the imagery of the American Revolution, the Tea Party movement is really just a vast amalgamation of factions and independent groups acting outside the old party establishments and organized everywhere from facebook to the fellowship hall in the basement of the church on the corner. But they are mad as hell, and history shows that righteous indignation and the howling mob can definitely threaten entrenched interests and the ruling elite. Whether that energy and drive can be wielded effectively and wisely still remains to be seen.
Those who jeered and poked fun at the 9-12 and Tea party groups just a few months ago now greatly worry about these shock troops of an aroused and angry conservative movement that has dedicated itself to practicing “guerilla conservatism” and challenge the progressive ideology that seeks to regulate, tax, and control nearly every aspect of your daily life. The fainting, worshipful Obamanite crowds of a year ago have been replaced in the street by those who have had enough of a government, and governing party, that is out of control.
With their sea of signs and Revolutionary War flags this particular face of the larger Liberty Movement descended onto Washington D.C. in the hundreds of thousands this past summer (the Million Mob March). It was the announcement to a corrupt establishment that a movement, not a party, was here to contest the agenda, power, and business as usual of the entrenched rich and corrupt that infest both Wall Street and Capitol Hill. It is a movement equally disgusted with corporate bail outs and the socialization of medicine. And in many ways it is not just the Right against the Left, but the little guy against the big guy, the average American against the elite, and the lover of liberty against those who seek to replace it with authoritarian regulation.
The real influence of the Tea Party movement, despite all the media coverage, is yet to be seen. There is a major and nation wide effort to prepare to mount a conservative takeover of the Republican primary and caucus process. Few show up to these important but often neglected grassroots meetings and the fired up and angry rank and file are not just here to oppose the Democratic Party but to make serious inroads into the Republican Party. A third political party is not seen as a viable option at this particular point in time but the takeover of one of the existing ones is seen as possible.
The country club elite and RINO (Republicans In Name Only) who have held sway in the GOP and controlled much of the party apparatus and candidate selection process has no idea how to harness, control, or otherwise exert much pressure on this grassroots uprising against politics as usual. The conservative resurgence is happening despite the GOP, not because of it. Hopefully a rising tide will lift all boats. It was not the conservative movement that lost in November but perceived Bush Republicanism with its poor prosecution of two wars and own policies of big government and big spending. And the Republican presidential nominee was no conservative but in fact the embodiment of traditional party politics and seen as the poster boy of those who sacrifice principle for the sake of expediency and political power.
It will be interesting to see if the momentum fueled by the Tea Party has already peaked or if we are seeing the birth of a long-standing, broad-based, and truly influential phenomenon in the American political process or just a short-lived outburst of frustration with Barack Obama.
The 9-12 Project and Tea Party groups are still in their political infancy but have shown they do have some staying power, the ability to raise millions of dollars to target specific races, and now the attention of both political parties. Not bad for just some ordinary citizens using the internet to organize some rallies and “crash” some townhall meetings on health care. Good for them. I’m glad someone, anyone, is standing up and saying the kind of things that need to be said. One can continue to wallow in ignorance and blind faith in the agenda of the government or one can boldly stand in opposition and declare such things unacceptable for a free people.
There have been complaints that the members of the Tea Party movement are mostly white. Does it matter? Is perceived “diversity” now the only benchmark by which we measure legitimacy of a cause? The movement is an uprising of the ignored middle class. They are the ones who have the most to lose under Obama. All races are welcome in the Liberty movement. You just have to be willing to detach yourself from the teat of government handouts and dependency to be a member.
If anything, the Tea Party rebellion is more about class, not race. In the Great Recession it was the middle class that took a huge hit with severe job losses and foreclosures in the millions. The middle class is the heart and soul of the nation and when it feels ignored and betrayed it will strike out at those who it sees as having abandoned it. It is they who are feeling the greatest effects of both the recession and government policies. The rich will always be rich, and the poor will be poor, (but not too much poorer due to the wide social safety net we have constructed), but it is the middle class who have watched big government bail out big business with their money even as they lost their jobs, their savings, their retirement, and their homes. At the same time they see a massive grab for power by a government who sees them as little more than someone to be taxed and controlled. And occupying the oval office is the most leftist and radical president to every hold the office. It is upon such fertile ground that the message of the Tea Party and 9-12 groups has fallen with amazing results. Their anger at Washington, big business, and big government has provided a third force in politics, at least for the time being, that scares the Left and challenges the political class and politics as usual.
Stunned by the virtual overnight mobilization and organization of an angry, high-tech, middle class, right-wing uprising against Obama’s rapid march towards European socialism, the Left has crashed from its hopey-changey high to find itself faced with some serious problems. Progressivism is an ideology of continual movement and motion. It is protest speeches and gatherings, lesbian brown bag lunches, and marches about “the struggle” for (insert favorite pet cause here – no blood for oil, civil rights, gay rights, animal rights, gender equality, nuclear disarmament, saving the polar bears etc). With the pinnacle finally reached by what they saw as the election of one of their own they seemed to have finally collapsed from exhaustion as they declared a paradigm shift, the exile of anyone to the right of Hillary to wander in the political wilderness for a generation, and the much heralded thousand-year reign of He who would slow the rising of the oceans.
They seemed to have passed the mantle of energy, rebellion against the status quo, and anti-establishment anger to the peasants who had been toiling in the fields and serving as the backbone of the state even while the agitators agitated and the community organizers organized. The Tea Party types have emerged from their “exile” in the political wilderness with a righteous indignation that has frightened the ruling classes and shaken the corrupt cabal that controls the capitol. Armed with tweets and facebook, pitchfork and torch, they are the most visible image of the uprising of the Right against those who would force us down the road to serfdom.
Latecomers, politicians, and opportunists attempt to glob onto any movement but that doesn’t diminish the validity of their anger, the righteousness of their outrage, or the power of their principles. The Tea Party movement is now a vast amalgamation of political novices and virgin activists working side by side with professional opinion setters and grizzled conservative veterans of the culture wars. The question really is whether or not it is all “too little, too late” or a popular outrage and uprising that is “just in nick of time.” That answer is not yet known and remains to be seen.
David Huntwork is a conservative activist and independent columnist in Northern Colorado where he lives with his wife and three young daughters. He is the author of the book No Apologies: In Defense of Common Sense and the Conservative Ideology which can be purchased at http://stores.lulu.com/store.php?fAcctID=3576295.Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions at DaveHuntwork@juno.com. You may also view his bio and past columns at: http://DavidHuntwork.tripod.com.
('76 Contributor) A personal viewpoint is hereby submitted by William Dent Sterrett III, this date February 6, 2010. In honor of the Founding Fathers and the United States Constitution, and as a proud member of the Posterity, so eloquently referenced in our Constitution (with its intent to secure "the blessings of liberty" to this generation as well as the framers' own generation), I hereby share my earnest and energized thoughts regarding our great and thriving nation. This position statement is presented for consideration, deliberation, and response.
We the Posterity…steadfastly believing in the innate rights and blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, do hereby state our goals and principles to better promote the common good for all law abiding citizens.
We the Posterity…further proclaim our resolve for compassionate, dignified, and constructive relationships that emphasize the general welfare.
We the Posterity… embrace and celebrate the collective spirit, wisdom, and resourcefulness of a unified and responsible national community.
We the undersigned will exercise our voting rights and responsibilities with due diligence while seeking out candidates for public office who clearly and inspiringly address the following position statements:
1. The overwhelming majority of our population entails law abiding citizenship. It is imperative that leadership exercise bold vision centered on outcomes that provide for the common good while addressing the vital issues that affect our sovereignty and security. The United States of America, as the premier governing nation, must continue to be universally viewed as a highly respected and representative governing body that will protect her own interests and come to the aid of other lawful nations, especially in times of crisis. The United States of America must be one of the leaders in modeling and holding others accountable to standards that disavow self-serving ambitions at the expense of universal law, ego-thumping rhetoric, arrogance, and exaggerated attempts for personal or national attention. Our nation must remain strong in rhetoric and military readiness.
2. The 911 Commission, the Iraq Study Group, and other distinguished bipartisan groups formed for the common good should convene regularly with diverse and fluid membership. The on-going findings and recommendations should be made public and fully honored with deliberate resolve for a better United States of America. The People should also hold the three branches of government accountable for a conscious awareness and appropriate actions regarding the recommendations of these commissions and study groups. The specific strategies recommended by the 911 Commission, for example, include a balanced use of: military action, diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement, economic policy, foreign aid, public diplomacy, and homeland defense. It is important to note that the magnitude and profound meaning that results from a comprehensive product of considered thought, reflection, and humble agreement among a representative group of the Posterity should not ever be diminished or ridiculed because of personal agendas or biases. 3. Immigration reform should be implemented immediately based on the best collaborative work of the executive and legislative branches. It is entirely reasonable to expect sooner, rather than later, a comprehensive package of provisions that reflect a society dedicated to high ideals. Resourceful and informed individuals should be consulted with regard to the market for immigration, all the pertinent aspects of legal entry into our country, and the ramifications of no clear law. Mean-spirited comments and actions that presume to place blame serve no useful purpose.
4. The United States of America has historically and dramatically been a party to resolving problems and crises throughout the world. The United States of America must continue with pragmatic leadership while sharing the high ideals of a republic firmly grounded in democracy and freedom. The United States of America must energetically and rightfully project a positive image and command honored recognition while advocating and committing to assist and facilitate other countries with their needs particularly with regard to poverty. This entails deliberate action regarding engaged, visible, and reportable diplomacy.
5. Candidates for public office should articulate clear and sensible strategies concerning law enforcement, budget practices, justice, public education policies, health care, social security, and purposeful living by all citizens. Candidates should also demonstrate fair and honorable campaign practices.
6. Energy policies that recognize the underlying economic, political, and power-orientation problems, as well as the not too distant shortage potentials with current energy sources, should be aggressively studied. Measured and informed proposals regarding new forms of energy and strategies should be presented for public consideration within a reasonable timeline. Our citizenship is blessed with creative minds and entrepreneurs who have solid and practical ideas and solutions with regard to our escalating demands. They should be sought out, welcomed, and engaged in active problem solving.
7. Health care is the responsibility of all. Why would an individual not have some kind of health care plan? Some can easily address this basic necessity. Others have pretty decent coverage, albeit at hefty expense. And others, of course, do not possess the resources for any kind of coverage. When in dire need, they almost always will be treated, but at whose expense? The People. And that is fine, but reality dictates that there must be a better way to conduct the business of health care. So, it is time for the great and passionate experts to come together and get this down on paper. Let us develop a plan where everything is laid out, and we clearly state how we will pay for a better plan.And, as always, that plan will evolve into a better one as the years go by. That’s just the American way.
There will always be evolving measures for the betterment of ourselves and our Posterity.
Reference the Preamble to the Constitution of the United States of America, September 17, 1787:
We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty, to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
The collective wisdom of the People is of paramount importance. We must continue to step forward and clearly speak as one to promote the honorable and rational aspirations of our great nation. Our country was founded through courage, high energy, and passionate convictions. We, the Posterity, must seek out leaders who honorably, conscientiously, and properly serve the People and the Constitution of the United States of America. We, the Posterity, are charged with carrying on the work of our Founding Fathers.
We are the Posterity. How will we follow through? How will we carry on? What is our role in a better United States of America and world community?
Our noble work continues.
Bill Sterrett of Golden, Colorado, retired in 2003 as a master teacher in history and other subjects after 30 years with Jefferson County Public Schools.
(Denver Post, Dec. 6) All that is covered shall be revealed, promises the Good Book. It’s the perfect motto for America’s open society. Secrets are fools’ gold. Leaks will out. Thanks to a leaker at East Anglia University, we now know climate change isn’t cooking the planet after all. Climate alarmists are cooking the data.
Meanwhile in Colorado, leakers are heating up the governor’s race. A week after the election, someone scooped Josh Penry’s plan to end his candidacy against Gov. Bill Ritter. A week later, someone else scooped Scott McInnis’s plan to unify Republicans around an issue contract. I’ve got this week’s leak.
A confidential memo from inside the McInnis campaign showed up under my doormat. The authors call themselves the Skunk Works. The address line says, “Eyes Only: Mighty Mac,” and the subject reads: “The Carter Question and the Treaty of Fifth Avenue.” This is pure journalistic catnip, Pulitzer-quality stuff. Let me quote:
“Boss, to say you had a good November would be like saying Elway could pass a little. Last month was terrific. Overnight you’re the consensus nominee, endorsed by past and present GOP icons from Owens to Tancredo to Penry, and your Platform for Prosperity puts Republicans on offense with all three big issues – jobs, jobs, and jobs. Plus the platform’s tough stance on taxes, spending, illegal aliens, and crime erases your Washington taint as an ex-congressman.
“Ritter is now the one weighed down with Beltway baggage and on the defensive for his linkage to an Obama stimulus that didn’t stimulate. With total jobs in Colorado actually below 2006 levels, you can score big next fall with the old Jimmy Carter question on whether voters are better off than four years ago. Obviously not, so it’s time for Mac at quarterback.
“But since our job as Skunkers is to pipe in reality, not spin flattery, here’s the other side. With this new platform appearing to be written for you by powerful rivals, you’re in the awkward position of Nixon in 1960 when his issues were dictated by Rockefeller. Divisions over the so-called ‘Treaty of Fifth Avenue’ helped defeat the ticket. We need to change the 2010 story line, and fast.
“The potential winning message of the Platform for Prosperity is threatened by party grumbling and PR vulnerability. Pundits, both left and right, scoff that our agenda is too vague to attract swing voters. Many of the GOP faithful are saying we prefer insider manipulation instead of inclusiveness. Some worry that you won’t run hard on the platform, or fight for it if elected. What’s the McInnis response?
“To quiet the complaints on process, do three things. Hold grassroots platform hearings with Republicans across the state. Let assembly delegates choose your Lieutenant Governor, possibly Dan Maes. And gain endorsements from Bob Schaffer and Bob Beauprez at whatever cost, finally healing the breach from your ’06 and ’08 jabs at them.
“As for issues, Skunkers say go full throttle. Dramatize your platform with specifics. For job creation, pledge to zero out the corporate income tax. Colorado would boom! Roll out ballot issues to fortify TABOR and to let health insurers from any state write coverage here. Dare the legislature next spring to pass a top-10 list of prosperity bills. Call for voting down at least one member of our constitution-shredding Supreme Court, perhaps labor hack Michael Bender.
“Remember, Boss – McCain lost the presidency partly because millions of people feared his moderate mushiness would doom American conservatism if he won. If we don’t catch the wave of tea parties and townhalls, that could be your political obituary as well. But channel your inner Palin the next 300 days, and Ritter’s job is yours!”