The call rang out Feb. 19, 2009, when Rick Santelli, a Chicago stock commentator, voiced his now famous rant over the bail out of delinquent mortgages. His "call" was for other outraged Americans to push back, against the moral and economic tyranny of big government, with the modern day equivalent of a Boston Tea Party.
Today our government rewards bad behavior at the expense of those who play by the rules, pay their taxes and live responsible lives. For decades a collective "we" allowed this assault to our civil liberties and family values, the growth of all levels of government and faceless regulation, and the theft of our property through monumental debt.
Overnight an electronic firestorm turned frustration into action as
websites sprang up, emails swept the nation and self-proclaimed patriots
began networking. The common denominator to this grassroots movement is
liberty from government's unconstitutional control over our lives.
These patriots esteem the Constitution, demand smaller government,
understand the importance of free markets, and expect fiscal
responsibility. These values strike at the core of how they live their
When the April 15, 2009, Tax Day rally became a national event, most
protesters were shocked to see the size of the crowds. The universal
realization was the comfort in knowing that there were other like-minded
patriots. This became the beginning of everyday Americans taking their
government back to its foremost mandate, "Governments are instituted
among Men, deriving their just Powers from the consent of the governed."
Unbelievably, the rally was ignored by our mainstream media and the
opposition took a now-familiar stance. What was shocking was hearing our
elected leaders, including our President, vilify average Americans, who
for the first time in their lives, dared to voice their grievances. The
more the opposition mocks, dismisses, marginalizes and brands the Tea
Party as home-grown terrorists, bigots and racists, the more it
galvanizes these novice protesters and the more the movement grows.
To understand the Tea Party, one needs to look at their actions and
listen to what they are saying. Contrast these protests to those
against the f World Trade Organization; these are not the same people.
Every Tea Party rally has been non-violent, no property has been
destroyed and every location has been left spotless. While these
protesters are frustrated they are respectful and law abiding;
furthermore there is no hatred.
The argument could be made that there is irrational hatred towards
the Tea Party. If Americans are to embrace the "anti-war,"
"environmental" and "anti-corporate" protests as exercising their free
speech and if these protesters can receive the accolades of elected
leaders and the media, then why is there so much hatred expressed toward
a grass-roots group of everyday Americans?
Could it be that the deeply held prejudices of the opposition are
projected on these self-proclaimed patriots? One could argue that the
opposition is guilty of the accusations they're leveling against people
they choose not to understand. How can this locally organized national
movement - standing on the principles of the Constitution - pose a
threat? If so, who is threatening whom?
The Tea Party's non-violent agenda is about upholding the
Constitution. It protests irresponsible big government and the growing
debt, over-reaching and over-regulating bureaucracies, political party
hacks, and those who sheepishly follow the institutional machine over
serving the people. This movement represents the common everyday person
who wants to preserve the key to the American experience: life, liberty
and the pursuit of happiness.
Is a Tea Party member a patriot or a bigot? Find out for yourself by
visiting a local chapter's January meeting:
In Del Norte County, the Tea Party will meet for a potluck tonight
from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Fairgrounds Arts and Crafts Building. Call Dean
and Mary Wilson for more information, 464-5616.
Karen Brooks of Arcata was the Republican candidate last year for
the state Assembly First District seat, which includes Del Norte County.