A Tea Party?
I know some of my friends and family support the tea party movement, and some are barely aware of it. I got myself involved during one of the first waves around tax day, shortly after Rick Santelli’s rant on CNN that seemed to start a movement.
I was moved….as a believer in the fundamentals of small government and low taxes, I was horrified at the way our government was forsaking the free market and individual rights principles in favor of an expanding government designed to centralize decision making at the highest of levels. In fact, I continue to look on in wonder as the cabal of government and big business continue to weave a their self serving webs, with obvious conflicts of interest and nary a word of any sort of consequence past a tsk, tsk (or not) from the guardians of the truth media or leaders from either party……but I digress.
As most of you know, I always enjoy expressing my thoughts in verse, and so back around that time, I started thinking about how to concisely express my many frustrations. So, I did some research, wrote out some ideas and wrote a Tea Party Protest Poem. I found the organizers of the local event and presented myself and my poem at their meeting and was invited to share it with the crowd.
That day, April 15, ’09, was a picture perfect, blue sky day and it was so exciting to read it for 2k+ people gathered at the Plaza of the Flags in the center of the court district in Santa Ana, all there in support of the idea of the original Boston Tea Party.
That original Tea Party, in 1773 was indeed a repudiation of a tax on tea, but it was really so much more. …It was really the straw that broke the camel’s back and came after a series of actions including the Stamp Act (1765), the Townsend Acts (1767) and the Boston Massacre (1770). With a huge war debt, King George looked to the productive and industry rich colonies to help pay the debt after the French and Indian War.
The crown tried to mollify the colonists, by enacting a law with the tax that actually offered the colonists thier tea (a staple in that time) for significantly less than they were used to paying. But the free market patriots of the day understood that this was not just about the price of tea. In fact, it was about the governments right to control its citizens by the levying of taxes in a system that uses taxation to promote favoritism over one based on market demands.
But the colonials had a rich heritage, steeped in the lessons of the success and failures from the descendants of the original settlements in 1607 in Jamestown, 400 years ago. The Jamestown settlers came and started out practicing European style communal socialism and they all but starved to death. Over the next 200 year, in a ruthless and unregulated world, a free market emerged and thrived and industry grew. People poured in from all over the world to take advantage of a land where minimal governence, tax and regulation led to the largest explosion of humanity in history.
There was no central design, there was no plan, but what there was, was the freedom to innovate, to experiment, to live or die by the success of your ideas and ingenuity, the ability for the man born to the lowliest of stations to rise to the top with no social caste system to stop him, dependant only on his own skills and determination. The world recognized this revolution in thinking, the lack of a lord, the lack of a feudal taxation and control system, recognized the opportunities this held for each individual and so they came.
So when old King George thought he was going to simply pass a few laws, enact a couple of new taxes and solve his problems by soaking the rich colonies across the ocean, he had no idea that he was no longer dealing with a citizenry who’s history was one of a people who had been conquered and conquering for centuries. These New Americans, unlike those before them, now had a history of self rule and free market regulation. These new subjects’ make-up was one of a people who had seen first hand the grace of growth and innovation the principles of freedom had offered them.
This was the beginning of the American Revolution as a new breed of man, a new way of thinking came into being. A new independant land and a new independant thinker took matters into his own hands, and after shrugging off the chains of tyranny, came together to discuss and decide what kind of laws would suit this new land. The Founding Fathers, did not simply “think up” a bunch of good ideas and then assemble them into a document that offered procedural guidance for their newly fought for nation. On the contrary they looked to the great minds of history and agreed on the few central principles, based on what they called “Natural Law” that would provide the foundation to guide all future decisions and laws. I am so looking forward to exploring these in coming blogs.
So what does this all have to do with our modern day Tea Parties….well for me, the path is crystal clear. Our founders gave us this system of checks and balances to help ensure our nation can resolve her differences intact and in affect without violence through the electoral system. The New Tea Party movement, like the original in Boston, certainly has to do with a protest about taxes. Taxes affect our money and our money affects the life we lead and the things we can provide for our family. By taxation, the government can influence your buying behaviors and countless other decisions. The unlimited spending and quadrupled deficits will ultimately lead to higher taxes and we all know it, no matter how many times to the contrary we are told it will not.
Our current day protest, though, is about more: it is about speaking out against our government’s decisions to continue its reckless spending and borrowing; its speaking out against the nationalization of private industry; it is speaking out against the ignoring of the rule of law and the slow subversion of our rights to control the world around us. In addition we are reaching out to the people, to wake up and understand that the responsibility of a functioning society belongs to the citizens. As we vote, we must look for those who represent the same values, the same ones the framers identified as essential to avoid the shift of powers from ones that support our individual freedoms to one whose support and control may be hidden behind the beneficence of a system that is designed to take care of you.
We the people must rid Washington of a government by the government and for the government by insisting that our representatives adhere to the basic precepts that protect our freedoms, protect our rights. More often our elected officials seem to forget they are elected to serve the people and instead see their role as the secret doorway to a club that the rest of us will never experience. Suddenly their role is to see how much stuff they can give away to the folks in their constituency so they can continue to be elected and live the life of perks a US congressman or senator is afforded.
I believe most go to Washington with the best of intentions to serve the people and change the world, but then they must get sucked into the life of Riley of private drivers, private dining, private health clubs and health care, no real accountability on issues like attendance or even voting record for the most part. Soon the job your representatives is doing is voting on what is best for him and his party and position and all about his ability to get get re-elected above anything else.
With an incumbency rate in both Senate and Congress of > 90%, why should we expect any less. And yet, we have the power in our own hands to support those who support the original ideals of our founders.
The power is and always has been We the People, if only we can wake up and remember our responsibilities to the freedoms we were so generously ceded by generations before us. What does your representative stand for? Do the laws he votes for make your life easier or harder? (hint, if they increase spending and add to taxes or increased prices, the answer is always harder). How can he represent your views if you do not make them know?
With our current administration, continuing the misguided actions begun at the end of the last administration, ignoring the balances that the market requires by bailing out business, and on top of that hand picking CEOs, naming salaries, overruling existing bankruptcy laws, go-mingling the head of a supporter company on the Fed Reserve Board, appointing senior advisers with questionable backgrounds without benefits of the constitutionally mandated congressional oversight and approval (and who were obviously allowed in despite their inability to get a security clearance to visit the white house….)anyway….the point is, all actions of an administration who has no interest in adhering to the principles in the constitution but instead pursue an agenda of the statist with a centralized control of all decisions making. This is of course a direct anathema to what the framers envisioned…. and so…….I protest.
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