(c) 2010 by Tom King
A Republican friend of mine called me a moron today. Well, not me individually, but me as part of the Tea Party Movement. He was saying we blew it because we supported Sharron Angle in the Nevada senate race against Harry Reid and now that's we've got all this junk going on in Congress.
I have a message for Republicans. You go right ahead with the anti-Tea Party, "Tea-baggers are morons" rhetoric. THAT is exactly why the Republicans keep missing big opportunities to fix things. The Republican leadership continues to play politics, hoping to husband a little more power and a little more power, instead of risking doing the right thing whatever it may cost them.
NEWS FLASH TO THE GOP: The Tea Party is not about political maneuvering. The Tea Party is about standing up to those who want to gut the Constitution and steal our liberties from us. Have Republicans lost because of Tea Party action. YOU BET! So what? Mistakes are part of the process of any revolution. George Washington looked for all the world like he was losing the war, right up until he won it! Movements driven by the people tend to be messy and without much in the way of "style".
But such movements are inexorable if they are right!
The essential message of the Tea Party movement is the same as that behind the original Boston Tea Party.
It is an expression of righteous anger and frustration. The Tea Party is NOT about making sure the Republican party controls the Congress. Au' contrere! I'd settle for control by conservative Democrats and so would most of the folks in the Tea Party movement.
Movements are often about sending a message to your own party (or at least the one perceived as most sympathetic to your cause). The message we're sending is that we have had quite enough thank you and that if Republicans want us to help them achieve political power, they damned well better address the issues we care about. If they don't, we'll do it without them. Whether we succeed or not at first, we are true believers, just like the socialists, Islamist, Zionists or whatever "ist" you want to name. We will not bend in the name of expedience. Boy do I hope I am right about that too.
I once had a T-Ball team made up of kids from a treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. We played as a team and everyone was skeptical as to whether the kids would be able to function out in the public, especially something as highly charged as a ball game. Before we started, I told the kids what standard of behavior I expected and what the consequences of poor behavior would be. The kids turned out to be the best behaved team in the league.
Then one day, a local bully picked a fight and three of my boys unloaded a string of profanity at him. He doesn't know how lucky he was that they stopped with profanity and didn't rearrange his face with baseball bats. As a result of the incident, I suspended three of our best players for cursing in public. At our next game, we were losing badly as my three disgraced players watched in misery. One of my direct care people, apparently elected for the job by his fellow staffers, approached me.
"Why don't we put the suspended kids back in the game?" he asked. "It's bad for the kids to be losing like this."
To my surprise, one of the suspended boys who was sitting within earshot spoke up.
"He can't let us play," the boy explained patiently to his counselor. "It wouldn't be fair."
That boy taught us a powerful lesson about right and wrong. He had accepted the conditions under which he was allowed to play ball. He knew cursing would get him a suspension. He lost his temper and violated that condition of play and therefore, under the rules, had to miss a game. That was perfectly right and clear to him.
Remember, this kid came from a horrific home and neighborhood where there was no order and no sense of right and wrong - only what was expedient for survival. Domination by whoever was the most powerful bully in the immediate area was his reality. Rule by mutually agreed upon law was to this boy a relief and a revelation. His counselor's suggestion that winning a baseball game was worth subverting the rule system he had come to depend upon for stability in his world was just too awful for him to contemplate.
We went on to lose that game, but we won the war- with this boy at least.
We may lose some battles, some seats in Congress and even some liberties along the way, but I pray to God the Tea Party movement continues to stand rock solid for the principals outlined in our constitution and that we remain unwilling to compromise those principals in order to gain a little political power for a party that has for too long looked down its nose at the very people who are the party's base.
In the end, it will be those who stand on principle and not on what's best for the party's political position who will prevail. We will not march lockstep with the country club Republicans who seem to think they are our betters, if not our masters. We will not take orders from plastic-haired politicians who consider themselves the elite of our nation and qualified by their money and position to manipulate the rest of us for our own good.
Instead, we will keep on pitching tea over the side, even if it does turn the harbor green; even if we have to do without iced tea for a while. And we will keep pitching until the gold-plated jackasses in Washington, in our state houses and in the mayor's offices hear us. We don't have time to play politics. We have businesses to run, families to care for and T-ball games to coach.
And if Republican know-it-alls want to call us morons, so be it. You guys just try and win your power back without us. In my book you're no more on our side than are the Democrats. At least they make it clear that they have no respect for us and that they want to turn our country into a big old socialist gulag. If it's a choice between "Gulag" and "Gulag Light", I choose "none of the above".