Thoughts on the Tea Party movement
For years, a certain constituency of Americans has been vastly under-served and under-represented. While they may disagree on a number of issues, the members of this constituency agree on a few fundamental things. One is that massive government debt will be a severe burden on future generations and that it is immoral to attempt to improve our short-term circumstances by knowingly jeopardizing our children and grandchildren. Another, related idea is that it is not the role of government to shield us from the consequences of misfortune or poor judgment, but to uphold our rights as we sort it out ourselves. It's a constituency that believes government's role in the life of the individual should be limited, as should it's budget. Issues thus far not involved in this coalition include abortion, gay rights, global warming and other hotly contested subjects that are left for another venue and another group.
This constituency has been left asking "Who will champion our cause? Where's the next Ronald Reagan? Who will defend our position?" Well, on April 15th 2009, they stopped asking and started defending themselves.
The problem with putting your fate in the hands of a political party is that they are really not sets of ideas, they are infrastructures for accomplishing a task; winning elections. As a party, they don't promote a limited scope of ideas or single issues, they adopt a number of issues and positions based partly on commonly held beliefs and partly on political expediency.
The Republican Party has spoken up for limited government and fiscal discipline, but has not lived up to the hype. Also, people who believe in capitalism, limited government and fiscal restraint, but don't tow the party line on other issues are ostracized. The same dynamic takes place in the Democrat party. You have to buy the whole package.
Whether you're liberal or conservative; capitalist, socialist or communist, you have to admire a group that refused to give up when a leader failed to emerge. The followers have become the leaders. This is in clear evidence as conservative politicians and pundits are now falling all over themselves trying to connect themselves to this movement.
I would caution members of this coalition not to allow it to get hijacked by a political party or to try to expand it to cover more issues. This is a unique movement of individuals promoting a specific set of ideas upon which they agree. At stake is whether future generations will work for the state or the state will work for them. Other issues can wait for another day, another rally, a different coalition, a different movement. No one who believes in ensuring the freedom of our descendants need be excluded because they also believe in something else. If we protect and respect each others individuality, we can work everything else out in time.