The Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow of the Tea Party

Freedom Tea Party

Some cry that our elections have shown less than democracy at its best. Technically, they’re right because we are a republic, not a democracy. But, I am as shocked at the rough tactics in American elections as Capt. Renault was in the film “Casablanca” to discover there was gambling in the casino. Face it, politics is a bumpy road.

If you want a polite pastime, politics is not for you. It is not a drawing room. It is an arena. Just as American football mimics warfare — 22 men in armor fighting over territory with generals (coaches) calling the shots to field commanders (quarterbacks) — so do elections substitute for revolutions. In political-science class, we were once taught that Americans have a kind of “revolution” built into our system. We can change government without bloodshed.

We are witness at this moment to historical events that validate the genius of constitutional authority in setting out the duties of the government, the rule of law, the rights of the individual and personal responsibility in the pursuit of happiness.

People in the Soviet bloc communist countries were once forced to appear happy. And today, are people currently really happier in China as the progressive/socialists suggest? To them, China is the new collectivist role model for progress in in the world. The harsh reality is that many people living under an oligarchy such as those in China, Cuba and North Korea are controlled and kept in the dark. They know that many of the things they are told are lies but have no sense of power short of a revolution.

America is designed to be different. In electing officials, we can change our leaders without having to resort to lowering ourselves by using a guillotine or a Molotov cocktail, like many of the other nations which now criticize us. This was, and remains, an innovation of historic importance, our gift to mankind.

Our Constitution provides for a civilized transition of government every two or four years. Elections take longer than revolutions to effect change, but even the nastiest campaigns are much more conducive to stability than the alternative. Be proud of it. Partake of it. Vote! And, come November, vote as if your life and the lives of all of your descendants depended on it, because it does. We have reached the critical hour.

Whether realized or not, we Americans carry Tea Party principles deep in our national DNA. That is the reason the Tea Party movement has struck a chord within the average American and has soared so quickly. That is why our rallies are powerful, joyful, peaceful and exciting. In that core lies the source of all our unity, energy and strength. And America will survive as a republic, because Tea Party values exist, and must and will remain alive and relevant.

Our commitment will not vanish, the way some may wish, nor turn bloody, as some may fear ... or in a worst case, desire. Our strength comes from a calm, sure place, too deep in our national soul to disappear merely because one election is over. Tea Party values will endure for the next election and the next, because the ideals we hold dear existed long before the Tea Party had a name.

The Tea Party does not have to form a third organization and by doing that perhaps divide and dilute its effectiveness. It only has to awaken our fellow Americans to the values we already have in the Constitution, defended by generations before us. Let the Constitution be our compass. And let’s not tamper lightly, by the bench, by legislation or by fiat, with a document so carefully constructed for the benefit of all.

And what are some Tea Party ideals? The primary one is that the proper role of government is to protect individual rights; that government should not devour the people, or burden them by sucking up the profits of their hard work. Just as every citizen should be accountable for his actions, every government official must be held to the same high standards. If a law is not good enough for our representatives, it is not good enough for the people.

To those who would deny voters power and a voice on spending the people’s money, tremble. To those who “game” the bureaucratic system, game over. To those who only follow the letter but not the spirit of the law, your duplicity will be your downfall.

The Tea Party is not going away. It is movement which above all else calls for personal and public integrity. You can never have your integrity stolen. You have to sell it to the highest bidder or throw it away. Integrity and time are all that anyone really possesses. Our time here is measured. Let our courage and integrity stay strong so that we may do the work that has to be done, peacefully and with a valiant heart.

The time and energy we put into the Tea Party today will reap rewards far beyond our location and our years. We the people have a chance to right this ship of state and send it into the future, following its proper course. And in doing so let us hope we will have earned the right to call ourselves Americans.

Barry Willoughby

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