By Tom Tillison
I remember the very first tea party I attended, just under a year ago. How incredibly exciting it was to see so many conservative citizens coming together to speak out on the issues that I saw as threatening to our country. It was encouraging, even heart warming, as I looked around me and realized that were so many who felt the same way I did. It was almost surreal to see conservative folks taking to the streets…’we never do that’, I thought! Everyone seemed to agree on the principles of the battle that loomed, recognizing that the political process was broken on both sides of the isle, and that it was up to we, the people, to bring about the change so desperately needed to secure the future of this great nation. From that moment on, I knew that I was in this fight to the end.
Now, after being intimately involved in the tea party movement for the better part of the past year, my thought is ‘what a difference a year makes’! I’m not sure whether it’s the Marxist leaning regime currently in control of government that has me so dismayed, or if it’s the tea party movement itself. Those who purport to represent this movement seem to have completely forgotten that is was love of country and concern for the future our children inherit that brought so many people to the battle. The movement has evolved into a constant power struggle, no different from the very political parties that everyone loves to hate. Everyone jockeying for position and tearing down those around them to ensure their rightful place at the top. And, now that the media has begun to accept the movement, you see this ruthless struggle intensify. In the eyes of many, the real enemy seems to be the person standing next to them, the one who poses a danger to the exposure that may be gained by being involved in the movement, not the radical ideologues that control government.
In light of this, it seems that the only logical course of action is to move away from the tea party movement. I am reminded of the comment Ronald Reagan made about the Democratic party; ‘I didn’t leave the Democratic party. The party left me’. That is where I find myself today; I didn’t change the reasons I got involved, the movement has changed it’s priorities. We need to realize that the movement has always been we, the people. We don’t need a cute title, nor do we need others to define what is or is not acceptable. All we need to do is to rely on our own values and moral compasses. The same qualities that were evident when well over a million of us convened on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol, and left those grounds cleaner than we found them.
I contend that from this day forward, that I, and others who feel as I do, be know as ‘concerned citizens’. As concerned citizens, we understand that we must educate ourselves on the issues. We also understand that America is a two party system, and that third parties are nothing more than spoilers. We recognize that this movement has always been about conservative values, and that there is but one viable party that best represents those values. We also understand that this party is far from what we want it to be, however, we know it’s our responsibility to get involved to ensure that it does come to reflect our values. We reject the cop out that it’s the politicians and parties that are at fault, seeing this as the easy way out that allows us to avoid owning up to our own failures. We understand that our role does not end when we elect those who claim to represent our values, that our responsibility has only just begun, and we commit to holding our representatives accountable for their actions, even if they are from ‘our’ party. We will no longer allow the fox to guard the hen house, as we know the outcome is predictable when we do. We understand that our founding fathers always intended it to be we, the people, who guard our liberty.
Let us all pray that the tea party movement dies a natural death, and in it’s wake, a new army of concerned citizens emerges, ready to take it’s rightful place in the governing of America. It is only then that we can be sure that our children, and our children’s children inherit the country our forefathers envisioned so many years ago…
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