Reflections on the Tax Day Tea Party
By Dr. Robert Owens
"Were you there?" That's the question I think many people will ask in the future when the subject of the Tax Day Tea Parties comes up, "Were you there?"
As I drove up to the site of the Tea Party even though it was cold and there was a persistent drizzle in the air there were massive lines of people converging on the park. Many had signs, all were orderly and the traffic was gridlocked. After finding a parking spot I joined a flowing stream of people and walked the five blocks to the large central park where the event was taking place. As I walked along there was some friendly discussions going on as people turned up their collars against the cold wind and either carried their umbrellas or wished they were.
As we got closer to the park additional streams of people joined us until we were a river and by the time I entered the park I was part of a flood of humanity that covered the large park and extended out into the adjoining sidewalks and malls. I later learned the park's capacity was approximately 3,000 and estimates of the crowd went as high as 5,000.
We all joined in the pledge of allegiance and the singing of our national anthem and then the speakers started. One after another people spoke about the need for the citizens of America to re-assert their control over our national government. The cheers and jeers of the crowd rose and fell like the tide in a narrow estuary. Both political parties were booed. Any mention of the stimulus or the bail-out bills received a similar fate. Whenever anyone spoke of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Founders or the Bill of Rights great cheers filled the air. This crowd though decidedly non-partisan was definitely pro-American, pro-freedom and pro-capitalism.
Some of the signs were interesting. Here's a few that caught my eye. One little girl held one that asked, "Where's my free pony?" A little boy near her held one that said, "I'm only 9 and I'm already more than $36,000 in debt." More signs proclaimed some variant of "Stop Spending!" than I could count. Others I recall said, "Congress has betrayed us!" "Don't re-elect anyone" and "We owe how much?"
The large crowd was peaceful and friendly throughout. Though obviously highly charged and strongly motivated it was the best-behaved crowd I've ever seen. From beginning to end I felt a sense of being part of something special as I participated in what may well have been the largest, most widespread demonstration in American History.
The liberal media says this was all trumped up and paid for by billionaire Republicans out to build up resistance to a Democrat controlled government and America's first president of African descent. Trying through innuendo to imply the event and the movement behind it are racist, partisan and therefore illegitimate. I saw no evidence of any of this. The participants were young, old and in between, as well as every color in the spectrum.
I have been part of a local group who were involved from day one in the planning and execution of the Tea Party in my area and everything was done by volunteers. The money was raised 100% from personal donations and a few small local businesses with familiar names. The leaders include homemakers, mechanics, tradesmen, students, business people and retirees. And as one sign said, "Hey ACORN: Nobody paid me to be here!"
When trying to analyze this event I have no frame of reference and nothing that makes a direct comparison. I have been involved in many political campaigns I've gathered crowds for speeches and I've been gathered by others. I've rung door-bells, handed out literature, worked the polls, the phones, written speeches, organized campaigns and staffed offices and this was nothing like any of that. As the emails fly back and forth as websites, Face Book and cell phones spread the news, anyone who is connected knows this is a grass-roots effort that defies the molds the mere observers are trying to shove it into.
Where will it lead and what does it mean?
To the first question, where will it lead I have no idea. Having been raised in Chicago the ideas that you can't fight City Hall and that the fix is in run deep. The Democrat majority combined with their RINO fellow travelers is large enough to push through anything they want and they want it all. Just look at the bills already passed and you know calling the switchboard and sending emails isn't going to stop these statists from ramming through their long sought after collectivist agenda. Listen to the mainstream media today and you will hear that all our tea parties mean nothing to the liberal establishment. So where is it going to go? This train may have to jump the tracks to get to the station.
As to the second question, what does it mean? I believe this means that the American people are finally rising up in their righteous anger. They are tired of being led one step at a time down the road to serfdom. As they see the gate closing on the shearing pen they've begun to stand up and shout "We aren't sheeple! We're people!"
Americans have finally been awakened out of their stupor and they see our leaders from both parties are two wings of the same bird of prey but we aren't mice caught out in the open we're the descendants of the Minute Men, the children of the Founders, the next generation of Patriots who will boldly declare, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their safety and happiness." Let tyrants and their stooges beware, they have roused a sleeping giant, "We're the governed and we don't consent!"
Dr. Robert Owens teaches History, Political Science, Religion, and Leadership for Southside Virginia Community College. Contact Dr. Owens. © 2009 Robert R. Owens