On the ‘Tea Party’ Movement

The New York Times ran with an article today about the so-called ‘Tea Party’ movement and, to my pleasant surprise, it was a relatively fair and correct piece. The Times writers and editors couldn’t help but throw in some digs here and there to make it look ‘fringy,’ but the article generally presents an accurate cross-section of the main opinions and backgrounds within the movement.

It does not present the ‘Tea Party’ as some political fabrication of the Republican Party, which would be a complete misrepresentation of the truth. On the contrary, the movement eschews any political party involvement. It is a grass-roots, loosely-organized cadre of individual citizens with widely disparate beliefs (including both the mainstream and radical fringe).

What holds the group together, relatively speaking, is belief in a tightly limited federal government, a desire to end needless deficit spending, and a ‘strict constructionist’ read of the U.S. Constitution and all of the Bill of Rights—not some editorial selection thereof that mysteriously omits the 2nd, 9th, and Tenth Amendments.

Most ‘Tea Party’ participants—and sympathizers like me who hold at least some related or overlapping views—oppose big-government politicians and policies, whether they be Republican or Democrat, and fear that our federal government is becoming despotic. It’s not much of a leap, really; in fact, I think it’s hard to argue our government isn’t becoming far too powerful at our expense. Go read the enumerated powers listed in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution, then read the Tenth Amendment again, and tell me with a straight face that the federal government isn’t overstepping its Constitutional authority.

After decades of mostly big-government Presidents and Congresses (again, both Republican and Democrat), we who believe in a strictly limited government are quite seriously concerned about the direction of our country. We see the Republic teetering on the brink of its own destruction. We despised and opposed the mad deficit spending under President George W. Bush (R), and we despise and oppose the four-times-bigger deficit spending under President Barack Obama (D) four-times more vehemently—and will continue to do so.

Now, however, we have greater numbers. Millions of Americans who had been apathetic about the direction of our country before are quickly coming around to our point of view, primarily because of the ongoing Bush/Obama bailout bonanza that started in 2008. Most Americans saw this for what it was: the elite helping the elite at our expense, without our permission, and without any benefit to us. Is it any wonder that a majority of Americans look at the health care bills making their way through Congress (for example) and don’t believe that they are really being crafted in their best interest either?

I’m glad that people finally seem to be waking up to what is going on in the halls of power, and I hope that they will put their anger into action at the voting booth before, as Thomas Jefferson so aptly put it, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed . . . with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.