Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Who Attends Political Tea Parties?

I was recently a scheduled speaker at a couple tea parties.  I felt complimented to be on the program with some very impressive speakers. 
As I looked out over the audience, the first thing I noticed is their age.  Probably half the audience was of retirement age.  The other thing that impressed me was how they were attentive and courteous.  There were no obscene signs or disruptions.  When the events were over, the sites were totally clean.  There was not one scrap of paper.  This respectful behavior certainly did not indicate a lack of passion for the issues.
There are some other things I concluded from talking to people in the audience and listening to the speeches.  The percentage of veterans is much higher than the general population.  These people love their country and have put country before their personal well being in the past. 
I concluded the audience was better informed politically than the general population.  This is good because it keeps the speakers honest and not taking liberties with the facts.
There also seems to be a high percentage of Christians.  Some are concerned about the loss of religious freedom.  Most tea parties are started with the Pledge of Allegiance including “under God”, and an opening prayer.

There are Republicans, Democrats and independents at tea parties.  Many people think tea parties are Republican, which is wrong.  I would guess many were independents like myself.  I would agree the majority of the political candidates supported by the tea party are Republicans simply because more Republican candidates support the same issues as the tea party.  I sincerely wish there were more Democratic candidates that supported these issues. 

So what issues does the tea party support?  The tea party is very fragmented and there are many issues, but opposing a large federal government, out of control federal spending, and federal debt seem to be paramount.  The tea party also supports states rights and individual freedoms guaranteed by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. Supporting individual freedoms and opposition to the redistribution of wealth are also big.  They are opposed to a political elite ruling class making our decisions for us.  In general, the tea party wants federal government reform and not expansion of the federal government.
Does this sound radical to you?  Why does the media and some politicians misrepresent the tea party?  Maybe they are afraid of this non-partisan and truly grass roots movement
It is true that the tea party is fragmented and unorganized.  They are not a political party.  They do not have a platform.  They endorse, but do not have candidates.  There is a lot of civil disagreement on individual issues.  All this is good in my opinion.  I would hate to see the tea party become an organized third political party.

As I looked at these aging tea party attendees, and as I talked to them, I questioned why they were there.  With the exception of health care and more specifically Obama care, most of these issues would probably never affect them personally in their lifetime.
So why do they care if the country expands the power of the federal government and moves toward a European social economic state?  It certainly is not for personal gain.  Maybe, like our founding fathers, they feel passing debt on to future generations is immoral.  The only reason that makes sense is that tea party attendees love this country and are concerned for their descendants and future generations.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Isolationism - Internationalism - Separatism

In the early years of this country, up to the time of World War I, many people in this country advocated a foreign policy of isolationism.  They felt we should just mind our own business, be self-sufficient, and ignore the rest of the world.
Actually, this still does not sound too bad except it is unrealistic in today’s world.  The world has gotten too small and the United States of America is a world power whether we like it or not. 

We have now adopted a foreign policy of internationalism.  We are probably the greatest economic and military power on earth. 
Militarily, we have become the world’s police force.  We have troops stationed all over the world.  We sometime fight wars on multiple fronts.  We may have to fight on foreign lands, but we cannot occupy countries for extended periods of time.  How can we afford this?
We pick allies and we pick enemies, but it never seems to be that simple.  Sometimes we act like middle school kids picking teams.  Sometimes we call evil dictators our allies.  Sometimes we support change like in Egypt when the new President is from Muslim Brotherhood.  The Muslim Brotherhood is probably not our ally.  What were we doing?  
Diplomatically, we give money to countries all over the world.  I don’t agree with giving any foreign country money, but I especially object to giving money to counties that hate us and try to do us harm at every opportunity.  Are we trying to buy their friendship, or are we being blackmailed? 
We make loans to foreign countries that we forgive without payment, while we borrow money from China.  We send aid all over the world when there is any kind of disaster.  How can we afford this? 

Thomas Jefferson and most of our founding fathers advocated a foreign policy of Separatism.  Jefferson described separatism as:

“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with
all nations – entangling alliances with none.”

This makes a lot of sense to me.  Financially we may
not have a choice.  We can’t afford to be the world’s police force.  We can’t afford to send money to every country and corrupt politician in the world.  Disaster aid may need to come from individuals and charitable organizations instead of our Federal government. 

        Jefferson and our founding fathers were pretty smart.  Maybe we need to listen to them and take a closer look at a foreign policy of separatism. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Teach American History and Government  

John Adams, one of our great founding fathers, wrote this to his wife during the Revolutionary War:

“I must study politics and war, that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy.  My sons ought to study mathematics, philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.”

This great country achieved John Adam’s dream, but somewhere along the line we stopped teaching how we got there.  We don’t teach our American history and government as we should, and the history we do teach is often distorted by our academics. 
There are a lot of ideas why this is happening.  I am not smart enough to know why it is happening, but I feel strongly that we need to change our education system to teach about our American history and our republic form of government.

I had a highly educated individual that I have a lot of respect for, respond to one of my blogs that all our government problems could be solved with three Constitutional Amendments.  He had a valid point, but I responded that it was not likely to happen.  His response was that it indeed was not very probable, but it was more probable than getting our schools to teach accurate American history. 
This bothers me.  Why is our American history distorted, and sometimes distorted to point of outright lies.
Thomas Jefferson is one of my favorite Presidents and founding fathers.  I just read The Jefferson Lies by David Barton.  I am appalled at some of the lies I had believed about Thomas Jefferson.   I would highly recommend the book, but it is not an easy read.  Mr. Barton’s research and documentation is beyond question, but makes for a tedious read. 

I am 68 years old, and when I was in high school I had a class in American history and a civics class, which was a study of government and citizenship.  Unfortunately, I probably slept through most of it, but I did get the basics.  Do we teach civics anymore?  I admit that I have learned more about our government and our founding fathers in the last six years than I learned in the first sixty. 

I recently received this test in an e-mail:

A Tough Test :

This test is not supposed to be an easy one.  The website reports that avg. score was 49% and college professors average about 55%.
There are only 33 Questions.
Click Below:

        I find the fact that the average score was only 49% a little worrying, and college professors only scoring 55% is upsetting.  These are the people teaching our kids.  I don’t care what their specific discipline is; they should know how we got the freedoms we enjoy.

        We need to take a critical look at what we are teaching our kids.  We must teach accurate American history and give our kids a good civics course or two.  They are our future citizens, voters and leaders.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Political Elite Ruling Class 

Are we creating a political elite ruling class?  That’s a crazy question, or is it?  Our founding fathers considered public service a duty and not a career.  They never considered that our congressional representatives would be a full-time job or a career.   
Our representatives in Washington now are some of the most powerful people in the world.  The largest corporations in the country feel obligated to donate to both parties in order to court the politician’s favor.  Do the large corporations and special interest groups control our politicians, or do the politicians control them?
The number one concern for many of our Washington politicians is getting reelected.  They make whatever deals and promises necessary to fill their campaign war chests.   Estimates are that members of Congress spend 30% to 70% of their time fundraising for their reelection.  This is when they should be working for their constituents.  Maybe representing us in Washington is a part-time job if they spend that kind of time on their reelection.
Members of Congress are paid well with excellent benefits and retirement.  I find it interesting that the net worth of some politicians seem to increase at a surprising rate considering their compensation. 
As the size of government grows, our political elite becomes more and more powerful.  It becomes clear why our representatives in Washington have little interest in stopping the growth of government.  How can we trust them to cut government spending and government debt when it is not in their personal best interests? 
We have serious debt problem.  We can solve this problem at the polls, but it will require the time and energy to find the facts.  This will be hard because all the special interests will distort the facts to promote the political elites that work for their interests and not the best interests of the country. 
We have to reduce the size of government, government spending and government debt for the sake of future generations.  We now have sixteen trillion in debt.  This is unsustainable and will bring this country down if we don’t change.