Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We Must all Hang Together

First, I wanted to thank Chicago Bungalow for inviting me to sit on the stoop for a while. I was just passing by, and asked if CB had any idea what the Tea Party movement was all about, and where it was going from here. We got to talking.

The Tea Party movement is something I could never have done myself. There is no way I have the skills and the contacts to get it off the ground. I doubt that I could get 350,000 people across the US to attend the 500 or so Tea Parties that took place around Tax Day. We owe a debt of gratitude to the original organizers that got this movement going. They have shown us one way to move forward as Americans become more vocal in their dissent of the current policies being implemented in DC.

I did some data entry for the organizers. We exchanged emails. I began to ask them questions: “What are you trying to accomplish?” “Where do you want the movement to go after the first wave of Tea Parties takes place?” “Are you reaching out to elected officials?” I never really received an answer that made sense to me, when I received an answer at all.

Perhaps the original organizers and the many participants never asked themselves these questions. Perhaps they never considered a plan on where they wanted to go. The spontaneity of the Tea Parties may actually explain their success as people acted on their widespread frustration with the establishment. I think the organizers and the participants were unprepared for their success. However, after a few weeks, the big questions remain unanswered. The participants of the Tea Parties still don’t have a cause around which to rally.

Don’t look to the Fourth Estate for an exploration of the Tea Party Movement in any reasonable depth. The Main Stream Media (MSM) missed the boat completely. Watching the MSM coverage, with the notable exception of FoxNews, you would think that Tea Party participants were right-wing whack jobs who are consistent with President Obama’s views he outlined at a fund raiser in San Francisco: "they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

What nonsense. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

I can tell you first-hand that the Chicago Tea Party was anything but a confluence of bitter people. Businessmen, mothers, construction workers, students, kids, blacks whites. You name it and they were there. You would have been hard pressed to find a demographic not represented in Chicago all of whom were protesting in a serious but good-natured manner. From my experience, the only bitter person may have been Susan Roesgen, the CNN reporter who embarrassed herself with her obviously biased reporting of the event.

The questions I asked the Tea Party organizers still hang out there, waiting to be answered. Let us start with the most fundamental question: What are the Tea Parties trying to accomplish? If you ask x-number of people, you will get at least x+1 responses. You will hear a litany of complaints about spending, taxes, bailouts and gun control, abortion and politically correct education. But while there are problems associated with all of those things, the REAL problem is none of those things.

Oink, Oink

Local guy, Jonathan Hoenig, managing member of Capitalistpig Assent Management, LLC, spoke at the Tax Day Tea Party in Chicago’s Federal Center (Video, Text). Hoenig outlined the problems in America, and precisely defined that feeling about the direction of America you have in your gut, “It has been described as socialism, fascism or communism. In various contexts, all are true, but let's refine it. From loans to the automakers to the bailouts for the banks, the taxation, spending and control, the primary philosophy that's powering the country now is collectivism.” That’s exactly it.

The root problem that all of the Tea Party organizers and participants are concerned about is the creeping adoption of the philosophy behind those that are haphazardly instituting change in America.

The most recent election may be about a lot of things, but I do not recall it being about the abrogation of our individual rights. In your gut, you feel that your fundamental beliefs are under attack, the way you live your life is no longer mainstream, and the way you earn your living is somehow immoral. You feel that your connection with the future generations of Americans is somehow severed.

Every element of American life is under attack: from without (terrorism, international courts of law, the UN, our allies and our enemies), and from within (spending, taxes, unions, special interests, fat-cat lawyers and your elected officials). Everything you felt were sure things in your life no longer are; your safety, your job, your income, your home, your upward mobility, your retirement. All of these things are now uncertain.

As Hoenig said, “over the past few years, America has gone from a country that “was the once land of ‘rugged individualism,’” to a country where “the ‘will of the people’ is implemented by force, not by voluntary trade.” Not only are our individual rights under constant attack, so is the republican form of government which was created to protect our individual rights.

We now live in a country ruled by the soft tyranny of self-appointed masters of the universe.

Professional politicians, jurists and opinion makers have slowly marshaled the power formerly held by individuals. In the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers proclaimed individual rights to belong to the individual, not the group. In the Constitution, the Framers enumerated the limits of government to prohibit infringement on those rights.

On a daily basis we are ill-served by our elected politicians who have been entrusted to honestly represent us, lied to by a MSM that has Constitutionally protected status to assist with their duty to report, and betrayed by the organizations that were formed to protect our rights.

The Tea Parties were held on Tax Day, but they were not about taxes. I will hazard a guess about why the organizers worked so hard to make the Tea Parties a success. I will risk saying that I know why the participants from all over the U. S. descended on 500 locations.

All were expressing their deep frustration about the arrogance of opinion-makers who are creating a series of events that are overtaking our civilization and our culture. All were dismayed about the behavior of their elected officials. All of them want the Tea Parties to be the first step. They want to stop the power grab that they see on a daily basis: by the President, by the Congress, and by the Courts.

Is it naïve to believe that the Tea Parties are that necessary first step? If not, we shall most assuredly hang separately.

(h/t: @ChicagoBungalow, @OrinocoPat)

Contact: frank.canzolino@gmail.com

Twitter: @FrankCanzolino


Frank Canzolino said...

I would like to thank the folks at Chicago Bungalow for the inspiration to create this blog.

Capt Black Eagle said...

As an organizer of our Tea Party I was interested to see what the people attended would have to say.

The signs they held made it clear that by far they were all frustrated at the out of control spending and complete disregard for any semblance of thoughtful application of our tax dollars.

In talking with the participants I found that although Fiscal Responsibility was their primary concern there were many other issues that concerned them. Some of these issues were in direct opposition of other Tea Party attendees.

We were sitting on the proverbial powder keg. This forced us to ask the question "Which issue will keep the group together, without blowing it apart?" That answer was clearer when we had our After The Tea Party meeting.

The rapid, irresponsible passing of the Stimulus Package sent a message that the Legislative branch was not working with the best interest of the nation in mind. This lack of Fiscal Responsibility was the catalyst for most of the attendees.

By remaining focused on Fiscal Responsibility, and pressuring our elected officials to include voting them out of office we believe we can do the most good. The other issues are important, but the most common issue was Fiscal Responsibility.

Very nicely written Frank

Pat said...

Great post! Welcome to the Chicago blog 'hood', Frank! Can't wait to see your next installment!

Not Wired said...

BRAVO, Frank!! Welcome to the blogoshere. We,ll always have a spot on the stoop for ya. Can't wait to read the next post!

Charles said...