Grassroots Activism and Tea Parties

by | Dec 10, 2009

At a recent activist training session an 18-year old said, “I’m here because I want to do something about the antipathy among my own age group.” A work-at-home mom said, “Forty-five times I’ve written to my Congressman asking questions. He will not answer.” To a Tea Party worker, the manager of a car dealership said, […]

At a recent activist training session an 18-year old said, “I’m here because I want to do something about the antipathy among my own age group.”

A work-at-home mom said, “Forty-five times I’ve written to my Congressman asking questions. He will not answer.”

To a Tea Party worker, the manager of a car dealership said, “Congress is out of control. We have to stop them.”

Volunteering to help raise money for protest rallies, an insurance office worker said, “I’ve never demonstrated before against my government. But now I must.”

A preacher said, “Today I received the thirty-seventh form letter from my Representative.”

Most congressional members continue to ignore their constituents. Although Americans have loudly and persistently registered their opposition to health care, the latest Pelosi/Obama 1,990 page monstrosity is now in the Senate under consideration as if Americans’ opposition to it is irrelevant.

Congress evidently believes we have no say in the matter. We have sent them letters, e-mails, faxes and telephones messages. They turn off their phones, shred the incoming faxes and emails and ignore our letters. On their web sites, their idea of responding to our opposition to government health care is to send long, boring canned letters that have nothing to do with anything except their own plans.

They do not answer our queries. They do not answer our complaints. They do not address our concerns. They do not vote the way we want them to vote on the dozens of bills they write aimed at taxing us more and listening to us less. They do not admit that they are violating our rights, that their countless regulations are onerous, the taxes they impose burdensome, their corruption outrageous. They evade the fact that we pay their salaries in return for which they do little more than posture.

Much of that posturing revolves around repeated announcements that they create jobs. They do not. Businesses create jobs. Businesspeople have an idea, figure out a way to make and sell it, hire others to help them. That is job creation. It increases employment and general productivity. Job creation necessarily leads to product improvement—one cannot remain static in any business. Product improvement leads to improved sales, which expands business, which raises salaries and results ultimately in raising the standard of living.

Every businessperson is aware of the process—from small to large businesses, from the manufacture of common nails to complex computers, from the making of cheese to the design of satellite sensors. We know who creates jobs. It ain’t the government.

One does not create jobs by taking money from one person and giving it to another. One does not create jobs by commanding company bids for infrastructure work, ordering that helicopters be built for politicians, or agreeing to pay $200 for a toilet seat. One does not create jobs by regulating established enterprises, taking them over, making deals with unions, or ordering banks to lower their mortgage and credit card rates.

Such actions depend on the goods being there in the first place, and are violations of individual rights. But individual rights are the foundation of our culture and the basic meaning of a republic. Congressmen who ignore their constituents do not sustain a republic. They reveal a preference for a different type of government organization: statism, which is collectivism, which means ultimately totalitarianism.

What’s to be done to stop Congress’ stampede toward statism? What’s to be done to counter this massive infringement of our individual rights? What’s to be done to end this flagrant invasion of our lives and property? How can we terminate congressional dismissal of our opposition to government health care, to energy controls that guarantee shrinkage of agriculture, mining and fossil fuel production, to business and professional regulations that are suffocating our economy, to strangling taxes?

Must we move to Washington, stand on the Capitol steps and grab each Congressman by the arms and shake them to register our disagreement with what they’re doing? Would that help?

What can one person do? You can organize. You can vote.

The Tea Party is one type of organization that has brought together hundreds of thousands of grassroots Americans. Many such organizations have been formed across the nation. Most of them have a plan. And most of the plans are identical: vote out of office every single representative coming up for re-election in 2010.

The plan is already in operation. The mayoral and a city councilman race in Albuquerque, New Mexico started the drive. Virginia and New Jersey followed suit. New York gave it a shot. More races are taking place in 2010.

But there is more to the plan than voting out of office every current incumbent that has ignored our choices. The grassroots is no longer sitting on the couch and cursing. They’ve jumped to their feet and are taking part in politics. They are finding ways to enter primaries. How great a part they are taking is being revealed as more Americans realize that Ben Franklin was right.

If we want a Republic, we have to work to keep it. Now, more than ever, more Americans realize the truth of this and are taking action. We will succeed. As one Albuquerque Tea Party member recently said, “I will never give up. Never. We will take back our country.” Yes, we will. It’s up to us to restore and keep our republic.

Sylvia Bokor is an artist and writer. You can read more of her writings on her blog.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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