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It’s Easy To Hate The Tea Party


By Marilyn Snyder

There’s an old saying that you only have one chance to make a good first impression.  The first impression many Americans had about the modern Tea Party was based on what they learned from the news, listening to talk shows, and hearing sound bites from influential political leaders and well-known entertainment figures.  Is that where you first heard about it?  Was what you heard favorable or unfavorable?

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House when the Tea Party first burst forth, called its’ members “astroturf.”  Google that term—it is not complimentary. 

The Vice President compared us to terrorists. President Obama called us teabaggers. Google that (and the meaning is definitively not nice). 

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.): “…as far as I’m concerned, the Tea Party can go straight to hell.”  Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.): “The real enemy is the Tea Party.”

Astroturf, teabaggers, terrorists, enemies who can go straight to….  It’s no wonder the Tea Party is so easy to hate.  But are those  “facts” or “sticks and stones”? 

Here’s a new first impression for you based on facts.  We Tea Partiers hold dear to our hearts three simple values:

1. Free Markets

2. Constitutionally Limited Government

3. Fiscal Responsibilitiy

What’s to hate about that?

You absorbed all three of these things in your high school American government class.  Your mom and dad strongly believed in them.  Your grandparents may have gotten down on their knees to thank God that they lived in a country based on them. 

Simply put, the Tea Party wants to ensure that the United States continues to enjoy a capitalist system—that very same one that gave We the People the greatest prosperity of any country on earth—ever.

Tea Party members also want our governments—federal, state, and local—to be restrained by the Constitution from turning us into dependents of the state.  Oddly, we are called extremists because we want to stick to the same Constitution that every elected official swears an oath to uphold!  We believe that We the People should control the government but not the government controlling us. 

Fiscal responsibility was the siren call for my becoming an early member of the Tea Party as I cringed at the thought of owing foreign governments and others nearly (then) $13 trillion (now $17 trillion).  Watching my State become hopelessly in debt by billions of dollars brought me off my couch and onto the streets of Redlands as a first-time-ever political activist. 

Like most Tea Party members, I was absolutely new to the political game because I “slept” while our nation, state and city became hostage to debt so huge it’s incomprehensible.  More than anything, I want my grandchildren to grow up in a country that is free—free from debt, free of burdensome regulations (The California legislature passed almost 750 new laws in 2012 alone.  Think you’re breaking any of them?), free to “be me” as Marlo Thomas would say. 

Tea Partiers want to save our country from insolvency. We don’t want to live in a country that leans towards socialism or communism—we saw how that went down in the USSR.  And we want the most amazing and long-lived Constitution in the world to continue to be our guide and touchstone. 

There’s a world of difference between the image of the Tea Party that was falsely given to the American people and the reality of your fellow Redlanders who want the best for America. 

You may not have the same vision for America that we do.  That’s OK.  But surely we all want to live in a financially solvent country, state and city.  Surely we both want a true and steady Constitutional compass to guide our way.  Don’t we all want to feel secure in our careers and pocketbooks? 

We Americans have so very much in common that it’s hard sometimes to realize how easily we’ve fallen into a pattern of hating each other.  But it does not have to be that way.  As Dr. Ben Carson said, and I fervently believe, “We the People are not each others’ enemies.”

Marilyn Snyder

Cabinet Member

Redlands Tea Party Patriots

July 25, 2013