War of Words
By Marilyn Snyder
Published in the Redlands Daily Facts, October 17, 2013
Anarchists! Tea party overlords! Legislative arsonists!
This is just a sample of the invective heard in the hallowed halls of Congress as the house minority leader, the senate majority leader, and the president sling monikers at conservative congressional members, supporters of the tea party philosophy, who advocate for fiscal responsibility.
It is amazing that a non-cohesive group of conservative Americans can arouse such hysteria, name-calling, even antipathy in a whole segment of the media and the political community. Maybe it’s because tea partiers, who are largely made up of the previously silent majority, stand up fearlessly, vocally and very visibly for three simple values: free markets, constitutionally limited government and fiscal responsibility.
Previously not politically active, these citizens are like wartime refugees who are considered enemies of the powers that be. As David Horowitz describes it on Frontpage: “Ever since Barack Obama was elected and began his radical course, American conservatives have been in a state of shock, as though they couldn’t quite believe what was happening.”
For many of us who aren’t used to the viciousness of American politics, it is disheartening to witness so-called liberals use such abrasive language when describing conservative congressmen. By their self-definition, liberals should be more accepting of new or different ideas. Certainly it is liberals who condemn labeling. They have banished the word “terrorism,” for example, promoting “man-made disasters.” No longer are there “illegal aliens” or “illegal immigrants.” Instead foreign nationals who sneaked into this country are labeled “immigrants.”
Yet congressmen who work to stop the out-of-control debt get tawdry labels such as “lemmings in suicide vests,” slapped on them by our governmental leaders and the media.
Here are a few facts to consider.
When tea party groups or members are bad-mouthed, often it is their philosophy that is criticized rather than the individual.
Remember, Congressional TP members can be of any political party. While political parties are organized to try to seat their own candidates in political offices so that they can influence or control government policy, the TP has always been driven by principles, not party affiliation.
In fact, it is not a political party — it is a movement — totally decentralized, with no clear leader. In California alone, for example, there are nearly 250 TP groups registered with the national Tea Party Patriots. Each of these tea parties is a standalone organization. Freedom Works and the Tea Party Express are two of dozens, perhaps hundreds, of other national TP groups.
All of these independent TP groups are grass-roots driven, and the national leadership exercises no authority or control over their activities.
With an estimated 35-50 million supporters, the TP has been ahead of the curve in recognizing that our country is fast failing. Every poll for the past year or more has shown that by a majority of 68-78 percent Americans believe that our country is headed in the wrong direction.
We believe that it is going to take a world of change to turn America away from a fiscal cliff and are trying to effect that change by restoring the values that made and kept this country great. By adhering to the Constitution. By promoting free markets. By demanding fiscal responsibility.
Michael Hirsh of the National Journal says of the TP that “They are sincerely motivated by the seemingly unstoppable tendency of the federal government to grow larger, and the failure of both parties to limit it over many decades.”
Relatively small contingents of TP-minded congressmen are attempting to rein in the grossly overfed federal government that has spent our country into a $17 trillion debt. Even with the government shutdown, “Eighty-three percent of the government is still up and running. The portions deemed nonessential make you wonder what is the proper size of government,” says Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Representative Nancy Pelosi, who called TP members astroturf and anarchists, claimed tea party-minded members of Congress have an “anti-government ideology.” The fact is we have a constitutional ideology, akin to that of America’s founders.
We want to reduce the size of government and we demand that fiscal responsibility be exercised in budget debates.
It would improve the situation drastically if the only name-calling politicians did would be to call each other negotiator!