Saturday, April 25, 2009

Why I go to the Tea Parties

There have been a lot of comments on here and in an assortment of media outlets regarding the people who attend Tea Parties. Some of the worst comments are those like Jeanine Garofolo saying that Tea Party attendees are only protesting a black man being President. The racist comments are uncommon, but not as uncommon as they should be. What seems more prevalent is the belief that the Tea Parties are organized by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, and Fox News and that the goal is to overthrow the government. Anyone who says this hasn't spent any real time talking to those who attend the parties.

While kooks are often attracted to protests (both on the left and the right), the majority of people I have seen at the Tea Parties are there because they are upset by the spending going on in government right now. Many were mad at President Bush and the previous Congress for TARP and the bailouts of GM and Chrysler. They are also mad at President Obama and the current Congress for continuing these bailouts, and for the ever increasing budgets and spending programs. Many of the attendees realize there is no way to continue this level of spending without dramatically raising taxes on everyone. The chart below was published originally in the Washington Post, and has been researched and defended by the Heritage Foundation. It shows the deficit under President Bush and the projected deficit under President Obama.

Whether you believe the White House or the Congressional Budget Office, neither of the above estimates are good. The spending in Washington is way out of control. Every idea in Washington revolves around funding a program, spending money on research, or buying something. There are very few elected officials arguing to cut the budget, and not enough officials arguing to stop the bailouts (auto, credit, or bank). My biggest fear is that the bailouts are going to make things worse, not better. By propping up these industries, we are delaying the day they go through the reforms they need. As painful as those reforms are now, they are going to be much more painful down the road.

I go to the Tea Parties to protest the current levels of spending by our government. This includes President Obama's spending and Congresses spending. I am not there to protest just President Obama. If the protests were about Global Warming or some of the other silly idea's this administration has, I probably wouldn't attend. While these ideas are worthy of debate, and I do debate them here, they aren't as dangerous as the continued spending by Washington. If we continue on the pace the chart above shows, our economy is going to get so bad, cap and trade and national health care won't matter. I can't speak for everyone at the Tea Parties, only myself. I can say that many of the people that I have spoken with at these parties have the same concerns I do, and are worried about the same things. The Tax burden on the American Worker is already too high. Spending like we are seeing in Washington is going to make that tax burden much worse.

I also go to the Tea Parties because I don't believe it is the role of our government to do these things. I don't believe our government should bailout financial companies and car industries. I don't believe we should step in and fire private CEO's. I don't believe the government has a right to interfere in how business pays their employees. Every time the government interferes in these areas, all of our freedoms are diminished. Anytime the government is allowed to save a bank, or a car company, or to fire private employees, it represents a time when the government gets to take control of our lives. I think Americans would be much better off without the government telling them what to do. Do we need some boundaries for companies to operate within? Sure. Do we need the constant intervention created at the end of Bush's term and perpetuated under President Obama? Absolutely not.

As I said, I can't speak for every person at these Tea Parties. I can say most of them are every day Americans who work and send their kids to school. These Americans deserve our respect and they deserve to have their voice heard in Washington. I , and many of the Tea Party attendees, believe Republicans and Democrats have stopped listening to voters. That's not good for anyone.

This post was published at Tea Party Patriots and Political Friends.


Senior Lady said...

I thought this was a very thoughtful post, and you clearly stated your reasons for going to tea parties. It is the right of every American citizen to protest when they feel necessary. This country was founded by protestors, wasn't it? I only wish we could all remember and respect that, no matter what the issue(s) being protested.

I also agree that "kooks are often attracted to protests (both on the left and on the right)". This should not take away from the good intent and sincerity of the majority.

Andy D said...

Thank you for the compliments. I think commentators on both sides need to realized that kooks like protests too. I am reading a book right now that really has me reevaluating how I see our political parties. More to follow...