Grass roots movement stirs sleeping giant
The Boston Tea Party is perhaps the most famous manifestation of an “I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore” attitude. It will not be the last.
On April 15, 2009, the seeds planted by early patriots as they threw precious tea into Boston Harbor sprouted with renewed vigor as Americans of all backgrounds and political philosophies gave voice to their disgust about the manner in which they are governed.
Dismissed as Astroturf by the leftists in power, the Tea Party Movement erupted spontaneously at the grass roots level and is spreading around the country faster than kudzu in a Mississippi summer.
On January 8 Jamie Radtke the chairwoman of the Richmond Tea Party (richmondteaparty.com) and Federation of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots (virginiateapartypatriots.com) spoke to the Goochland Republican Women about the history of the movement and its future on the local level.
Radtke said liberals believed that the original tea parties that took place all over the country last April resulted from a well organized group.
“That couldn’t have been further from the truth, but that’s changing,” said Radtke who holds a master’s degree from William and Mary. “The April 15 rally was thrown together in three weeks. People decided enough is enough and 5,500 people showed up.”
The initial tea parties resonated in the hearts and minds of the American people. They are finally starting to get interested in the government process said Radtke.
Other events, including the 9/12 event in Washington, D.C. advocated by conservative thinker Glenn Beck, drew huge crowds of like-minded people.
The 9/12 event, which drew many locals was quite moving, said Radtke. Americans are ready to restore the Founders’ Vision for our country.
They feel a sense of urgency and cannot be silent anymore, she contended.
“Even college kids are starting to understand the financial burden that actions currently underway in congress will place on them.”
The Founding Fathers were incredibly perceptive when they built a political system on the foundations of justice, personal responsibility and restraint, Radtke said.
Government takeover of the auto and banking industries are clear indications that America has forsaken its virtue.
Radtke said that even the legendary Russian newspaper Pravda observed that the speed of America’s descent into Marxism is breathtaking.
The tea party movement, said Radtke, is a way for concerned citizens to get involved to change things. When many people work together big changes can happen fast.
Radtke was careful to point out that, while many in the tea party movement are republicans, the GOP is not behind the tea party movement. Many tea party patriots consider themselves independents and there may even be a few lapsed democrats in there too. All tea party patriots are conservatives and will oppose putative republicans who do not act in accordance with the republican creed.
For years, she contended, the Republican Party has been on the defensive instead of setting forth proactive solutions for the challenges that face our country.
She believes that, without the tea party movement health care legislation would have passed last summer.
Now, the movement is shifting its focus to the local level, because that is where elected officials get their start and are groomed for higher office.
“We’ll never change congress if we can’t change our own backyards,” she said. “Local government is boring for most people, they’d rather send hate mail to their senators.”
The tea party movement, which consisted of 24 local tea parties and about 10,000 people in October, 2009 and grew to 40 local groups representing more than 25,000 by December, is supporting two bills at this year’s session of the Virginia General Assembly.
One House Bill 10, would say that the government may not mandate health insurance in Virginia nor fine nor jail anyone who does not have insurance.
House bill 69 will challenge the federal commerce clause contending that the feds cannot regulate firearms if they are built and sold in Virginia.
While there are currently no manufacturers of firearms in the Commonwealth, success of this legislation might well create new industry and attract new jobs.
Radtke invites all to a rally to be held at the bell tower on Capital Square in Richmond on Monday, January 18, 2010 at 10 a.m. Valet parking and shuttles will be available at the Tobacco Company restaurant. Following the rally, participants are encouraged to meet with their representatives.
(The Goochland Republican Women will next meet on Friday, February 5 at 10 a.m. at the Manakin Fire-Rescue Station on Rt.6. Thelma Drake, former US representative will speak about issues facing Congress, the GOP and what it will take, especially for women, to win elections in 2010. For more information, contact president Liz Culley at firstname.lastname@example.org)