Unlike Michelle Obama, I’m not proud to be an American the first time. I’ve been intensely patriotic for years, but as I watch and read the news about the Tea Party protests I’m feeling particularly proud. At this point, it is difficult to get any hard numbers, but I’ve found estimates of 3000 in Columbia, SC and 7000 in Atlanta, GA. Like many, I’ve been pretty discouraged with all the spending of money we don’t have (and our kids won’t have) but will have to pay back. The statistics are positively scary, but I won’t go into that here, as it can be found elsewhere. [Maybe in another post . . .]
However, many thousands gathered around the country today to send the message to Washington that we’re fed up with the whole approach to economic policy that is coming out of that city. Some say it’s about taxes; some say it’s about spending; some say it’s about freedom . . . In reality, of course, it’s about all these, and more. Individuals naturally have issues with which they resonate more. I do think, though, that with nearly every issue, the feeling all these protesters have is that D.C. is no longer listening to them.
Our government is based on representation. We elect people and give them the task of making decisions that reflect our values. But the decisions of the last year have been against the wishes of vast portions of America. The first bailout kind of caught people by surprise, but by last September Americans overwhelmingly were against the TARP program bailouts. Nevertheless, it was pushed down our throats with no regard to alternatives proposed by the minority in Congress. Bush (yes, I’ll criticize him, also), Obama, Pelosi, Reid, et al decided to start spending our money, and print more to cover the deficit.
Since then, we’ve had a huge follow-up stimulus bill (loaded with pork, by the way) and an outrageous budget (with 8000+ earmarks) that increases spending beyond any recent levels. We have tax increases on people who already pay most of the taxes already. We have impending indirect tax increases in the so-called “cap and trade” program. We have many tax cuts that are due to expire in 2010 and following years, resulting in effective tax increases on a large percentage of American taxpayers. In all these cases, the will of the people is being ignored.
So the end result is many thousands of protesters gathered in every state in the union. It is indeed reminiscent of the original Boston Tea Party. We’ve got people now telling the government they need to listen to us–REPRESENT us (by “us” I refer to our values) or go home! Are you listening, Washington? Are you listening, President Obama?
UPDATE [4/17 10:37pm]–pajamasmedia.com is tabulating figures. They are up to a total of 617,568 nationwide. Who says the tea parties haven’t caught on!