Ronald Reagan called America a "shining city on a hill" at the first Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 1974. Reagan believed, as the Tea Party Patriots today believe, that the "shining city on a hill" that is America is lit by the torch of liberty, passed down through the generations from America's Founding Fathers.
Sadly, the heirs to our Founding Fathers have dropped the torch that was entrusted to them, and the light of liberty is getting dimmer each day. Those on the left are trying to snuff it out with government power grabs and doomsday overspending, while the right seems to have lost the strength, courage and spirit of independence needed to lift the torch and carry it forward.
Who is left to take up the torch and keep America a "shining city on a hill"? The American people. The only national grass-roots organization that gives voice to the American people, that embodies the spirit of Reagan, that has the courage to carry the torch of liberty, that puts principle above power, is the Tea Party movement, which is alive and well and growing in all 50 states. The biggest Tea Party group in America is the Tea Party Patriots.
"Reagan would have loved the Tea Party," said former Reagan associate economic director Larry Kudlow. Why? Because Reagan believed in the character, courage and wisdom of the American people. While Democratic politicians assault the Constitution, and Republican politicians trade their principles for Beltway dinner invitations, Reagan knew from where the true light of America shone: from the hearts and minds of the American people.
On a recent, national tele-townhall with the Tea Party Patriots, former Reagan staffer and current nationally syndicated radio talk-show host Mark Levin said, "Tea Party Patriots is a magnificent group, and it's a beautifully run organization. And I've said many times -- and I want to say it again: But for you all, I don't know where this country would be. Because you are the bulwark against tyranny in this country right now -- and there aren't any others."
At the Heritage Foundation earlier this year, Mr. Levin drew the contrast even more clearly between the "old guard" and the "new guard" of the conservative movement. "The Tea Party is the only thing that stands between liberty and tyranny," said Mr. Levin. "We have to defeat the Republican establishment mush in Washington, D.C. It's time for the old bulls to get out of the way and for the fresh faces who believe in conservatism and liberty and originalist principles to step up."
The Tea Party Patriots, America's largest grass-roots organization, is ready to step up -- and to take up the torch -- as America's principled voice for fiscal responsibility, free markets and constitutionally limited government. What's more, we are willing to put our people -- and our money -- where our principles are.
Tea Party Patriots have stormed the GOP establishment and set up three hubs at CPAC. The first is our broadcast center, which will live-stream coverage of the conference and give principled conservative leaders a new national platform. Second, we have a massive booth in the Exhibit Hall filled with resources and tools -- print, audio and video -- for conference attendees to check out and take home. Finally, we have a place for patriots to recharge -- literally and philosophically -- with 36 electrical charging stations for computers and mobile phones, and a roster of speakers to recharge their hearts, all in Chesapeake Room L at CPAC.
We have also launched our first political action committee: the Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund. Through our new national PAC, we will be able to do many of the important things that must be done to save the country. We will work to defeat big-spending politicians through direct contributions to their opponents, TV and radio ads exposing their support of economy-destroying laws and regulations, and by organizing volunteers across the country to get out the Tea Party vote.
We will not hesitate to oppose Republicans or Democrats in contested primaries. We will not shy away from recruiting good citizen-candidates to challenge entrenched party bosses. We will also hold the torch of liberty high to keep America the "shining city on a hill" that Reagan saw.
At CPAC in 1982, Reagan said, "We live today in a time of climactic struggle for the human spirit, a time that will tell whether the great civilized ideas of individual liberty, representative government and the rule of law under God will perish or endure."
Those times of struggle are upon us again. If the Democratic Party doesn't want to raise the torch, and if the Republican Party establishment is unable to carry it, "We the People" will carry the torch, with the support of the biggest grass-roots organization in America, the Tea Party Patriots.
Jenny Beth Martin is co-founder and national coordinator of the Tea Party Patriots.