- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 16, 2010


One year ago today, Rick Santelli raged against government bailouts on CNBC saying, “It’s time for another tea party.” Around the country, people like me agreed. We took up Mr. Santelli’s call and organized our own Tea Parties, kick-starting a national movement for better government.

As a Tea Party organizer, I am surprised by how little politicians and the media know about the movement. Even after a year of protests, events and rallies, they just don’t get who we are or what we’re about.

We Tea Party folks are moms, dads, brothers, sisters, cousins and grandparents. We come in all colors, black, white, brown and more. We come from every profession you can imagine. Some of us are high earners, while some of us struggle each month to make ends meet. We welcome people of all religions, as well as nonbelievers. We are in the Rotary, the Lions Club, the Junior League, the Masons and the Knights of Columbus. We have served our country in battle, as civil servants, as community organizers and as volunteers. We represent a cross-section of America, and we want to be heard.

Some have called Tea Partiers wing-nuts and tried to define us as the extreme right of the right-wing. I’ve heard us called racists and terrorists and any number of nasty names. Such characterizations are false. We are proud Americans.

Tea Partiers love their country. We love our country so much that we cannot sit by and let politicians destroy what we the people have built. We must stand up and scream, “Stop!”

We can’t let our government tinker with our Constitution. We believe in the ideals and principles upon which our nation was founded and so, though we are not a political party, we can’t remain idle as politicians manipulate elections, seize more power from the people and the states, and then spend our children’s children’s money. We want our kids to inherit the most powerful nation on Earth, not a dying superpower.

We are paying attention to what is going on from the local county courthouse, to city hall, to the state capitals, all the way to Washington, and we don’t like what we see.

We’re sick of both political parties. The Democrats have embraced socialism and corporatism (an even more dangerous concept). They have ignored the Constitution and have dismissed or outright lied to Americans about their agenda and plans. The Republicans have hardly done any better. Many conservatives at least expected that the Republicans would fight for our freedom, but they have instead worked to centralize power and protect their corporate friends.

Both parties, be warned. A backlash is coming.

As the Tea Party movement approaches its first birthday, we’ve seen small steps in the right direction by some in the political world. But they are, so far, much too small. We hope in this election year that politicians of all stripes take time to read their copies of the Constitution. We hope they try to better understand the concerns of us Tea Party folks.

After all, we Tea Party folks are Americans, and we get to vote. If the party politicians don’t listen to us while we’re in the streets, we will make ourselves heard from the voting booths.

Toby Marie Walker is a business consultant and a Tea Party organizer in Waco, Texas.

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