Oregon Magazine

Tea Party For Two
(the second part of Art Hyland's series on the new American revolutionaries)

“...the Big Government plan of the new millennium isn’t playing well in Peoria,
if it ever really did.”

Although all national polls are now leaning conservative, what is behind  those results is the combination of steadfast conservative momentum via the new elephant in the room--the Tea Party, coupled with the
dissolution of the short-lived Obama phenomenon premised upon  the myth he was the political messiah. As Ronald Reagan famously summed it up decades ago, government isn’t the solution to the problem, government IS the problem, and this is finally becoming clearer to a wider spectrum of citizens who have noticed their  neighbors, friends, relatives and themselves losing jobs, financial security, confidence and optimism. Conservatives, independents and fiscally-concerned liberals have joined together in this century’s rediscovery of  Reagan’s maxim, resurrected by theTea Party  movement.

What initially motivated the Tea Party was the incessant, unrepentant spending sprees of a Pelosi/Reid-led Congress and a newly-elected President Obama anxious to sign anything this Congress put before him. There have been divisions within the conservative movement in past decades that liberals exploited, such as the pro/anti-abortion debate, among others, but ever since Congress and President Obama initiated multiple trillion dollar spending bills beginning January 2009, conservatives, as well as a growing number of independents and liberals have swarmed together to push back against what they considered fiscal insanity on a massive, nation-killing scale.

The Greatest Generation’s kids are finally fighting the fight their genes were always capable of but were mesmerized by decades of easy money, perpetually inclined markets, and a technological circus of toys to play with. If the Tea Party at first consisted of older Americans, it was because they ultimately realized their legacy to THEIR children was about to be a pile of debt with nothing to show for it but a recessionary economy for the next two generations. In short, they were embarrassed by and fearful of what they had allowed this nation to become, and reacted en masse using the original means available to Americans--the Constitution.

Their well-founded fear inspired and has propelled the Tea Party movement, despite the efforts by the mainstream media to castigate them as first un-noteworthy, then extreme, then racist, and finally, politically powerful. In reality, the Tea Party movement was pure self-preservation--a grassroots movement unlike any that has taken place in America since perhaps its founding. Unlike the late 1920s during the now-labeled Great Depression where much of the citizenry then was ripe for asking government to feed, clothe and provide them work, an awakening number of this century’s Great Recession citizenry is not taking that government bait.

They’ve learned it comes with a sharp hook.

Instead, they are calling for self-reliance, independence and a return to the doctrines of our Founders, as articulated in the Constitution itself, especially the primary concept of limited government. In the Depression era, when control of information was very concentrated, there was a public willingness to blame big industry and big banks as the culprits whereupon the accepted antidote was bigger government, which President Roosevelt and his Congress were eager to provide. Today, although Congress and President Obama have arbitrarily created the legislative means for vast government control, essentially copying the same formula as in the 30s, the 2010 public now believes big government not only caused the problems we’re experiencing, but have made things even worse via unprecedented federal spending and regulations, which they have seen with their own eyes has proven to be disatrous.

On the other hand, liberals, having experienced the highs associated with the election of a liberal Congress in 2006 to electing a Black, liberal president in 2008, are now witnessing their lows--watching their leadership totally out of control, out of touch with the average citizen, having risked all their political marbles on one stimulus spending bill after another, with other legislation regarding health, energy and the environment to usher in even more spending and government controls in the future.

In short, the Big Government plan of the new millennium isn’t playing well in Peoria, if it ever really did. Democrat leaders, who delivered big spending, big legislation and therefore big government, are publicly pleased, but large parts of their liberal constituency are jumping off the bandwagon as fast as they joined up just a few short years ago, and they’re doing so because of the facts: liberalism doesn’t, and can’t, work except in their minds. The promises of slick slogans, Hope & Change, or We Are The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For, are hollow and distant memories. Reality--the logic of arithmetic--has caught up very quickly to expose the fallacy of the “spend ourselves into prosperity” scheme (previously believed a strategy). First confusion, and now apathy, on the Left, coupled with a determination on the Right--both influenced by the fiscal nightmare facing this nation--have brought the electorate into the current political state favoring conservatives.

But it’s more than just a movement of the political pendulum. The promise that was Obama (fundamental transformation of America), the promise that was Pelosi (the most ethical Congress in history), the promise that was Big Government (copy the European model), the promise of Green ( save the world from global warming)--these promises have turned out to be balloons that have burst, and with them the inertia and the political energy that requires constant replenishment to live, but has suddenly become starved of food because there never was any nourishment in the first place.

Numbers don’t lie, science ultimately must turn toward objectivity, and perhaps most importantly, the people upon whom the liberals depended--the Obamas, the Pelosis, the Reids, the Waxmans, the Franks and the Dodds et al have been exposed as fraudsters out to gain or retain power for power’s sake.

This nation, if it is to remain the republic it was founded to be, will never be willing to accept power at any cost. Governing balance because of citizen control was designed into the Constitution to help prevent the ever constant threat of tyrannical power. If we’re lucky, each American generation will find the willpower to accept this God-given responsibility to the nation to which they belong.

                                                                                -- Art Hyland

© 2010 Art Hyland