I’ve noticed that there is much skepticism concerning the Tea Party movement, especially among my fellow teachers.  In a conversation earlier this school year, one of my fellow teachers referred to a parent as a Tea Party Radical.  On another occasion, a different teacher told me that the local Tea Partiers are racist.  I’m not sure where that assertion came from, considering that our local Tea Party group had not even been officially formed yet—I guess it’s because these citizens don’t agree with many of our president’s decisions, and our president just happens to be black.  Not sure how that classifies one as racist, but that’s neither here nor there.  I tend to find that when something is criticized rather harshly, the reality of the situation is that it’s good in nature and is therefore feared by the people.  People tend to criticize what is good because it’s not what is easy.  So, of course I had to see for myself what this Tea Party thing was all about, and what I witnessed at the meeting was a pure love for country and for what America stands for at the core of its being. 

          The evening’s guest speaker was newly elected Indiana State Senator Jim Tomes (District 49).  In 1999, because of concerns with the government’s involvement in gun control, he and six of his buddies founded the Second Amendment Patriots—a grassroots gun rights organization in Southern Indiana near Evansville.  Through involvement in community events and by establishing a working relationship with the state legislative and executive branches, the Second Amendment Patriots has influenced State Police decisions concerning background checks; the repeal of a law that prohibited gun owners from carrying handguns on off-road vehicles; and the 2006 establishment of the country’s only life-time handgun license. 

          But why is all this important?  Because it was far more than a speech about gun control.  It was a message of hope, encouragement, and empowerment for ordinary citizens like you and me.  It was an example of what can be accomplished by local people.  The central theme of his message was that the American people have much power they do not exercise.  One very important point he made was that “it’s our America, and it’s getting away from us.”  He also stressed that our battles are at the state—not the national—level. 

One critical observation I made was that Tea Partiers empower you by showing what you can do to make sure your voice is heard—simple, peaceful methods like contacting your legislators.  I will definitely be going to more Tea Party meetings in the future.

 Other important points made at the meeting:

  • According to the 10th Amendment, states are not subject to Federal control.
  • It’s important not to become complacent after the election; there’s still much work to do.
  • As one audience member stated, “We get our rights from God; we don’t get them from the government.”
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