I resurrect a previous post “I am a Tea Party Patriot” because again, I am again being slandered in a grotesque way by Mr. Chris Matthews of MSNBC. This time Mr. Matthews tries to link my world view, and my protests against my governments actions to an imagined disaster in the Chilean mine where the minors kill each other because they have values and morals like mine, and other Tea Party protestors.
Mr. Matthews perverts a story of great human triumph in doing this. Mr. Matthews misses the key point of this magnificent story, that this unprecedented rescue of these men came about because those involved hold the view that every life is sacred. Because of that fundamental belief, equipment and personnel were assembled with the sole purpose of saving each and every one of those sacred lives.
I include Mr. Matthews remarks here, followed my by earlier essay in defense of Tea Party Patriots. If you agree with Mr. Matthews, shame on you.
Let me finish tonight with a deep observation about mankind.
Down 2,000 feet in the ground a group of 33 men not only survived for 69 days but prevailed. What a story of human faith, hope, charity and community.
I know that last word drives people on the right crazy. Theirs is the popular notion of every man for himself, grab what you can, screw the masses, cash out of the government, go it alone, the whole cowboy catechism.
But how would those miners have survived – the 33 of them – and their loved ones living above – if they’d behaved like that, with the attitude of “every man for himself?”
This is, above all, and deep down there in the mine, about being all in this together. It’s about mutual reliance, and, relying on others not just do their jobs, but come through in the clutch. Somebody had to get food and medicine down to these guys and somebody did. Somebody had to drill that hole down to get them and somebody did. And all the time the guys down there – those 33 human souls – kept the faith.
“I was with God and I was with the devil,” one of the first guys out said. “They both fought for me. God won.”
So, in his way, did man. The group of miners stuck down a half-mile into the earth organized themselves. They had one guy in charge, another the spiritual leader, still another working on health, still another the director of entertainment. It reminded me, as I said the other night, of how John McCain and the other Americans survived those years in the Hanoi prison of war camp.
This coming election now looks to be a process very different. What it promises to be is a huge number of Americans withdrawing their confidence in the ability to work together, to have faith in each other to build a common community. It’s headed toward being something quite un-American: a statement that we are “not” in this together.
For that I blame the people who even now seek to meet their need for notoriety by nightly yelling “fire” in the movie theater – by convincing those who still have jobs that their worst enemies are those who don’t, whether its Newt Gingrich dumping on people who rely on food stamps or some senate candidate knocking unemployment comp or even stranger the one who says if you don’t like what a politician says go get yourself a gun.
My defense of Tea Party Patriots begins here.
I am a Tea Party Patriot
This is my apologetic. I do not claim to speak for others in the movement, only for myself. However , I suspect that my story would resonate with many Tea Partiers.
· I expect honest and integrity of my government; I am getting neither.
· I expect that my children and grandchildren, and generations beyond them, will have liberty and opportunity as I have had; and as my immigrant parents had, and generations of Americans before them.
· I expect that my generations debt to be minimal, and will not be passed on to future generations. Instead, my grandchildren will be burdened with less liberty and opportunity because other nations such as China and Japan will be controlling the purse strings, and thus the direction on the nation.
· I expect my leaders to understand, honor and preserve our nations foundational principles and our history. This American civilization has been the greatest force for good in the history of the world; by far! We have been the shining city on the hill, the hope of the nations, and a refuge for generations fleeing oppression and seeking new opportunity, and liberty. I do not expect it to become just some other country in the world community.
· I expect the freedom to try and succeed, based on our own character, ambitions and dreams. Or to fail, and have the freedom to try again.
· I expect the freedom to buy and sell as the market and my pocket book allow. I do not expect wage, price or profit controls placed on me by my government.
I am not a terrorist.
· A friend of more than 40 years recently accused me, to my face, of being a terrorist because I am a Tea Party activist. This is a highly offensive, vile and grotesque accusation. I know what terrorism is, and I am not it. I remember 9/11/2001, and the terror of that day. I remember the scenes of people fleeing for their lives. I remember the pictures of innocent people jumping or falling to their death from the Trade Center towers. I’ve read the stories of the survivors and the terror they lived with for months and years beyond that day. I remember the personal agony of wondering about the safety of my son and his wife; both working for American Airlines, and the Los Angeles/ New York route on a regular basis. I remember Flight 93, and the heroic sacrifice of those passengers who put that airliner down in an empty Pennsylvania field rather than having it destroy the U.S. Capital or the White House. I remember the story of my niece Beth, wondering for hours whether her Air Force husband had survived the Pentagon attack.
· I’ve watched the gruesome videos of Daniel Pearl and Nick Burg being beheaded. I’ve watched the video of young boys being trained in the fine art of beheading by actually beheading a live victim.
· President Clinton sees fit to link me to the terror of Oklahoma City, and the deaths of so many innocent Americans at the hand of Timothy McVeigh.
· Time and Newsweek magazines have in recent issues tried to link me to all manner of evil acts of death and destruction.
· The Southern Poverty Law Center is also linking Tea Parties to hate and violence.
· To the best of my knowledge, there has been no reports of violence associated with Tea Parties, also no arrests.
· I know the face of terror, and I am not it!
I am not a racist.
· Tea Partiers are commonly dismissed as racist, and as the new KKK.
· I was not raised that way. Somewhere along the way I learned to treat everyone with dignity and respect. I saw that attitude in my father and mother.
· Have I ever acted in a racist manner towards another? Yes, sad to say I did. One day in my teen years while out drinking with my friends, we came across an old black man crossing the street. You must understand, that there were not many blacks in Butte Montana, and this old man was one of the few. We saw fit to harass this man, and call him all manner of names. I went on with my life, and pretty much forgot about that horrible incident; I thought.
Years later, I became a Christian, and for some reason that day moved from the deep and dark recesses of my mind to the very front. How could I have done such a thing? How can I ever reconcile that evil racist deed, and have peace? The man was an old man at the time, and I had no idea who he was, just someone I had hated for a moment in time. There was no way I could go back to that day, and to that man and beg forgiveness. Praise be the grace of God, and the forgiveness of sin through the shed blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. I brought this before the Lord, and experienced true forgiveness for that act. One day, I’ll meet that old man on the streets of heaven, and beg his forgiveness. He’ll look at me with love in his eyes, embrace me with a big old hug, and say to me; “What in the world are you talking about? The Lord has taken care of the whole thing, and it is forgotten as if it had never happened.”
· Tea Parties are not about race, so don’t try to make it into that, and don’t ascribe to me motives and actions that are not appropriate.
I have not been propagandized or brainwashed by Fox News, talk radio or the Wall Street Journal
· Yes, I do watch Fox news, and find it to be a good solid source of news of all sorts. They have a good lineup of straight news such as Special Report with Bret Baier. Special Report reports on the news for the day, and includes on a daily basis, commentators from both the liberal and conservative points of view. Juan Williams from NPR is a regular contributor.
· Fox also has some hard hitting investigative/opinion shows such as Hannity, Beck and O’Relily. I watch Hannity and O’Reilly on occasion, but do watch Glenn Beck almost daily. These three commentators, and especially Beck, are performing the valuable public service of informing the public on the what’s happening within our government. Some of the revelations have been breathtaking, such as the abuses of ACORN, and the inclusion of self-described Communists such as Van Jones working in the White House. Without people like Beck, much of the corruption in Washington would go unreported. Beck is one of those people who would have signed the Declaration of Independence, had he lived in that era.
· Likewise with talk radio. Talk radio has a wealth of good solid thinkers and communicators, keeping tabs on the miss-steps and miss-deeds of the government, if you are willing to listen to some of them. I’m thankful for Rush, Hannity, Roger Hedgecock, Hugh Hewett, Mark Levin, Michael Medved, and others.
· Likewise with the blogs, many of which can be found at Townhall.com.
· And, most important, I read a lot, particularly history and current affairs books where the authors have the luxury of filling out their thoughts in much detail. American history, especially the founding era, and it’s heroes, is especially exciting and informative.
Why I am now an activist
Just prior to taking office as President of the United States, Barack Obama stated he following:
“We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.”
Hearing this sent a cold chill down my spine; what could he mean by this? We are now seeing what he meant by this, and it is a very decided move away from the Constitutional form of government as set up by the founders. Glenn Beck has been doing a yeoman’s job in exposing this, and I encourage you to examine what Mr. Beck has to say.
· More than 200 years ago, 56 men put everything on the line, in putting their signatures to the Declaration of Independence. They risked it all by doing that, and were either signing their own death warrant, or creating the beginnings of the greatest outpouring of human liberty and opportunity the world had ever seen. Should I not also speak out in defense of the republic that was begun that day? The risks to my person pale compared to the brave act of those 56 men, but each generation must rise to the defense of the republic lest it be lost to future generations. I can no longer just sit by, I must speak out and contribute in my own way to the preservation of this republic which I so dearly love.
· Many generations have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defense of this nation from external threats, and I must honor those sacrifices if I am to consider myself a worthy heir to what they have left to me and my posterity.
· We now have a national government who appear to have more affinity to the likes of Marx, Engels, Hegel and Nietzsche than to Washington, Madison, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lincoln and Reagan. More affinity to the world community than allegiance to the constitution, traditions and values that have provided the legal and social contract that have served this nation for all these many years. A government that at every opportunity berates and apologizes for who we are and were. A government that attacks at every opportunity, the free market economic system that has been the envy of the world. A government that seeks to expand itself at every opportunity, to give itself more and more power at every opportunity. All at the expense of individual liberty and opportunity.
· In my adult lifetime I have seen several economic recessions. The recession of the early 1960’s, the recession of the 1970’s, the recession of early 2000’s, and the recession of the late 2000’s. I’ve also taken note of the governmental response to each.
The recession of the 1960’s occurred when I was in my late teens. I was taking a course in economics at the time, in my first (and somewhat disastrous) year of college. I took note of President Kennedy’s approach which was primarily one of tax reduction, and saw the success of such an approach.
The next recession was during the 1970’s, with double digit inflation, unemployment and interest rates. I noted again that the approach to the problem by President Reagan was again primarily one of tax cuts. Again, that approach worked and launched the many years of prosperity we experienced through the 1080s and 1990’s.
The next recession in my recollection was the recession of the early 2000’s, characterized by the .com bubble burst, and the outfall of the 9/11/2001 attacks. President George W. Bush’s fundamental approach again was tax cuts, and we saw the resulting return to prosperity in spite of the potentially devastating economic fall out of the terrorist attacks.
In each of these cases, prompt and decisive governmental action aimed at reducing the governmental burden on American business and individuals had positive results.
The current recession, and the governmental reaction seems to me to be quite different. Instead of returning to fundamental principles, and examining history for lessons learned, we instead charged ahead in either panic, or to exploit the opportunity the crisis created “.. LEST IT GO TO WASTE…”. We bailed out the financial institutions with the TARP program (this may have been a necessary step, I’m still unsure and uneducated on this). We created a massive “stimulus” spending program which I saw and still see as a massive target rich environment for governmental agencies across the board to reap unearned wealth and power. The stimulus by now is a demonstrated failure except for increasing the breadth and depth of federal governmental power. We bailed out the big 2 auto industry, and the federal government and labor unions now have majority stakes in their ownership, leaving Ford as the last remaining American auto company. I think I’ll go out and by a Ford today.
We are seeing the beginnings of a federal takeover of the health care and health insurance industries by way of a bill that promises cost reductions while at the same time incurring a huge increase in the national debt. We were promised health care cost reductions, and within weeks, find out from government actuaries that there would be a $300+ billion increase to the bill that was voted on weeks before. All this while the industries affected were being demonized as greedy. Few if any of our Representatives or Senators had read and understood the bill. And you can be assured that President Obama has not read the bill, since he characterizes it as just the first of many steps.
Now we are facing a “reform” of the financial industry, which takes on the burden of the sole cause of our recent financial collapse because of their overpowering and unfettered greed. I did a little study of my own in trying to understand the cause of the mortgage meltdown, and have come up with a number of villains.
There is the congress(Chris Dodd and Barney Frank) who through HUD, Fannie and Freddy thought it was good social justice to make sure that everyone who wanted a house of their own could have one, regardless of their ability to afford or pay for one. Congress mandated that 50+ percent of HUD, F&F mortgage loans go to people who could not afford a home, and were not required to demonstrate the financial means to support a mortgage.
Then there were the rating companies Moody, Standard & Poor and Fitch. These quasi private companies are in fact governmentally protected monopolies. Further they are guaranteed a profit because of their governmentally protected status. This lack of completion led to faulty ratings of all of these sub-prime loans, many of which were rated AAA Investment Quality, whereas in reality they were junk.
Mortgage companies and banks sliced and diced these mortgage instruments and spread them across a number of “tranche’s” based on categories of risk. The thinking was that a failure in one segment would be protected and offset by strength in the less risky tranches’. Investors in turn bought these instruments based on the ratings of the three rating firms. No one expected that the entire segment would collapse at the same time, and thus the mortgage collapse.
The Fed meanwhile for a number of years keep the prime interest rate low in efforts to put a check on inflation. These low rates also had the effect of making cheap money available for home purchase.
· I’ll be curious to see if the Financial Reform bill, now before congress, addresses any of these problems. I’ll be surprised if it does, since it’s primary author is Chris Dodd, a major contributor to the mortgage meltdown.
If you’ve read this far, I thank you.
Don Johnson April 29, 2010