Congratulations to all who participated in the nationwide tea party protests.
Yes, you were heard, but in order to have a lasting effect, there must be follow through.
If there had been no follow through after the 1773 protest in Boston Harbor – no addition protests, no convening of the First Continental Congress, no Revolutionary War – there would have been no United States of America.
If the president and our elected representatives don’t see the follow through, they will view the April 15 protests as just a one day flash in the pan and chalk it up to a few malcontents blowing off a little steam.
- Buy a large box of tea bags and send one each day to President Barack Obama and to each of your elected representatives. A few dollars a day in postage can pay big dividends over time.
- Scribble a note on the back of a grocery bag that simply says, “Stop spending money!” while standing in line at the checkout counter and send it to your representative in Congress. Do this at least once a week.
- Check to see if your representative and senators have signed a “no earmark” pledge. Hound yours until he or she does.
- Check out the new Pig Book at cagw.org and organize the next tea party at the site of one of the recipients of an earmark in your area.
- Monitor the websites of your representatives (they all have them), and when one brags about bringing home money from Washington for some special project that would cost less if it were not passed through the federal bureaucracy, stage a protest in front of his or her local office.
- Don’t listen to what your representatives say. Monitor what they do. It’s easy. Each year the nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union Foundation releases a report card on Congress. One came out just last week. It is the only one to utilize EVERY roll call vote that affects tax, spending and regulatory issues. If you can read down and across, you will know immediately if your representatives should be retained. Most should not!
- Do not re-elect anyone who has less than an “A” grade. Give someone new a chance.
It is interesting to note that out of the 535 members of the House and Senate, only 48 lawmakers who were around in the second session of the 110th Congress scored high enough to receive a significantly curved grade of “A” to qualify as a “Taxpayer’s Friend.”
Even more significant is the VoteTally study that NTU will deliver in a few weeks on the 110th Congress. VoteTally measures the marginal effect of each member’s votes to increase or decrease federal outlays relative to the baseline. The adjournment of the 109th Congress marked the sixth straight year where no lawmakers had a net voting record that would have reduced overall outlays (even when excluding the growth in entitlement) or mandatory spending – no, not one!
To be absolutely fair, since 1996, there have been few opportunities to vote on anything that would reduce federal spending. To put that another way, our presidents (both Republican and Democrat) have failed us, our congressional leaders (both Republican and Democrat) have failed us, and most of the people we sent to Washington to represent us have failed us.
I watched the organizer of one of the tea parties, a Democrat from Louisiana who voted for Obama, being interviewed earlier in the week. When she was asked if all of the recent spending might cause her to “change parties,” she was hesitant and said that she might consider a “third party,” as if this were a panacea.
Don’t put your faith in a political party. Do not make donations directly to a political party. Do not give to a party’s congressional or senatorial committee. The only purpose of these committees is to keep their members in power, no matter how bad they are or how they vote.
Do support worthy candidates, but make your donations directly to those candidates who pledge to abide by the principles in which you believe. Also, make donations to political action committees that back candidates (without regard to party) who support these principles.
Please hear me on this: Another party or another hundred parties won’t make a difference, if “we the people” don’t pay attention to what our elected representatives do after we send them to Washington.
All the studies show that the longer a lawmaker stays in Washington, the more he or she spends. That is a fact! The price of liberty really is “eternal vigilance.”