(WND photo / Chelsea Schilling)
The tea-party participant – the individual who is frustrated America’s leaders don’t seem to want to “preserve and protect” the republic and gives up his or her own time, talents and money to warn elected leaders to choose the straight and narrow – has been selected by WorldNetDaily editors as WND’s 2009 “Person of the Year.”
On the WND Forums pages where readers were asked to contribute their suggestions and comments, “Warsong” noted the impressive quality of nominees ranging from the hackers who uncovered what apparently was a scheme to cook global warming evidence to longtime conservative stalwart Rush Limbaugh and the dramatic leadership of former Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin.
“I vote for the tea parties,” Warsong wrote. “Unless we all become tea partiers and pull together, this Golden Age is doomed.”
Added “su87491,” “They gave their own time and resources to take it to the CONgress people on behalf of millions more that could not. I salute you.”
“AKMac” said, “There will no longer be a USA without US.”
Runners-up in the 2009 choice list were Palin; James O’Keefe and Hanna Giles, who launched a series of undercover reports documenting ACORN’s apparent willingness to aid and abet underage prostitution; the anonymous Climategate whistleblowers who hacked into a United Kingdom research center and unveiled e-mails that seem to suggest data manipulation; and Limbaugh.
Not even the snowy weather could keep these Tax Day tea partiers in Bozeman, Mont., from joining nationwide protests against government spending. (photo: Dick from Bozeman posted this photo to Tax Day Tea Party website)
Others with honorable mention included Fox news commentator Glenn Beck; Lila Rose, whose undercover work exposed Planned Parenthood’s apparent willingness to ignore statutory rape and encourage lying to a judge; Carrie Prejean, who stood up for traditional marriage; author Mark Levin; UK singing phenom Susan Boyle; talk show host Sean Hannity, Alan Carlin, a scientist who challenged the “global warming” assumptions; and Michael Savage, the longtime radio talk show icon who was banned from Britain.
But it is the tea party participant who won.
It’s an individual like Nate, whose transition was captured on a video. He started out as an Obama voter proud to see the first black president. Now he’s a “man who has buyer’s remorse and becomes an active defender of the Constitution and limited government.”
Or Jack, the father of two who coaches Little League baseball. Or a health insurance agent who faces losing his job under Obama’s health care reform.
“He is a Democrat turned constitutionalist and the younger brother of a Vietnam veteran who is marching for his children and the future of the America he believes in,” the film explains.
Another tea partier is Dr. Fred Shessel, a urologist who is moved to action against “a government threatening to undermine the doctor-patient relationship with suffocating bureaucracy and increased taxpayer spending.”
They’ve not only been ignored by the mainstream media, they’ve been attacked and mocked for standing up for the America they believe in.
FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe, who has worked with tea party events, said media observers “want to call the new generation of activists ‘partisan’ or ‘racist’ or ‘fake’ or whatever pejorative they can throw at them.”
“What they don’t understand … is that these are real people who have left the comfort of their homes and their responsibilities at their jobs to fight big government.”
They’ve been derided as “tea baggers” and their intelligence has been questioned. But they portend a change that perhaps even President Obama, with his “change” election theme, did not envision.
“We’re talking about the tea party movement and the potential political implications of it,” Kibbe said “That’s really the question everybody is asking right now: What does this mean for November 2010?”
The well-known “O” logo of President Obama is combined with a play on his “Change we can believe in” slogan at a tea party protest April 15, 2009, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (WND photo / Joe Kovacs)
On Independence Day they gathered in more than 2,000 tea parties from coast to coast, attracting hundreds of thousands in perhaps the biggest July 4 political event in America.
In Oklahoma City, nearly 5,000 assembled at the state Capitol, and that was just one event of 32 in the state alone. In San Antonio, another 3,000-4,000 gathered under intense heat to hear Joe Wurzelbacher, “Joe the Plumber,” encourage them to limit the role of government.
One event participant said tea partiers, who take their name and inspiration from the 1773 Boston Tea Party challenging England’s right to tax colonists without representation, include those from all walks and parties.
“We’re about common sense. We’re not about Democrat, Republican, Libertarian. We want our freedom,” she said.
July 4 tea party signs in West Palm Beach, Fla. (WND photo / Joe Kovacs)
The movement really started gaining momentum on Tax Day, April 15, when an estimated 1 million Americans gathered in small groups across the continent.
Karen England, executive director of the Capitol Resource Institute, reported police in California confiscated and discarded U.S. flags when citizens attempted to enter the Capitol in Sacramento.
“We could not believe that they would prohibit the American flag in the Capitol,” England said. “I am still not clear why this is prohibited. The guard at the door originally cited safety concerns, but after consulting with his superiors the rationale became a general prohibition on signs and banners.”
In Rochester, N.Y., 1,000 tea partiers marched on the county administration building and city hall.
Approximately 4,000 people crowded Fountain Square in Cincinnati, while 8,000 gathered in Madison, Wis., 4,000 attended the Chicago party. Even Rhode Island, the smallest U.S. state, brought 1,000 protesters to its Capitol.
Washington state police estimated crowds of 5,000 in Olympia while 2,500 marched the streets of Boise, Idaho and 1,500 rallied in Austin, Texas. In Lansing, Mich., throngs were measured at 7,000, while 3,000 gathered in Hartford, Conn., and 2,000 Floridians in Jacksonville poured wagons of tea into the St. Johns River.
But it was just a “baby step,” according to Tax Day Tea Party national event coordinator Amy Kremer.
“We hired them; we can fire them,” Kremer said. “If that means we have to go after every incumbent in office from now until 2012, we will do that. But the American people are tired of sitting by, and they are starting to step forward and take notice.”
Then came the Independence Day rallies, and they followed that with a 9/12 march in Washington.
Attendance estimates ranged up to 1.7 million.
Traffic camera view of citizens descending on Capitol
On the WND Forum page, GVLaker85 wrote, “They have shown up in force to let the politicians living in the Beltway Fantasy Land … that there are an awful lot of conservatives and Libertarian-based voters in this country. It is not all Coastal Liberals who want to take what we working people have earned and redistribute it to those who are not willing to make their own attempt at earning the American Dream.”
“They probably made the strongest unexpected impact on everyone. They’re Americans waking up and taking on big government,” added “la9304.”
- Sarah Palin – Rather than following the footsteps of her predecessors and fading quietly away after losing an election to become vice president, the former Alaska governor took the talk circuit by storm with her runaway best-seller, “Going Rogue.” Despite leaving office and being roundly ridiculed in the media, Palin has maintained her relevance and is still among the favorites to lead the GOP in the future.
- Hannah Giles and James O’Keefe – The enterprising O’Keefe and Giles went undercover as pimp and prostitute looking for help from ACORN to establish illicit businesses and in the process exposed a culture of corruption within the federally funded community organization. Their hidden-camera videos sent shockwaves all the way to Washington, where the U.S. Census Bureau cut ties to ACORN and both houses of Congress took votes to halt funding to the organization.
- The mysterious “Climategate” hacker – As of yet unidentified, this secret someone leaked e-mails from a key global-warming research center in the United Kingdom in which scientists discuss how to “trick” and “hide” data contrary to popular theories of manmade “global warming.” After the e-mails revealed plots to manipulate which scientists’ findings do and don’t get peer-approved, the world began to question if the supposedly certain science behind “climate change” isn’t fueled more by ideology than scientific principle; and
- Rush Limbaugh – The most listened-to radio talker in the nation has so tirelessly held the White House accountable from the first days after the election that Barack Obama took a public shot at Limbaugh, followed shortly thereafter by other leading Democrats. Undeterred, Limbaugh has worked to make the administration more “transparent” to the American public than any White House to date.
The WND “Person of the Year” institution is intended to recognized individuals who make a positive impact on society against great odds.
WND’s editors narrowed down a worthy list of notable figures to a list of 10 and invited readers to add their perspectives.
One the WND Forum page, “Joyful Song,” suggested, “It’s a shame we need to narrow it down to one, because each of these have contributed to expressing our views.”