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How tea party can go bad

The tea-party movement is the most exciting, dynamic, powerful grass-roots political movement of my lifetime.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again and again.

It’s a movement that arose spontaneously in the nick of time to save America from what seemed like a fatal drift off course from self-government and liberty.

I believe in all my heart that those in the trenches of this movement have an excellent fundamental understanding of the problems facing America:

The tea-party movement is not, as is often portrayed, a movement concerned only with materialistic economic issues – even if those issues were the straw that broke the camel’s back and got so many individual activists into the streets.

In other words, it’s not just about a collection of issues being debated in Washington – matters like health care, stimulus bills, corporate bailouts, and cap-and-trade legislation. Those are all critically important issues, but they hardly represent the totality of the tea-party movement’s grievances. In fact, those issues are more a symptom of the fundamental crises threatening America’s very existence as a sovereign, free, vibrant, cohesive, self-governing nation-state.

Yet, I sense from some leaders of the tea-party movement a reticence to venture outside that narrow focus – a focus that, quite honestly, obscures the forest for the trees.

It would be like trying to explain the dreams and aspirations of America’s founders by confining them to material concerns like taxes. Anyone laboring under the delusion that the colonists’ primary grievance was economic should immediately review the Declaration of Independence.

Their concerns were broadly set forth as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Their grievances were also individually itemized and few of them were economic.

After all, the colonists, as I point out in my book, “Taking America Back: A Radical Plan to Revive Freedom, Morality and Justice,” were doing quite well economically – probably better than the average Englishman.

But the founders had more in mind than economic prosperity – and so should we.

They had a vision of an independent, self-governing, free nation that would safeguard inalienable individual rights under God.

And this is the vision today’s tea-party movement needs to re-create today if it is to take America back from the precipice.

Today, some Americans are afraid of talking in spiritual terms. But the American Dream is under spiritual attack. So this is not a battle that can be won without acknowledging the rules of engagement. This is a spiritual battle – and if it is not fought in the spiritual realm, with prayer and fasting and obedience to God, then it will not be successful.

The heart and soul of the tea-party movement is already there. The leaders of the tea-party movement simply need to recognize it and encourage it.

Look at the signs at the massive, historic 9/12 rally in Washington:

Yes, this is a broad coalition, but one whose concerns are not just economic and material. Yes, this is a radical movement whose concerns transcend the economic and material. Yes, this is a reawakening of the American spirit that made this country good, great and unique in history.

This movement is much bigger and more important than the Contract With America. The “Contract From America” hardly does it justice.

We sell it short by constraining it and defining it in almost purely economic and material terms.

Editor’s note: If what Joseph Farah has written here resonates with you, consider attending WND’s Taking American Back Conference Sept. 16-18 in Miami.