The Tea Party Call to DutyBy Sally Zelikovsky
At the time of America's founding, the notion of civic duty was commonplace. Our entire system was predicated on the idea that citizens would take an active role in the governance of their towns, states, and country. Little was asked of Americans other than self-governance, jury duty, fighting wars when necessary, protecting the homeland, and living by the rule of law. In time, Americans were additionally "asked" to forfeit a portion of the fruits of their labor to foot the bills the government would incur.
Over the years, we have handed off most of our self-governing and civic duties to others. As the Founders anticipated, we elect town council members and state and federal legislators to "represent" us. But all too often, we leave the voting booth, brush our hands together, and go back to our normal lives thinking we are done...until the next election. In the meantime, we relinquish considerable power and control over our lives to the very people who are supposed to be working for us.
We have so completely shirked our personal and civic responsibilities that we have inadvertently created a class of professional politicians. With the economic and personal stakes being so high for these professional politicians, the legislation they enact is often compromised, and their re-election campaigns are motivated more by what's good for the incumbent than by what's good for the People.
Jury duty persists, but most citizens will do anything they can to get out of it.
We no longer have a draft. The brave men and women who volunteer do it out of love of country so the rest of us don't have to, and for that, we compensate them.
Most of us try to live by the rule of law and comply with tax burdens, but both have become so onerous that they encroach on our freedoms while bloating the State with power.
Protecting the homeland has two different prongs -- the physical protection of our country, our borders, our property, and our people, and the more metaphysical protection of our ideology, our way of life, our principles, and our freedoms.
The metaphysical is as important as the physical protection of our homeland, yet it continues to be sorely neglected. While most of us are dismayed by the erosion of our liberties, only a fraction of us are willing to fight for them and make the necessary sacrifices our men and women in uniform make every day.
Most of us realize we are in an existential struggle for the country's soul and understand that there are many aspects to this war. Our endgame is to restore constitutional governance, and a key battle will be waged on November 6, 2012. During the next eight months, we will encounter many clashes on many fronts and, like our soldiers, will be asked to participate in many operations -- covert and overt.
From April 14 to 16, Tea Parties across the country will be having their fourth annual tax day Tea Party events. Conservatives of all stripes are required to report for duty.
Yet many conservatives do not see the sense in standing around with a bunch of like-minded people holding signs. They do not think it accomplishes anything. They think it is silly, beneath them, and kind of embarrassing. They could not be more misguided. The strategic benefit to participating in a rally is tremendous.
We do much in the Tea Party that is targeted and action-oriented -- we petition; get out the vote; support constitutional conservatives; call, e-mail, and fax our representatives; run for office, sponsor initiatives and legislation, attend town council meetings, etc.
But we cannot underestimate the value of psychological operations (PsyOps) or forget to employ them.
Taking to the streets is essential in any battle for the country. It shows the enemy that we are alive and organized. It shows them that we are nimble and can mobilize large numbers in a short time. It gets our message out. It brings us together to network and be heard with one loud bang. And protests and rallies do not drain precious resources or cost much.
While Nancy Pelosi is yammering that Tea Partiers are "anti-government," what sends a more powerful message to progressives, Democrats, liberals, and Occupiers? A gathering of a hundred conservatives with signs in a park or a gathering of ten thousand?
What size crowd is harder for the press to ignore? A crowd of 250 or one of 25,000?
So get off your couch, tell your kids you cannot make their game this one time, arrange for that weekend getaway to take place on another weekend, do your taxes ahead of time...and be part of your local Tea Party rally. If you cannot find one, get on a train or bus or plane and come to San Francisco, where you can Tea-Party in the Belly of the Beast.
But do not think for a minute that someone else is doing it. They are not. We have eight months left to find the lost soul of America's constitutional governance. We need every able-bodied conservative warrior to show up and make the sacrifice. This is a tiny request in comparison to the demands made on those who put their lives, their time, their families, and their dreams on hold to fight for freedom.
We might not fight with gun and sword, but we do fight with pen and word. And you cannot be heard if you are not shouting.
For those who brush aside the Tea Party this year, any loss in November will be on your shoulders. It will not be because the Republicans couldn't come up with a decent candidate. It will not be because people didn't try. It will be because too few tried.
The political road is littered with propositions, initiatives, and candidates that failed to garner enough votes, and with petitions that failed to amass enough signatures. We cannot allow this election to be a casualty of inaction.
Ronald Reagan -- whom conservatives love to quote -- spoke often about the risks attached to apathy and lack of participation.
Americans have faced many forks in the road, and it comes as no surprise that this is another "time to choose." Do I stay home or get involved? Do I set aside time in the next six months to help a candidate or watch the returns on TV? Do I go to my country home every weekend or postpone it so that I can GOTV? Do I go for my jog when the Tea Party is happening or do it earlier in the day? Do I make some phone calls to support a Senate candidate or chat with friends over coffee?
It doesn't matter if you wear a tool belt or a suit to work. It doesn't matter if you earn $20,000, $200,000 or $2 million a year. It doesn't matter if you went to trade school or law school.
This is not the time to worry about what your neighbor might think. This is a time for each of us to do his or her part to save the country. It is a time for valor -- maybe not on the battlefield, but certainly on the political battlefront.
You can simply quote Reagan and feel good about yourself for a few minutes, or you can get involved and preserve this shining city on a hill for generations to come.
Otherwise, as Lincoln said, "To stand in silence when they should be protesting makes cowards out of men."
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