Brad Marston, co-founder of ConservativeSolutions.org/Let’s Get This Right, organized the Boston Tea Party 2009, held on July 4th. Rimas Ambraziejus of North Easton, Massachusetts was one of the more than 2,500 people who listened to speakers for this event on the Boston Common and at Christopher Columbus Park. I asked him why he chose to attend the tea party. Without hesitation, he responded, “I wanted to add another body here because this is Independence Day, but with the increasing size of the government, it feels like Dependence Day. There is also an intolerance for views deemed inappropriate by both the political powers and media powers. These people have equally turned around the credo of Martin Luther King, Jr. The focus is on skin color, superficiality.” When one talks with Mr. Ambraziejus, there is no sign of the right-wing extremist rumored to frequent such gatherings.
The reality is that there are many individuals like Rimas Ambraziejus. They attend tea parties because they are concerned with the expanding role of the government as well as its unprecedented spending. There are, however, those on the left who have been furiously working to depict these concerned citizens as the fringe elements of society. Janeane Garofalo uniformly labeled attendees of the April 15th tea parties as racists. More troublingly, some politicians have been reacting in the same negative fashion. Nancy Pelosi referred to the actual events as being an “astroturf” movement.
More recently, attendees of town hall meetings, who voice doubts about President Obama’s health care reform, find themselves subjected to the above-described treatment. They are seen as hostile; the responses to their queries have begun to reflect this. For its part, the White House is encouraging Senate Democrats to be tough in the face of unwelcome questions. As for the protesters at these forums, their sincerity has been questioned by Senator Boxer on account of their dapper style. She has even suggested that it is malice that motivates them. Additionally, Speaker Pelosi and Representative Hoyer have reportedly penned an op-ed for the Monday edition of USATODAY decrying their lack of patriotism.
These particular politicians do not understand their role. They are not parents who are taking the best course of action for their recalcitrant children. Rather, they are public servants, who have been entrusted with the privilege of acting on behalf of the American people. Consequently, one of their primary responsibilities involves being responsive to the needs and concerns of their constituents. In refusing to recognize this, they misunderstand this country gravely and the foundation upon which it is built.