COMMUNITY COMMENTARY: Which way for the Tea Party?

Based on Tea Party activities, it is clear there are growing concerns for the “Changes” being proffered by the current administration. Remarkably, this movement does not appear to be the product of extremist liberals, independents or conservatives. And the movement is not operating in accordance with any published manifesto advocating a particular doctrine foreign to our heritage and our long-established system of governance.
The core objections of the Tea Party appear to stem from legitimate concerns involving the shifting of power to the White House, excessive spending, an exploding national debt, and failure to maintain a positive position in international relations. There are additional reasons for genuine concern. The president, along with his Congressional followers (in particular the Congressional Progressive Caucus), are instituting troubling changes. These changes include:
— The closing of Guantanamo.
— Suggesting that on balance the United States owes an apology to the world.
— Attempting to pacify the Islamic world by responding to terrorist acts as civil infractions. That is, using U.S. Courts and U.S. Codes rather than Military Tribunals and the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
— Economic failures including increased unemployment.
— Intellectual disconnect between providing expanded social programs and the ability to pay for them.
— Staffing problems (White House-appointed tsars not paying taxes, following the words of Mao, etc).
— White House-appointed positions being held by unqualified personnel.
— Lack of White House and Congressional truthfulness and openness with the American public.
— Signing costly legislation significantly increasing the national debt to China, and in so doing endangers our national sovereignty.
— Possibly threatening the health and welfare of seniors by proposing to reduce Medicare funding by $500 billion.
— The exclusion of the minority party by the majority party. (Such actions by any majority party are inexcusable.)
— Using budget allocations to garner congressional votes.
— Not allowing private sector industries and financial institutions to fail.
The critical point to be made in this debate is that the administration’s progressive agenda is fundamentally flawed. For the president’s agenda to be legitimate, the public must first embrace the liberal conviction that politicians can better manage our personal affairs than we can ourselves. While such doctrine may be fashionable in Europe, it is clearly not consistent with our heritage. Further, the Tea Party cannot be legitimately accused of trying to return to the ways of a failed past. Rather, it is about strengthening our trust and belief in the ability of the individual to conduct personal affairs without governmental interference.
There are two critical prerequisites to having and maintaining a successful democracy:
1) The overarching challenge all democracies must contend with involves striking a balance between unfettered capitalism and extremist liberal agendas, and
2) The congressional balance of power among competing political parties must be maintained. If the legislature becomes dominated by either party at the exclusion of the other party, constructive debate and balancing compromises are lost.
It follows then, that to be a viable political force in America, the Tea Party movement must become a quest to identify capable liberal and conservative moderate leaders campaigning for restrained pragmatic solutions. Unfortunately, the Tea Party appears to be letting itself be subsumed by the Republican Party. If true, it represents a tragic loss of a valuable resource to the American voting public.

K. Paul Raver is an Oceanside resident.

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