From Tea Parties to Occupy Wall Street, regular American citizens are sick and tired, and just can’t take it anymore. I am a proud tea partier, which means that I am fighting for fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. Those three goals make up the core of our values, something that is very familiar to many people.
However, there is something even more basic that we fight for: process. We are fed up with the establishment, the permanent political class intruding in our lives, and trampling over the voice of the American people. Politicians in both parties feel entitled to destroy the process of governance, which is the one characteristic that really sets us apart – and above – any other country in the world.
During the health care reform debate, Sen. Chuck Schumer from New York stated that the American people don’t really care about the process, as in, we don’t care how Congress passes bills, and only care about what is in the bills.
I don’t believe that is true. I think the American people care very much about the process of governance. That is what gives government its legitimacy, and builds trust among the citizenry. It is especially important in a country such as ours that was founded on the very idea that those in power must operate with the consent of the governed. It is arrogant and insulting to hear sitting Senators say that we don’t care enough to give them our consent.
Luckily, Americans possess a very important trait that I believe comes naturally to almost all Americans. We are rebellious. We learn from the day we start school (some of us even before that) that we fought off the largest empire in the world. We learn that regular, everyday Americans fought off oppression and slavery with just the strength of their spirits, hearts, and minds. We learn that if something isn’t right, we have a responsibility to stand up against that injustice. It recently struck me that we are very unique in this regard.
I spent a few days in Japan in December 2011, visiting with members of the Tokyo Tea Party. They asked me how it was that Americans knew how to fight back against their government, because in their culture, it is a totally foreign idea. I told them that we learn it in school, from movies, from books, from our parents – that it is everywhere around us. They told me that their parents never taught them about this, and that the main characteristics of their culture is submission and defeat.
Though I personally disagree with most (not all) of the Occupy sentiments and solutions, there is still something uniquely American about their movement. And though I will fight to stop them from implementing much of their policies, I am still grateful that the people remember how to fight our government. We The People are rising up, and that, is the state of our union. Thank goodness.
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