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The conscience of the 'Me Generation'

Via-Washington Times

Americans recommit to preserving their birthrightBy Doug Mainwaring

Last April 15, Tea Party groups across the nation held tax day rallies protesting Washington's profligate spending and the wild unchecked growth of government. President Obama, speaking at a Miami fundraiser that same day said, "I've been a little amused over the last couple of days, where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying 'thank you.' "

As it turns out, the president had it exactly backward. The White House, together with the Democratic and Republican Party intelligentsia should be saying "thank you" to the Tea Party movement and all of Main Street America. The Tea Party movement is saving America from the dereliction of its leaders while salvaging the legacy of this president and 111th Congress from complete and utter catastrophe.

The Tea Party movement represents a massive turning point for our nation. Like the prodigal son, recent generations of America have squandered our country's inheritance. Like Esau, we have traded our birthright for nothing more than a metaphoric bowl of soup - a crock of entitlements in exchange for our wealth and individual liberties. We have been obscenely self-indulgent and have behaved as destructive, negligent stewards of our nation's heritage. Without an immediate and determined about-face, our children and grandchildren face the prospect of living in a country of greatly diminished prosperity and opportunity.

The emergence of the Tea Party movement signals a season in which a critical mass of citizens have come to their senses, awakening to our precarious circumstance. Ed Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation and South Carolina's Republican Sen. Jim DeMint in a joint statement said the Tea Party "is that inner voice that speaks to us when things go wrong - the conscience of the nation at a crucial point in our history." The Tea Party movement is the conscience of the "Me Generation."

Our political leaders, in pursuit of progressive ideology, have brought our economy - and us - to our knees. Perhaps there truly has been a concerted effort by some to advance the Cloward-Piven strategy to overtax our nation's welfare system in order to force a socialist revolution. Perhaps we have simply been guided by folks who have good intentions, but are addicted to freely spending other people's money. No matter what the underlying cause, something awful has happened while most of us went about our daily lives, trusting that our representatives and leaders in Washington were good and faithful stewards.

When awakened to such an error in judgment and conduct, there is only one reasonable response: repentance. Repentance does not belong exclusively to the realms of religion and piety. It plays an equally significant role within our individual secular lives and societal relations. On a greater scale, when a nation has been brought to the brink of a self-induced disaster, a major change in course is required.

Repentance implies change - a change of mind, a change of heart. Most of all, true repentance demonstrates a real turning away from the error of one's past toward a new, reformed life and it demands a change of action. A romanticized, political promise of intent to change will not do. A true change of direction is urgently required - as much as if one's car were about to speed over a cliff.

On Nov. 2, we are likely to witness an Election Day like none we've ever seen. For many, it will be a concrete sign of repentance, a crucial first step in steering away from that cliff toward safety and soundness. It will be a turning away from profligacy as each individual citizen shoulders personal responsibility for the direction of the nation with his thoughtful vote.

Just as Mr. Obama had it exactly backward about who should be thanking whom in April, now the White House, the Democratic and Republican Party rulers and all their cronies in the world of media, finance and academia, continue to be exactly wrong in their analysis and statements regarding the upcoming election. They incessantly portray the new citizen-politicians elected during the primaries as "extreme," as if their constant refrain might somehow influence the masses. Like the serpent in the Garden of Eden, they tempt Main Street Americans to ignore and reject their own consciences and powers of reason.

That strategy worked in years past, but it stands little chance of working now. Main Street America is awake and alert. The thinly veiled attempts of the party bosses to tempt and corrupt through their calculated political spin has lost its guile. Their sophistry no longer seduces. Theirs is a mantra whose constant drone grows increasingly annoying and wearisome.

Washington's policies are not too abstruse for the masses to understand as the elites love to say - it's just that the Washington cabal no longer knows how to spin the truth without colliding head-on with the political and economic morality of its citizenry.

In August, a Rasmussen Poll revealed that 84 percent of voters think the country has gotten off on the wrong track. More recently, a stunning 70 percent of adults told Rasmussen the government does not spend taxpayer's money wisely and fairly, while 14 percent said they weren't sure. Sixty-six percent think Americans are overtaxed.

The Tea Party movement represents an awaking within conservatives of their most libertarian core values. At the same time, it signals an awakening in multitudes of others across the political spectrum of a renewed conscience about going overboard with sweeping, progressive policies that stray far from fiscal responsibility. Most of all, it is an expression of the rediscovery of the important role that liberty plays in our American way of life and of just how vulnerable it is to both external and internal threats.

As such, the Tea Party movement is an affirmation of Thomas Jefferson's stated wisdom: "The people are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

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