The never ending opportunity/struggle for Freedom.
Which would you rather have it be an opportunity or a struggle?
Lately I’ve been asked as a Tea Party person; “What hope is there for the Tea Party to finish the change we started in the 2010 election.” “How can we increase our membership?” “How can we rebuild our momentum?” The reasons that this question is being asked now are many. Fellow Tea Partiers seem to think for the main part that those reasons lie with things and people outside of themselves. It is always easier to think that way. I’m always fighting myself to not think that way.
The familiar old whipping dogs for the seeming lesser influence of the Tea Party and a decline in attendance at our meetings are; the Liberal media, the monopoly of union thought within the education community, and the ever-increasing role of big government/big business/big labor within the legislative process. Ie the perceived idea that once in Washington elected officials seem to become corrupted. The common thought from all the above is the question of “What can one person do?”
While all of these things indeed are threats to the individual citizen and their ability to affect government, they have been around in various guises since the founding of our country. For Example after writing the Constitution, Ben Franklin was reportedly asked by a citizen, “What have you created for us?” His reply was “a Republic madam if you can keep it.” By saying “…if you can keep it” Franklin rightly put the responsibility on the shoulders of not the government but on those of the individual citizen. In America, that was the uniqueness of our “Great Experiment” in self-governance.
So whether we now change our whipping dog to the Occupy Wall Street gang or something else such as the citizens themselves whom I’ve heard labeled as; “ignorant, selfish, lazy, uncaring etc. The fact remains that all of these reasons are really just excuses for our own lack of energy in promoting what we believe or the validity of those beliefs. Never questioning our beliefs leads to dogma and the ideologues who preach it.
Keeping the energy level within any movement steady is impossible. While the energy level of a movement ebbs and flows, it is necessary for all the Tea Party groups to understand that the real catalyst for change lies with the energy level (motivation) of the individual within the group. While naïve sounding the simple truth is that the energy of the group is made up of the energy of the members of that group. To regain our momentum, it is necessary for us to tap back into the individuals and what is making them upset and angry, not necessarily what our own ideological reasoning tells us what it “should” be.
There is no easy way to do that and never has been, except in the case of an immediate emergency such as a War etc. The energy level needed to keep people “keeping the Republic” can only be kept up by facilitating the individuals capacity for energy with examples and education how citizens can get involved and how their lives and families will be better off; then through activities letting them through self awareness start to enjoy the journey and their own energy.
To be honest, ask yourself the following question. If I and my family were hungry, would I want to learn how to fish or be given a fish? In my case I would want both, BUT first I would want at least a mouthful. While learning to fish I and my family would need to eat something. The Tea Party’s job is to teach citizens to fish through “class like” meetings mixed with “Boots on the Ground” activities. Do we not need to foster and facilitate both the teaching to fish and going out to actually fishing? Do we need not learn not only through the book but by doing?
That is the factor upon which individual Tea Parties need to focus. We need to not become as ideologues but rather to become far seeing enough to welcome progress towards our goals for what it is. We need to celebrate that progress whether it is with the new member because he/she decided to come to their first meeting or celebrate a Senator, Representative or Township Trustee for that matter who votes for something we believe in. We need to congratulate both along with ourselves for making progress.
Just as with our lives, once we lose the enjoyment of the journey no matter how difficult, the sooner we will lose our way on the path towards our goal. I feel it is important to let people know when they are doing good, as well as when they are not.
Whether we are raising children, herding cats, or trying to get congressmen to vote our way; the carrot is as persuasive as the stick and much more agreeable. Think about it; when the stick becomes more pleasurable to use than the carrot are we not headed toward the tyranny we loathe, whether it be with our children, our cats or our government?
If we accept the responsibility of Freedom given to us by the Constitution, need we not learn how to wield it wisely? Do we not learn this by actually wielding it? Is that not what Benjamin Franklin alluded to? Need we not learn how to wield it in such a manner as to strengthen and promote that individual freedom and a government which does the same?
In other more familiar words there is a Responsibility for Freedom that is needed to be accepted by and acted upon by the Individual to insure a government that will act only as necessary to insure the freedom of the individual to exercise their own God given rights as expressed in the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Should we as individual Tea Party leaders and organizers not Only do the same?
Regards, Live Dangerously Be a Conservative