A couple weeks ago, I drove out of Alexandria City into Fairfax County, then through Prince William County, exiting the D.C. suburbs into the Real America. In the midst of D.C. you forget what a representative is. When you travel outside during election time, you see where a representative comes from.
In Orange County, VA I drove past a fair that seemed to draw the entire community to a field on the side of VA-20 (Constitution Highway). With cars packing a grassy field, barbeque pits speckled throughout the parking area and scattered John Deere tractors in the proximity of a semi-distant stage, I could imagine Congressman Eric Cantor there and on-queue. This season is the time when he returns to his people and speaks with them. He becomes one of them again. He is no longer a Washingtonian; a congressman; a power-broker or an aristocrat. He is their representative; their employee; their servant. It is a time representatives are reminded of their identities.
Through Stafford, Culpepper, Orange and Albemarle Counties, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution echoed in my head. “That to secure [their] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed” (Declaration of Independence) and to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, [we] do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America (U.S. Constitution).” Striking.
Unfortunately, we have today professional politicians: aristocrats. Early in the nation, these men were at best part-time politicians lending their time to the good of the nation and the will of the people, while giving credence to those words. This is called statesmanship.
Like Patrick Henry who repeatedly served as Virginia’s Governor at others’ bequests, or like Thomas Jefferson who served overseas instead of drafting the Virginian founding documents, these men were of substance, honor, ethic and humility. Most were successes in private life and were requested to build and maintain the Republic. As I drove through rural Virginia, the foundation of our nation, I could picture these men on horse and carriage leaving their communities and their livelihoods to represent them in the Capital for three months out of the year.
Contrast that with our leadership today. Nancy Pelosi (CA) stating that we need not worry about the content of legislation until they pass it into law, or Senator John Kerry (MA) explaining that “we have an electorate that doesn’t always pay that much attention to what’s going on so people are influenced by a simple slogan rather than the facts or the truth.” Translation: they are smart; the public is ignorant and simple. These are our agents. They seem to have forgotten who possesses the power and who merely borrows it.
This is the beauty of the Tea Party Movement. I used to get offended at the branding of these citizens as “extreme,” but aren’t they? Think about what is happening. The government is so bloated that the citizens cannot adequately review what legislation is being passed and the federal agencies are so convoluted that citizen oversight is impossible as bureaucrats are writing de facto law. Once in position the representatives, aware of the above, consider the public inconsequential.
Now, the sleeping tiger is awake and growling “It is our power. You have become too strong. You have forgotten who we are and who you are. You, in fact, are ignorant.” It is extreme to repossess authority; to reassign it to those who will redefine government and to render our current proxies powerless. Obama, Biden, Reid and Pelosi are right. The Tea Party is extreme as they defend our liberty.
Thomas Jefferson stated “all tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent” and that “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing.” In the future, all will benefit from this movement, as this is a fight for our opponents’ rights as well. To the Tea Party today and the country-side I drove through, thank you for reminding me of what a true representative looks like. Thank you for being extreme.