There was a time in the not-too-distant past – 234 years ago to be precise – when the ideas articulated by the Tea Party movement would have rightly been considered “radical.”
Not just radical in their ideological composition, either, but radical in the more “irrational” sense – in that advancing these ideas was a good way to wind up dead. And that’s exactly what happened to more than 25,000 American Revolutionaries – patriots who gave their lives in order to provide the liberty we enjoy today (and which we now aspire to pass down to future generations).
From its founding documents to the blood that was shed on its battlefields, the American Revolution was by definition “radical.” According to Merriam-Webster, that means it was “marked by a considerable departure from the usual or traditional,” and “tending or disposed to (making) extreme changes in existing views, habits, conditions, or institutions.”
It was also quite clearly “advocating extreme measures” to bring about a new “state of political affairs.”
And the “radical” idea succeeded – not only in casting off the yoke of Eighteenth Century imperialist oppression, but in forging an entirely unique model of democratic governance. This new nation, “conceived in liberty” two-and-a-quarter centuries ago, followed the blueprint laid out by its Founding Fathers and within a few short generations became the richest, strongest, most freedom-loving nation the world has ever seen.
Meanwhile, nations which were built on counter-ideologies of collectivism, government control, censorship and command economic planning have failed spectacularly – at a tremendous human cost.
In recent decades, however, politicians of both parties in Washington D.C. have inexplicably abandoned America’s founding blueprint and embraced many of these failed ideologies. Thanks to this fundamental ideological shift, the primary source of America’s strength, wealth and freedom – its people – has been greatly diminished.
Now the final “radical” offensive – the one that threatens to bring down our democracy once and for all – is being implemented by Barack Obama and his socialist hordes. In the name of “Wall Street reform,” the federal government has taken over the financial industry (while conveniently ignoring its own starring role in the most recent economic collapse). In the name of “health care reform” it has socialized medicine and mandated that Americans either purchase insurance or pay huge fines to the government. In the name of “environmental protection” it has proposed the largest energy tax increase in American history. And in the name of “economic recovery” it has spent trillions of dollars to grow government while small businesses are going under by the thousands and families are struggling to make ends meet.
As a result of these policies, America’s debt and deficit are at record levels. Meanwhile, millions of Americans remain unemployed with another major economic contraction looming – a “double-dip” recession that will only deepen when dozens of tax increases take effect in 2011.
While both Republican and Democratic politicians have led us here – sacrificing American freedom and prosperity on the altar of government’s insatiable appetite for more money and more power – there is something especially sinister about Obama’s machinations. Like master propagandists of old, Obama has not only veiled his anti-American agenda under the generically-comforting banners of “hope” and “change,” he has also sought to create a foil – a group of antagonists that he can label as the “real radicals.”
In fact, in Obama’s world these “real radicals” are the very people who are fighting to restore fiscal sanity, common sense principles, fundamental fairness and founding wisdom to our government.
“The White House has tried to link the Republican Party with the fledgling conservative-libertarian tea party coalition — and demonize the combination as too extreme for the country,” a recent Associated Press article noted.
Indeed, a full-court press has been initiated by the Obama administration with the goal of portraying the Tea Party as outside of the American “mainstream.” Several establishment Republicans desperate to hold onto their seats at the taxpayer-funded table have joined the chorus, too.
And perhaps Obama – for once – is correct. Not in an ideological sense, obviously, but perhaps our overreaching federal government and its legacy media apologists have successfully branded supporters of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as the real “kooks” in this country.
If that’s the case, then the definition of “radical” has truly come full circle – and the only difference between today’s Tea Partiers and those who gathered in Boston Harbor in 1773 is the source of their oppression.
Such a movement may seem “radical” to Obama and his media elites, but in truth it is not only entirely consistent with American values – it is the last, best hope for their survival.
William Wilson is the President of Americans for Limited Government. He has spent his career working in political strategy and public affairs for various causes and organizations.