My name is Steve Cichosz and I am proud to say that I am a supporter of the Tea Party activities. I can only say this because of the people who participate in this organization. They are not right-wing Republican zealots, though I have met associated Republicans, just as I have met associated Democrats. As a matter of fact, one of the first suggestions made to us when my wife and I attended our first meeting was to reregister as an independent voter.
The people attending these meetings are everyday people like me, a systems analyst with a hobbyist penchant for landscaping. At the meetings have been engineers, housewives, the retired and more. There are those you could call “young” and those you could call “old” regardless of your definition for these terms. What everyone does have in common is strong disappointment in our government.
The concerns of the Tea Party events I attended go much further back than last January. Many of the discussed concerns are considered as having root causes as far back as the early 20th century. Primarily, though, the topic is the consistent degradation of our government to the money-shuffling, lobbyist-serving, vote-hustling, power-grabbing bunch they have become.
I don’t think people who naively criticize these people trying to make a difference that matters by reducing everything to an empty and distracting bickering between two political parties quite understand what’s at stake here … it’s our country, folks. The very freedoms and prosperity that made us the only nation left on this planet considered, without question, to be the last superpower are near collapse and remain under siege by an assailant we never expected to be our most serious threat, ourselves.
It is easy for us to point the finger at another person and group to say “their fault.” It’s easy to point the finger at our president and say “you’re spending us into bankruptcy and breaking your promises” without taking even a moment to understand we have all broken promises when faced with new information.
It is easy to blame the past president for singlehandedly leading an entire Republican Party down a path creating our current situation, and forget to acknowledge that there was a Democratic Congress in place about the time things really started going economically south.
It’s easy to blame our congressmen (and women) and our senators for making decisions we consider horrendous or even illegal, and forget that we elected them and then worse, we ignored them and their antics while going about our own little singular lives.
I say these things not in the arrogance of someone who feels they are doing something more than another, but in the humility of someone who for most of his life did not. I say these things as someone who has finally realized himself to be the “somebody” in “somebody has to do something.”
Yes, the Tea Party does protest, and I dislike doing it, but we do it so others can see they are not alone in their frustration. Yes you may find a Tea Party discombobulated, but they are everyday folks new to these kinds of things and trying to figure it out. You may find their message a bit unclear or off the mark, but they are out there and they are doing something.
So the next time someone decides to use some disrespectful aspersion like “Republican,” “lunatic” or “tea bagger” from the comfort of their own routine, please keep in mind the only “tea bagging” going on with this crowd is in a cup at the local Starbucks. That’s where people come together at 0830 Saturday morning to actually do something about taking back this great country of ours from the miscreants on both sides of the political aisle. These are people who, for the most part, would rather be home waiting for somebody else to do something.
Steve Chichosz, Brentwood