The tea party movement is attracting a lot of attention. The folks involved have been praised by some and condemned by others.
There have been plenty of accusations by both supporters and detractors over what this new movement is and what it stands for. If you are on the outside looking it and trying to figure out whether or not this is something you would like to be involved with, the view is not 100 percent clear. To some, the folks involved are a bit too passionate and seem to be trying to shout the country back into shape and if that fails some seem willing to consider more aggressive means for reform. Others say this is nothing but an offshoot of the Republican Party and won’t amount to much.
The exact motives of those involved are probably quite varied and while perhaps worthwhile, really not the most important point. The importance of this new party concept is that more people are finally getting involved and openly opposing what they see going wrong in this country. While not everything any group stands for should necessarily be blindly accepted, at least these people are willing to get out and show they are concerned. For many voters, the two party system is getting stale and we need alternatives.
Public involvement is the cornerstone of our democracy and a lack of public involvement has created a lot of problems in this country. Local politics is no different and it is at the local level that change needs to start. And we do need change.
When all is going well and the economy was singing along, very few citizens were paying much attention to what government was doing. Unfortunately, government was and still is making mistake after mistake and in the process setting the stage for destroying the economy and selling our futures far down the road. We already know that at the federal level we will have left our children trillions in debt to deal with, more than ever before and still climbing. Locally we have pledged our tax future away for hundreds of millions in unnecessary and extravagant projects that could have been just as functional at a fraction of the costs. Not to mention the special projects now being considered.
So many of our knee-jerk reactions to the past have been the building blocks to the problems we face as a community today. We booted out the “bad” politicians of a decade ago and to make sure we did not make the same mistake we elected others with no knowledge of how government or large business operates. As a result, too many of our elected officials can only rely upon staff direction and analysis instead of solid, fact-based reasoning borne from experiences of their own.
When our parks become “water” parks to rival Disney for tourist attractions and we pay nearly $60 million for this privilege someone is not watching the store. When we pay $35 million for a concrete overpass that can be functionally accomplished for half that amount without all the fluff, someone is not watching the store. When we pay $60 million to overbuild an emergency operations center with every conceivable toy, someone is not watching the store. When we approve long range transportation plans that will require us to shell out more than $1 billion in road improvements to split up a local community, bulldoze homes and provide services they do not need or want, someone is not watching the store.
The list can go on and on and this is just locally! Expand these mistakes to every county, every municipality, every state and finally roll them all up to Washington, D.C., and it is no wonder folks are finally getting riled up enough to stand up and shout. When government is paying more attention to itself than to the people it is supposed to serve, everyone needs to get more involved and make as much noise as possible to be heard.
Sitting back and waiting comfortably for someone else to do the heavy lifting will no longer work. If not a tea party, then somehow voice your concerns to your own political group, to your neighborhood associations, to the local civic groups, but no matter what get involved and demand we become the form of government we have all believed in.