On Saturday, I spoke to the Northern Illinois Tea Party. In fact, I spent the day there selling my book and talking to the various and sundry people who wandered by. I was on the lookout for loonies, having been warned numerous times by the popular press that Tea Partiers were known to be such. You know what they say in poker: if you can’t find the patsy, you’re it. Damned if I could find even one loony. Hmmmmmm…
Tell you what I did find. I found a roomful of people who were at or near retirement age, many of whom have never been involved in politics but now believe it a moral imperative. I found Libertarian candidates running for office because they realize the system is broken and they want to help fix it. I found a 14-year-old who had earned a scholarship to the von Mises Institute–and who could easily lead a seminar on Austrian School economics.
Swallowing my disappointment at not finding any certifiable loonies, I started looking for the dumb ones. You know, the kind John Kerry says are giving Democrats a hard time. Instead, I found people willing to listen and learn for eight hours straight. My topic was fiat money and fractional reserve banking. Another speaker talked about the specific impact of the new health care bill. Yet another dissected educational methods used in public schools.
Here’s a message for you, John Kerry: Tea Party activists are neither dumb nor crazy. They are concerned about whether your policies are about to hose down their whole retirements. They are afraid that their children and grandchildren will live under socialism or worse, in complete chaos. They are quite well-informed, thank you. In fact, that is the reason they don’t like you and your party. The curtain has been pulled back and they don’t like the people they see pulling levers in a cloud of smoke and sparks.
These people are America. They are just not the America you hold as a fantasy in your mind. They eat lunch at family restaurants and drink iced tea. They have jobs, run businesses, and hug their grandkids. They drive cars, pay bills, and read the newspaper. Regular folks, these are–not some lunatic fringe. Remember that, because America is waking up. November will be the first skirmish in a long battle for the soul of our country. You can get out of Washington and listen to these people with an open mind or you can look down your nose while they kick your behind at the polls.
Many thanks to Jane Carrell and the other wonderful people of the Northern Illinois Tea Party who asked me to share my thoughts on Saturday. Please contact me for information about my speaking availability.