We are not the Tea Party; We are the Free Party

Based on what I saw on the social media platforms, the political blogs and the “news” channels over the last year, this was the most hopeless, personal and divisive presidential race I have witnessed in my lifetime. It wasn’t just the far right and far left enthusiasts or the ignorant extremists trying to intellectually (and emotionally) destroy each other, it was my peers, the new wave of 20-40something year old young professionals who were not thrilled with either candidate, who were posting very personal, bitter content that was often more about hating one candidate than loving the other. We have a problem. This election wasn’t about personal or political beliefs coming to a head, it was about the fact that our generation, the new wave, the up and coming core of this country, who are just now realizing that the results of a presidential election affect our real lives, have been left staggering around blindly because we have no good options. To generalize, we are social liberals and economic conservatives without a party.

The Democrats look great on the social issues when compared to the Republicans whose idiots run around talking about legitimate rape, anti-marriage amendments, racial profiling immigration policies, employer limited contraceptives and women in binders. The Republicans look great on everything else when compared to the Democrats’ policies that have us at an alarmingly increasing 107% debt to GDP ratio and a budget that may never be balanced, where 47% of Americans pay no taxes, where 49% of Americans receive some sort of government assistance, where national bankruptcy and widespread poverty are knocking at our door, and where a centralized federal government increasingly regulates and takes power from the states, threatening the very liberties that the Democrats’ social policies favor right now. There is no good option.

As always, the talking heads on the major news media programs spent the election year gleefully splashing around in this giant kiddie pool of hot button issues, rousing both viewers’ emotions and national ratings while guiding a significant population of this country’s votes. A lot of us were so taken aback by the hideous things the talking heads told us were said on the Republican side of the fence that we considered voting Democrat just to oppose a party that is portrayed as a bunch of bigoted, sexist racists; we toyed with the question of whether a slick looking Harvard JD/MBA with a proven budget balancing talent from a party of bigots might be better than four more years of a Harvard JD who is a big government socialist at worst and an academician idealist (like many of us) with a mediocre plan for fixing the economy at best. If we went by the facebook posts from our friends and the email forwards from our grandparents, we had a choice between a homophobic, sexist elitist and the antichrist. We had no good option.

None of my friends who were thrilled with Obama the first time seemed to be so this time, but a lot of them chose to vote for him again either because of an inherent distrust of Romney or disgust with Romney’s stated personal beliefs about gay marriage or abortion/contraceptives. Most of my friends who voted for Romney were less vocal about it, seemingly almost embarrassed of their choice because of his and the Republican Party’s stance on the hot button issues, the same hot button issues that the talking heads splashed around in for a year, effectively polarizing the country (while achieving high ratings) and inciting voting patterns based on issues that should be mostly irrelevant at a federal level. Romney himself even repeatedly noted that although his beliefs on abortion, gay marriage, the legalization of marijuana, immigration, etc, were very conservative, they were issues that should generally be left to the states, not the federal government.  Obama more graciously noted his less conservatives stance on many of these issues, but he stood by the notion of a federal government which is big and powerful enough to start making those decisions for the states, as it has in the world of healthcare.

{I won’t even go down the healthcare reform path into the maze of my conflicting political and professional convictions; suffice it to say that I prefer that healthcare be left to the states, but we already have existing federal healthcare policies that needed massive reform, Obama was the first president to be able to pull that off, and while the vague and far reaching language in much of the Act scare me, I know that its passage was a tremendous achievement for the Obama administration and hopefully our country; despite my discomfort with big government, I hope that we are able to amend and further shape this Act into something that will actually benefit our country and save us from the previously inevitable decline into a scenario where the poor are denied even basic care and the rich can barely afford it. I just hope it accomplishes this (and more) without destroying our medical profession and bankrupting the system. Again, I get hives just entertaining the conflicting voices of the internal libertarian, lawyer and public health professional within me on this issue.}

So here we are, nursing our post-election hangover and idly scrolling through our facebook home feed, muttering expletives at the people who are still talking about the election, particularly the self righteous, whether gloaters or complainers. We are slightly jealous of our hard core friends who backed one candidate or the other to the point of religious zealotry; we wonder how they arrived at that point and whether they just ignored the facts, never knew the facts or allowed emotion to trump the facts. We wonder if this is just how American politics go, if this is how it has been for previous generations and if our helplessness induced apathy is just part of the deal. We wonder if it really even matters who gets elected, whether a different candidate would really make any different choices when presented with the top-secret facts about which we’ll never know and which we fantasize look something like Seasons 1 and 2 of 24.

This is a call to my peers. There is absolutely no reason for us to blindly stumble down this crusty, stale old path that has nothing to do with us. There is no other country in the world where personal liberties and freedoms are as protected as they are here. THIS IS OUR COUNTRY. We are the ones who are going to be left with this mess in 20 years if we don’t defend our interests now. If we try to vote independent or libertarian, our votes are wasted in this two party system. We need to reform one of the parties (or both) into something of which we are not ashamed.

I vote that we reform the Republican Party because I value decentralized government and individual freedom above all else. The problem with the Republican Party is the longstanding bigoted, racist, sexist old ideas that are used to motivate the older generation of conservative, religious right wing voters. I reject those ideas in the name of freedom and in the name of America. We are a country founded on the idea that all people are created equal, that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights, that among those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that government is created to secure those rights and derives its power from the consent of those whose rights it was created to protect. This is what America is about, and this is the purpose of the government.

Founded by anti-slavery activists, the Republican Party’s strength is sound economic theory, high value of the free market and individual achievement, strict construction of the Constitution, and the idea that a smaller federal government that gives more power to the states is one which best protects our freedom and allows us to flourish as a nation. The ultra socially conservative path that the Republican right has taken in recent years has alienated so many of our generation, evolving to the point that it has smothered this country’s and its own founding principles holding individual freedom and liberty above all else. I propose that we, the new wave of “moderates,” loosely defined as the socially liberal and economic conservatives, take back the Republican Party in the name of freedom.

The Tea Party was able to reform a portion of the Republican Party to fit its beliefs; they demanded what they wanted, and they got it. While our ideals are very different from theirs, we stand in the name of freedom, the founding principle of this country and of this party, and that is something that no American in their right mind can argue with. We believe in a decentralized government, one which allows us to determine by state the extent to which we will allow the state governments to regulate our bodies, our businesses, our right to bear arms, our right to marry who we want without government interference, our access to contraceptives, our taxes, and our public programs. Giving power to a federal government to impose regulations across our massively colorful and diverse population is insane. Even the EU knows better than that. We are the United States, and the principle upon which we came together was freedom from an overbearing government that interferers with our personal liberties. We are not the Tea Party; We are the Free Party.

30 thoughts on “We are not the Tea Party; We are the Free Party

  1. Sara says:

    Took me so an hour to read. the title was perfect.

  2. This is a really important discussion, and although I “got it,” first read through, apparently others didn’t. It will be important for you to continue to refine this message, because you are spot on.

  3. I’m sorry, but I’ve been a libertarian (small “L”) for twenty years, and while I probably share many of your views, the notion that the GOP is the party of old white racist sexist homophobes is a lie that the media, education and entertainment industries have used to slander conservatives and libertarians with for far too long. The only reason the social issues (abortion, marriage, marijuana, etc.) are so divisive is because the Left refuses to leave them to individual states, where they belong, and uses them as wedge issues, which they did so dishonestly and effectively in this election. Instead of encouraging the fracturing of the GOP coalition, we should be attacking the pressure points of the Democratic Party’s coalition, such as the tension between gentry liberals who generally favor good (as in non-corrupt) government and better schools and government unions, which are only out to enrich themselves.

  4. billo39206 says:

    Nothing new in what Mark Steyn says either: “the higher-turnout presidential elections are fought in broader cultural terms, and Republicans do poorly, because they’ve ceded most of the cultural space to the other side.”

    • And as you said earlier, it is hard to get your views or culture out when the media won’t report it. Or worse, reports vile lies.

      • rock90210 says:

        Absolutely. And I think that’s the other problem. Romney is accused of being a murderer and its just sort of ok, and Obama lets our embassies in blazes and they talk about about his wonderful photo op with Christie. We are losing the war in the press (ever watch Meet the Press lately? They talk about nothing!) and the culture as well.

        By the way I have always called myself a rock and roll Republican because I care about taxes, liberty and killing the bad guys, not all this other social nonsense. It just gets in the way.

  5. billo39206 says:

    What I’m hearing is the same thing I and others have been saying for quite a while. The Rs need to argue more on principle, not on political expediency as “bipartisanship” equals Rs compromise while Ds get everything they want and that the media is no longer an independent institution but has become a propoganda arm of our statist rulers (we no longer have leaders and we have become subjects)

    • Billo, you da man! There is no compromise when one side want to do what the other believes is destructive of a people.

      Now if they want to behave with proper federalism, and go ruin their States – ok, but trying to ram it down everyone’s throat from the federal level is inane.

  6. James Foye says:

    You have got to be kidding me! You rant on in a way that is obvious you’ve essentially absorbed the labels used by the left about the right and made them your own. If you want to talk about sexism, let’s talk about the vile bilge that comes from the left against conservative women, or worse, minority conservative women. What about a presidential campaign that treated women as though all they cared about was their vagina and that was essentially the sum of what they could contribute. How about the threats from blacks to riot should Romney win or the comments about prominent black conservatives (see Condi Rice for example) by the liberal establishment.

    As for your comments about the tea party, what in the world do you think they are really about if not freedom and fiscal sanity? Do you even have a clue how the movement started and what it actually is? From your post, it seems you got most of your information from MSNBC. I’ve got a hint for you – Google Rick Santelli and Porkbusters for a clue. Most tea partiers I know could give a damn about social issues and really only care about the fiscal problems that face us. Many are libertarians who see the Republicans as the only party who takes their concerns seriously. Their strength has helped mute the voices of the social right and it will be very interesting to see how these competing interests do in the battle for the Republican party. In other words, you are about 3 years too late and a dime short for what I am sure you thought was a stunningly great idea. The REAL tea party has been there done that and they will continue to push for fiscal sanity in the Republican party.

    Before you issue a call to arms, why not try to REALLY put down your own prejudices – you’ll be a whole lot more successful.

    • As much as I agree with your analysis, I believe we should be trying to educate, inform, and empower this blog to further the movement.

      We all make mistakes. Let’s try and explain more gently what is being misunderstood and what is wrong.

      It is truly amazing how many people believe bogus things about the Tea Party, libertarians, and conservatives out there.

    • James, when I speak about sexism or racism or socialism or whatever in reference to either party, I am speaking about the stereotypes of each party that are perpetuated by the talking heads and various news media outlets. I wrote this to that target audience of 20-40 somethings who have bought into the negative stereotypes and who are generally apathetic. I am not saying I buy into these stereotypes; I am saying that the stereotypes spun by the talking heads and news media reporting have been effective. I am saying that these stereotypes and their resulting perceptions are the problem. I am saying that trying to argue with these perceptions usually ends in an ugly debate from which all parties walk away disgruntled and with their perspectives unchanged. I am saying that I would like to create a new image of the Republican Party for my peers which bypasses the negative stereotypes many of them have bought into. The Tea Party was successful in redefining what was important to them and in motivating a lot of people to get involved and to vote Republican. I would like to do the same. I think the Tea Party did a great job. I’m not saying we are the opposite of the Tea Party; I’m saying we should follow the Tea Party’s example.

  7. billo39206 says:

    I find many of your conclusions sound, however I must say I’m shocked that the misinformation campaign against the Tea Party has been so successful w/your generation. Obviously young people today take too much at face value and lack a certain skeptical nature combined w/critical thinking skills. The Tea Party has been organizing a reform of the Republican party since 2009. Unlike what you describe it as, it is not a Social Conservative party but a big tent movement that is focused on precisely the issues you are interested in: fiscal responsibility and limited government. One thing is for sure the Old Guard of the R-party needs to go & whether Tea or Free, some limited gov’t alternative needs to be put in place.

    • Billo, I had the same thought, “Wow, the smear campaign really tricks these people out there” It is scary.

    • Thanks for commenting. I really appreciate this. I actually didn’t mean to speak poorly of the Tea Party but to suggest that a Republican movement directed at my peer group similar to the Tea Party’s movement, which was very successful, could bring in a lot of the inbetweeners and Democrat voting members of my generation. I guess the liberal media outlets have tried to paint the Tea Party negatively as well, but the negative stereotypes to which I was referring are those about the Republican Party as a whole. I don’t buy into those stereotypes, but they definitely have succeeded in alienating a lot of my generation, I believe. I’d like to see a movement amongst my peers similar to the Tea Party and in the same spirit which can delegitimize the current negative stereotypes of the Republican Party and bring in a new wave of Republican voters in 2016.

      • There is a lot of frustration and downright anger over the misrepresentation of the Tea Party and liberty-lovers right now. Especially after an election like this one.

        What is this peer-group of which you speak? There are very young members of Tea Party, the Liberty movement, libertarians, and conservatives.

  8. petedrum says:

    Before you waste a lot of your time trying to invent it, please look into the Republican Liberty Caucus, who are striving (successfully in some cases) to do exactly what you suggest.

  9. this wonderful bunch of young professionals, with your ideals about ‘freedom’ without consequences of any kind, well, buckle down and prepare to meet the looming debt, you know, the one that is really ‘real’. So long as your parents own their homes, and can pass them on to you, you’ll be alright. I guess.

  10. Yes. I agree.

    We started a blog just before the elections with almost the exact same intentions as what you lay out here.

    My lady and I blog over at thefourthquadrant.wordpress.com, please come by and have a visit.

    I would like to speak further about these ideas we share.

    You have my contact information, and I will sign up for notification of new posts.

    We shall communicate when you choose,

    TFQ
    @quadrantfour

  11. Tex Taylor says:

    The problem with the Republican Party is the longstanding bigoted, racist, sexist old ideas that are used to motivate the older generation of conservative, religious right wing voters.

    I’m really tired of hearing this idiocy. You’re as uninformed as the great majority of your generation and just as shallow. The stereotypes of MSNBC dregs in effect.

    Sexist? And exactly what empirical proof can you provide of those charges? You sound like a parrot of the Left. Where’s your outrage of the Bitches & Hos set? Crickets.

    Your generation is a generation of indoctrinated imbeciles, having no idea what character is. You’ve traded character and competency for cash and candy. Obama is hip. Obama is cool. Obama cares.

    And Obama has been an abject failure.

    Where’s your concern about 95% voting blocs, threats of killing Romney should he win, lynch mobs of George Zimmerman? I don’t hear your outrage. Do you have any idea what is said by the Left of Conservative Blacks? You want to hear real racism? Open your fricking ears. You like what the Left calls Sarah Palin, Laura Ingraham, even Ann Romney? The descriptors would make sailor blush. And you’ve got wax stuffed in your ears.

    I financially support a crisis pregnancy center. We don’t discriminate in who we help, and most are minority. But we do have faith. I doubt pompous, sanctimonious asses like you even know those exist. Why don’t you join me volunteering and see who most of the support goes to before you mouth platitudes and practice your false piety?

    And those rights of created equal? You forget who those rights are endowed by. The fact many of us still find marriage exclusively between man and woman doesn’t make us bigots. It makes us the norm of at least 6,000 years of civilization.

    It’s because of clowns like you, I hope the entire system collapses in the next four years. Knock you out of your lap of luxury and learn what real sacrifice is. Piss on you. You make me nauseous.

    I’m not caving on principle to make you feel warm and fuzzy for you amorality.

    • Just for the record, I voted for Romney. and Bush.

    • rock90210 says:

      Tex, I’m right there with you. On every web site (and Newsweek) were just a bunch of white racists. And I do think the youth vote hurt primarily here and we know we all scoffed at it. But it appears real. And I guess it’s because they just watch John Stewart and MSNBC, where they lie continually. But I am so tired of this name calling. Yeah there are some Republican loons out there but they weren’t running for President. We’re screwed now.

  12. Nancy Barnes says:

    Therein lies your first mistake,longstanding bigoted, racist, sexist old ideas that are used to motivate the older generation of conservative, religious right wing voters. You buy the “gimmedat” party line hook, line and sinker. You have much to learn from the wise in the Republican party. I will part with one comment “anybody to the right of left is a right wing extremist.” Remember that as you seek to influence the 20-40’s something.

    • Thanks for commenting. Please see my reply under Andrew Diseker’s comment below. Maybe I did not make it clear that I voted for Romney, that I have always voted Republican, and that I am trying to address the problem with my demographic that keeps them from confidently backing either party and which, I think, has to be addressed for them to vote for a Republican candidate in 2016. If we start now by challenging my peers’ negative stereotypes of the Republican Party, perhaps things will be different in four years. That is my goal in writing this. I think it’s time to figure out why my peers are apathetic, why they vote against one party rather than for another, and how we can change that to save the future of our country.

  13. You seem like a nice and reasonable person, so I don’t want to be rude. But I think you and your friends need to get a grip First of all, there is such a political party right now, and we are the Libertarians, and while we don’t have the kind of money the Rs and Ds have, if you and all your like-minded friends joined up, we might be viable. Second, and this is important, the GOP probably isn’t as racist/sexist/whatever as you are imagining them to be. Perhaps your friends shouldn’t believe everything they hear on TV. There is a wing in the GOP that is actively hostile to some of these social issues you’re concerned about, but most of them are indifferent at worst and mostly don’t support the social programs, not out of bigotry, but because so-called compassion doesn’t come cheap and it tends to make larger swaths of the population dependent on the government in ways that are complex and difficult to change due to path dependency. Third, if our government is functioning the way it’s supposed to (instead of, for example, the executive just bypassing Congress and doing whatever the hell he wants via executive order), the president has virtually no say over anything that would be likely to affect, say, abortion or gay marriage. I guess if Congress could manage to pass some kind of gay marriage bill, Romney might have vetoed it or something, but beyond that, it just really doesn’t matter that much how he feels about the gays or women who have abortions.

    Fourth, and most importantly, gay marriage doesn’t matter if no one can afford to go the wedding. Abortion and birth control? Not issues if no one is becoming a doctor due to an overregulated or if you’re relying on those to be subsidized by the state, and then they aren’t because the state is out of money. For every social issue you care about, the problem is the same: The way Democrats want to implement them inevitably costs money, and we have none. The bluer the state, the less money is left, and if the feds follow that road, we will be bankrupt, and then you can kiss pretty much all of your freedoms goodbye. So, your friends who prioritized “not voting for someone does not personally seem to be racist or sexist but represents a party whom Jon Stewart says is racist and sexist” over voting to save the economy–ah, let’s just say they screwed themselves over pretty good. Because the stock market is crashing, the CBO has just released reports saying that we need “big changes” to get rid of the looming debt crisis (i.e., “just asking the rich to pay a little more” isn’t going to cut it) and Obamacare is likely to lead to approximately 800,000 jobs being lost, we’re getting involved in Mali and are likely to get involved in Syria as well, and Obama has now brilliantly closed off more federal land to oil shale development. Oh, and of course, he’s going to continue executing people without due process, even if they are American citizens and continue to basically have no serious plan for entitlement reform, the major source of budget ills, at all, just as he did for the last four years. So, tell your friends to enjoy the Latino gay abortions while they last, because even if the shit doesn’t literally hit the fan, the economic problems are going to trump everything shortly.

    Sorry–I didn’t vote for Romney or Obama, but when I see Obama voters saying stuff like this, I find it vexing. Your social issues and our social safety net that the increasingly conservative Democrats (conservative in the sense that they refuse any change to programs started 50+ years ago) are entirely dependent on us staying solvent. So, if you look at the political parties and Romney v Obama in terms of voting for a sexist who might fix the economy or a non-sexist (highly disputable in Obama’s case, but Democrats at least have that reputation, earned or not) who will probably make it worse, the choice is pretty obvious, I would think. I didn’t vote for either of them because I don’t think Romney is very serious about fixing the budget (what budget?), either. Ryan might be if he didn’t have to worry about things like convincing his colleagues and the electorate–it’s hard to say. But Romney really doesn’t have the heart to throw grandma off the cliff, I don’t think, so not much would really be likely to change.

  14. “The problem with the Republican Party is the longstanding bigoted, racist, sexist old ideas that are used to motivate the older generation of conservative, religious right wing voters.”
    Name one. Please. And show me in the media, or a copy of a handout, or something that shows this. Because I haven’t seen any appeals to bigotry, racism, or sexism in any Republican tract, pamphlet, or election paper. Maybe I’m too old to recognize it, but I really don’t believe that the majority of Republicans, the ones in charge of the party, hold the same beliefs that people for instance in the 50’s believed. Prove me wrong before you go off on “reforming” something that isn’t there. Also, understand that being accused of racism is not the same thing as being racist.

    • I am speaking of the generalized stereotype of the Republican Party that underlies every liberal criticism whether written, spoken or televised. The stereotype that the Republicans are a bunch of rich old white men who want to make abortion illegal, keep women out of executive level business, crack down on undocumented immigrants by racial profiling and keep gay marriage off the table. I am not saying that the Republican Party is these things or that it’s any of my business who believes in these things or not (the beauty of America is that we all can believe whatever we want and have reasons for voting how we do – I’ve been a registered Republican most of my life), I’m saying that this stereotype is the reason that the Republican Party is losing my peers’ votes. I’m saying that we need to change this stereotype for my generation to get them to vote Republican. The best way I can think to do that is to start a dialogue like this which counteracts the stereotype and changes my peers’ perception of the Republican Party over the next 4 years.

      • I hear you, but that stereotype you speak of is, as many of these comments are saying, is a false meme propagated by the media and the Democrat party.

        The Tea Party is about three main fiscal ideas: Lower taxes, reduced spending, reduce the size of government. There are no social issues. If you watched television or read a newspaper you would think they are all about racism and social issues.

        The only way to change the mind of this generation of which you speak is to neuter the MSM and let them hear the truth. Which I do agree is what we are trying to do.

      • Yeah, maybe the title is what is throwing people off. I’m not in any way criticizing the Tea Party; I am saying that we should do the same. The Tea Party has shown that it is possible.

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