Earlier this week, I attended a meeting of We The People – Southwest Washington, the primary “Tea Party” group in my area. I came away from the meeting with a great sense of encouragement that this group is making significant progress, in terms of becoming a consistent and constructive force in our political culture.
In order to more clearly understand the basis for my encouragement, I think it’s important to, first, take a look at this organization’s Vision and Mission Statements …
The Great American experiment has to this day been a question of a people’s capacity to self-govern thus maintaining individual freedoms. When the balance of power between those governed and those given consent to govern becomes imbalanced, liberty and prosperity suffer. We desire that the essential balance of power, having been tipped to the side of those governing, would be restored to its optimal condition.
In all of human history it is found that freedom is the exception, not the norm. The pillars of the American experiment and of the resultant liberty have been a civically moral, educated, and active people. Our mission is to encourage each other, our families, and our communities in these pursuits, thus reasserting civic ownership and control of our cities, state, and nation.
While these statements are inspiring, what’s truly important is following a Vision and carrying out a Mission to achieve an Objective. I think the Objective, extracted from these statements, is: “To restore the balance of power through reasserting civic ownership.” If that’s accurate, there is clear evidence of this group achieving their Objective, in the Agenda of this week’s meeting and the overall program it fits into.
This week’s meeting of We The People – Southwest Washington was the first in a series, where the Agenda focuses on Candidate Vetting. Generally, this involves inviting in three candidates from three separate races – e.g. a U.S. Senate Candidate, a U.S. Congress Candidate and a State Legislature Candidate. Each candidate is given a few minutes to speak and then they are vetted through questioning by a prepared panel of three, as well as random questions (selected by lottery) from the audience. In addition to Candidate Vetting, the Agenda also allows for addressing local issues. For this week’s meeting the local issue was Light-rail and it featured a discussion led by Randal O’Toole, of the Cato Institute. Finally, to assure a more universal achievement of the Objective, this group’s program is networked with matching programs of similar organizations across the State.
It may be obvious that the program outlined above is well designed to achieve its Objective but, without “those governed” participating, there is no real achievement. In this case, on a rainy workday evening, at an elementary school in Vancouver, WA, nearly 100 of “those governed” showed up to participate. This fact is the real basis of my encouragement about what this group is accomplishing. As simple as this participation may seem, it clearly embodies the true spirit of the “Tea Party” movement. Through this, “the powers that be” are being put on notice that we will no longer stand idly by while they anoint candidates based on old-style measures or determine the direction of important issues through political-insider backroom deals. With this, in fact, “the essential balance of power” is being tipped back towards “those governed.”
I want to commend Thomas Hann and his Core Team at We The People – Southwest Washington, for this achievement, through their relentlessly patriotic work. And, I want to encourage them to keep up this good work, along with their counterparts across our nation. This effort recognizes that America’s greatness never came from its government but from its people. My hope is that this work will result in my children, like me, being blessed to experience America at its greatest and being able to hand that greatest nation over to my grandchildren.