There’s been a recent bombardment of anti-Tea Party editorials, which have contained many misconceptions. Although some of the writers were well meaning, others were dizzyingly foul in their vituperative language. I am always willing to address the well meaning and explain what our Beaufort Tea Party stands for and what we don’t. People, most often, are wonderful and glad of the time and patience taken to help them understand the movement better. For those who choose the latter method of attack, I first, ask them to refrain from the foul language and enter an civil discussion. Often, this is met with an increase of abuse, wherein, I will abort any attempt at logic and walk away. We are a peaceful movement and abhor violence in both speech and action. Over the past year, we have hosted or participated in four rallies and at no time was violence ever an issue, by a Tea Party member. Violence has been perpetrated against Tea Party members and radically under reported in the media.
I have the distinct honor of being one of the five founding members of the Beaufort Tea Party, so I speak with expertise and passion on this issue. Many far right individuals have attempted to control the Tea Party movement with no success. This is a true grass root movement that has no central base of control. Some individual groups, do accept influence from the Republican Party, while the majority of us shun it. Others have slyly adopted the Tea Party moniker, while being loyal to the far left part of the Democratic Party in an attempt to blur and confuse public opinion.
Recently, the South Carolina Republican Party tried to create a Tea Party branch. When word of this action was made known, 22 Tea Party groups joined in protest and forced them to back down. Thus, we made them recognized our individual autonomy. It is the only time that all groups agreed on a single issue and acted in concert.
Although, many of our members are registered Republicans, we also have a healthy contingent of Libertarians and moderate Democrats. A substantial number of members have informed me that they refuse to register with any political party, feeling, and rightly so, that both major political parties have betrayed us. We never ask political affiliation and we get our information only through spontaneous disclosure. Although, there are a few Tea Party groups that have heavy Republican Party influence, people are free to leave them and move onto a neighboring group that refuses party influence. Beaufort Tea Party owes no affiliation to any political party, nor will we endorse any political candidates. The main purpose of our Tea Party is to educate the voters about the candidates and issues and allow them to make up their own minds as to how to vote.
Any person who claims that they are a Tea Party Candidate in South Carolina makes a false claim. Political Parties must be “certified” in order to be recognized. To date, there is no Tea Party currently “certified” and should anyone attempt to do so, they will have to face the ire of more than 20 Tea Party groups.
One recent Letter to the Editor, in the Beaufort Gazette by Raymond Dominick (May 3, 2010)  claims that we are “anti-government, anti-tax, anti-abortion, anti-immigrant and pro-gun”. He got one thing right, we are pro-gun. The 2nd Amendment has been upheld by the Supreme Court, which provides the “right to bear arms” to the individual. As a police officer in Brooklyn, NY, I never once saw a legal firearms holder arrested for a crime with a firearm. I did witness and make arrests for crimes with illegal weapons.
The main tenant of true Tea Party groups is the adherence to the Constitution, not the reinterpretation of this founding monument of our nation. Congress has allowed the withering of our unalienable rights by ignoring this document. Therefore, we are not “anti-government” but for a Constitutional government, which respects the separation of powers, as well as a “limited” one. Our nation cannot function without a government. That would be anarchy and the death of this wonderful country.
To say we are “anti-tax” is another falsehood. Government cannot function without a source of revenue, which is provided for in the Constitution. Unreasonable taxes which cause a heavy burden on individuals and business are what we protest. Congress, which has grown hungry with earmarks, in order to garner votes and support a lifetime career have come up with creative ways to impose new taxes which has only added fuel to our current economic crisis. As a former small business owner and manager, I can say, some taxes are just job killers! We seek taxation with responsible representation.
“Anti-abortion” is a loaded phrase. This is a moral issue and one of states rights. It is an issue I struggled with as a young woman as Roe V. Wade was being debated in the 1970’s. There is a point where compassion for the mother under certain circumstances is a priority. However, when the issue is that the child is to be discarded simply because it’s inconvenient, than we will disagree strongly. If you demand the right to end a life, than we should equally be able to demand you be social responsible and prevent the child’s conception and prevent it’s life being an issue. If the termination of an innocent life is or no more than the reason of, “it’s a burden to my social life or budget” than it’s a death sentence to a child who committed no crime. A criminal commits their crime with the full knowledge that if caught they will face the death penalty. That is a free choice, which is something the unborn child is not given.
To say we are “anti-immigrant” is wrong. We oppose illegal immigration and amnesty. The illegal immigrant knowingly commits a crime when they cross the border. Hundreds of thousands of potential immigrants wait silently to enter legally and are being denied because our system is being overloaded. States and local government are forced to carry the burden as they swamp our emergency rooms for free health care, enter our school systems while avoiding paying taxes that support the school district, commit identity theft with stolen social security numbers, fail to pay federal income taxes that support the Medicaid, Welfare and other services they avail themselves of and comprise over 1/3 of our criminal prison population. Our unemployment rate is 9.9% and doesn’t tell the true numbers. This rate does not include those who are self-employed and not working, or those who no longer are eligible for unemployment, and/or have quit looking for work. If we were to expel just 10% of the employed illegal aliens, you would open over 1 Million jobs to unemployed Americans. Just imagine the relief to the State and Federal budget. Oh and yes, there are a few who do pay taxes, but they still have committed a criminal act when they came here and remain. We are for legal immigration, not rewarding someone for committing a criminal act. The hard part is seeing the consequences to the children of these criminals, but what of the consequences to the families of the unemployed Americans and legal immigrants, who lost their jobs to an illegal immigrant or was a victim of their criminal act? Do we, as Americans, now have less rights and freedoms than a criminal?
Why do we not demand countries that have the largest contingent of illegal aliens in our country reform their policies to promote their economic growth and the welfare of their people? Must we be the ATM of the world? We allow other countries to dictate our policies, why don’t we do the same? Balance the scales! We are the land of Lady Liberty & Lady of Blind Justice!
Truly, if you want to understand what the Tea Party is about visit our web sites, attend our rallies and meetings, read the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution over again. You need not listen to FOX News or Sean Hannity. You do need to think independently and with informed facts, while taking the time to understand the arguments fully on both sides before you take your stance and draw that line in the sand. Above all, debate the issues civilly! We are united as Americans, let’s debate these issues and make this a stronger country!