In The Kansas City Star, congressional candidate Craig McPherson responds to Mrs. Obama’s attack on the tea party movement:
Tea party is on the right track
A candidate’s voice: Craig McPherson
Special to the Star
With Michelle Obama’s comments this week and the NAACP’s resolution condemning “racist elements of the Tea Party,” it seems clear that branding the tea partiers as racist or at least intolerant is a strategy that the left intends to pursue to mitigate electoral damage this November.
Many remember, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for America in his majestic “I Have a Dream” speech. Fewer, however, quote the factor which drove him and hundreds of thousands of others on that sultry August afternoon.
“So we’ve come here today…to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir.”
In writing the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson borrowed heavily from John Locke, a Christian political philosopher who suggested that God rather than man or government was the source of our rights to life, liberty and property.
In his first inaugural address, President George Washington stated that “the foundations of our national policy would be laid in the pure and immutable principles of private (i.e. not government) morality”.
The unifying thread for the tea party movement is a modest expectation for what government can guarantee and immodesty in their expectation for what free people of good will can achieve.
Perhaps because this thread runs to the core of who America has always believed herself to be, the tea party movement now is being embraced by long time Democrats and long time Republicans, those with high levels of education and those with little education, those who have never before participated in political events, and political veterans. Although there are obviously some leaders who are trying to bring organization to the movement, by and large, events and protests are driven by those citizens willing to stand, even in the rain, to convey their message.
Despite how they have been portrayed, according to Gallup, members of the tea party are a remarkable cross-section of American life, diverse, taken as a whole from society at-large. This is surely a sign that the tea party movement has tapped into something deeply rooted in the American experience.
There is another story about King: that after the march from Selma to Montgomery he sat in the Montgomery airport and looked around the terminal, taking note of the incredible diversity of people there who had marched with him—white, black, young, old, rich, poor, Northerner, Southerner. This encouraged King and was a sign to him that the Civil Rights movement had moved beyond its original bounds and on was its way to becoming something truly socially redemptive and transforming. King’s name for this was the “Beloved Community.” And it was within this diverse community where America’s ultimate hope lay not with the government against whose oppression he marched from Selma to Montgomery to oppose.
King went on to say that promissory note was a guarantor to the inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. As King looked over the assembled crowd, he had but one central request: for government to set them free.
By the way, those marchers too were accused of being violent, unruly and race-baiters.
Craig McPherson, an Overland Park businessman, is a Republican candidate for Congress in the Kansas Third Congressional District.
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