It’s hard to believe it’s been five years.
That’s how long a peaceful yet consistently vocal organization of Americans has been fighting for our nation’s return to
rational economic policy and limited government – as envisioned by our Founding Fathers.
Seemingly overnight, groups mobilized nationwide to speak out against high taxes and high spending, and about how it’s high time our elected officials turn their reckless behavior around if America is to be saved.
It’s worth looking back to the first shot that started the grassroots revolution. Many people agree it began Feb. 19, 2009, on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where CNBC reporter Rick Santelli launched into a spontaneous but erudite rant on the Obama administration’s mortgage bailout proposal announced the previous day.
In what Santelli calls “professionally the best five minutes of my life,” he suggested the economic stimulus was “promoting bad behavior” by rewarding people in foreclosure for buying homes they knew they couldn’t afford at the height of the housing bubble instead of looking out for those who lived responsibly.
“I’ll tell you what, I have an idea. You know the new administration’s big on computers and technology. How about this, (Mr.) President and new administration,” Santelli shouted. “Why don’t you put up a website to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers’ mortgages, or would we like to, at least, buy cars and buy houses in foreclosure and give them to people who might have a chance to actually prosper down the road, and reward people that could carry the water, instead of drink the water?”
Traders on the floor around him began to cheer and shout.
Santelli made a throwaway comment about having a tea party protest in Chicago – and with that, the movement
coalesced around the patriotic theme. Within days, concerned citizens staged dozens of heavily-attended protests across the country.
Now here we are five years hence. The Tea Party’s members and their ideas for turning America around have not gone away, though liberal mainstream media likely wish every day that they would.
It seems like every left-leaning talking head with access to a microphone has taken a slanderous shot at the Tea Party in the past five years. One CBS reporter even went as far as to compare good-hearted Tea Party patriots to the foot soldiers of radical Islam.
The latest roundup of Sunday-morning TV talk shows barely sniffed at the Tea Party’s anniversary. Credit ABC for at least inviting two Republicans to put things in perspective on This Week with George Stephanopoulos. One of them was Rich Lowry of National Review:
“This new generation of conservatives who were brought into the Senate because of the Tea Party,” Lowry said. “Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Ted Cruz – these are people (who) will have an impact for decades.”
CBS didn’t mention the anniversary at all. National Public Radio missed acknowledging the anniversary, even though it made sure to acknowledge the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street in 2012.
You remember Occupy. You might better recall its protesters’ recurrent chaos and lawlessness than the fizzling movement’s actual warped views on social and economic inequality.
But the Tea Party, now five years old, still is standing for meaningful issues and fighting for our country’s future.
And it’s always looking for new recruits.