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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Chance Meeting: Do You Believe In War?

    I was driving home from a meeting in Sykesville, and I had decided to take a different route home. Right away I realize that this was a bad decision because of the many traffic lights and heavy traffic. I stopped at a red light and a man pulls up next to me on my passenger side. He motions for me to roll down my window. He asks, "Do you believe in war?" Right away I think this is because he saw my bumper stickers, although none of them mention war. The most prominent sticker is larger than the rest and is bright yellow with the snake and Don't Tread On Me...the Gadsden flag, also known as the TEA Party flag.

    I wasn't afraid. He was soft spoken with a Spanish accent. He didn't look threatening in any way. He didn't appear angry. I had all of these thoughts, and managed to answer before the light changed, "It depends." He looked perplexed at my answer. The light changed and I drove on.

    I stopped at the next red light and he again motions to me to roll down my window. He asks me, "How old were you in 1970?" I said, "eleven."

    "Have you ever heard of Viet Nam?"

    "Yes."

    "Where were you in 1970?"

    "I don't know. I told you I was a child. What is your point sir?"

    "Do you know that when I came home from Nam no one greeted me with tears of gratitude and flowers? They spit at me and called me names." Again, very soft spoken. 

    "I have heard about that. I am sorry."

    He again looks perplexed.

    "Thank you for your service. I am sorry that this happened to you."

    The light changed and someone beeped their horn. He said "Thank you," and waved me on. I lost sight of him in the traffic.

    I have been thinking about him and why he flagged me down. I was a stranger with a bumper sticker that he knew was political but didn't know exactly what it was. He felt like he needed to flag down a stranger and ask her about something that happened to him 44 years ago. Why? Why did I take that route? Why did we have this chance meeting? What am I supposed to learn from this interaction?

    All I could think was how sad it is that 44 years later a bumper sticker triggered his pain and he wanted to know if I understood it. I can't stop thinking about him. 

    I think that I will remember him again sometime in the future and it will be a significant moment. It will be an ah hah moment and I will understand why. I have always known about the mistreatment of our Vietnam vets. I've read about it and I've heard about it, but this was the first time that I felt it. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

DOES THE HERALD MAIL LOVE TO HATE THE TEA PARTY?


    I am writing in response to the Apr 2nd Letter to the Editor that was published in the Herald Mail, titled “Of course the tea party is biased against the president” by Rodney Guessford. See http://tinyurl.com/hmandteaparty . This is just one of the many op-eds, editorials, and Feedback column anti-TEA Party comments that I have had to refute since the campaign season has started to heat up. However, I have only been able to provide rebuttals mostly on-line. The HM either does not print my op-eds or op-eds written by TEA Party members, or they hold them and print them long after they have lost relevance. Not all Feedback column rebuttals make it to print. The editorial columnists do not respond nor do they provide a printed public forum for rebuttals. The number of syndicated editorial columns are equal in number for both sides of the public narrative, but the local columnists are either Liberal or Liberal-leaning Republicans, and of course the HM publishes their own Liberal opinions on a regular basis. If the Herald Mail wanted to be fair, they would provide the local TEA Party a column. Even though the national media is trying to convince us that the TEA Party is dead, it has proven to be--and continues to be--relevant nationally and locally since its inception five years ago. It is time to give us a voice.
“…It’s no more biased than the people in this county, especially the tea partiers. Tea party is so biased on their side that they make up stuff, because they have no ideas and no plans.”

    Mr. Guessford and I started an on-line debate on March 27th when he first made the Feedback statement, “…It’s no more biased than the people in this county, especially the tea partiers. Tea party is so biased on their side that they make up stuff, because they have no ideas and no plans.” I assumed that he was making that accusation against the only TEA Party in this county, the Hagerstown TEA Party (HTP), and I challenged him to provide evidence. He still has not been able to provide any. I don’t think that he has a clear understanding of the movement nor has any knowledge about the local group, but before, I attempt to provide both, I will respond to his letter.

    In his latest Letter to the Editor (HM prints his letters), Mr. G stated that the TEA Party is biased against the president. I personally am 100 percent against his policies. I think it would be safe to say that most Conservatives are against most of his policies. He uses some of the signage at TEA Party rallies as evidence that we are biased against the president personally. He just falls short of saying we are racists. The TEA Party has no control over who wanders into one of their rallies. If you want to find a nut in a crowd you will find one. Depending on how large the crowd is you may find many. Has he ever seen a union rally, a civil rights rally, or a gay pride parade? There are always people there who do not reflect the integrity or the spirit of the group at large. It can’t be helped, but the Liberal media has used it in an effort to discredit the TEA Party.
"Well, the last I looked, Hawaii was still our 50th state."
    He believes that all TEA Party members think BHO is not an American citizen and asks the rhetorical question, Is Hawaii still our 50th state? Yes, Hawaii is a state, but can somebody tell our president that we only have 50 states. See mistakes are also made, but only the TEA Party’s are fodder for a media frenzy. All political parties have their characters and bad actors, and the Democratic Party has had their share, but only the TEA Party’s get the negative press coverage.

"The tea party’s always saying we want our country back. Back from where?"
    We want our country back to a time when our Constitution was the firm foundation that protected our freedoms and made us the envy of the world; when people took responsibility for themselves, their families, and their healthcare; when the church and the community provided “social services;” when the Welfare program was a temporary safety net and not a generational lifestyle of dependency; when our national budget wasn’t burdened with entitlements for almost half of the country, indefinitely, and growing; when you had to earn the privilege to become an American citizen, you didn’t brake our laws by entering our country illegally and then burden the American taxpayer with social services meant for our citizens; when things were made in America by American workers; when corporations were never too big to fail; when the government didn’t pick winners and losers; when you were free to say what you want, own the gun that you want, and your privacy was protected; and when America stood by their allies and were feared and respected by their enemies. It has nothing to do with wanting black segregation and "gays back in the closet."
The truth about the TEA Party

   The TEA Party is NOT a nationwide organization led by some central governing body. It is a nationwide (becoming world-wide) grassroots movement. Each group, actually each member, is independent. For instance, the HTP has a Board of Directors, but they are not managed by a larger entity, nor do they attempt to manage their membership. The board just provides enough structure to provide independent like-minded citizens opportunities to meet and network, participate in political activism (locally, in Annapolis, and in D.C.), and stay informed and educated on current events and the political process. We prefer to call our members Conservatives because they may actually be registered Republicans, Libertarians, Independent Constitutionalists, and yes even Democrats.  We don’t all agree on everything, so we limit our mission to things that we all agree are important: protecting our Constitution and our freedoms, fiscal responsibility, free markets, and Capitalism. As a group, we DO NOT get involved in social issues. Social issues are not addressed or promoted at TEA Party meetings, at our events, or on our social media. Members are free to participate and/or promote social issues as individuals.

    As I have told Mr. G on-line, I will be happy to discuss or debate issues. I hope that I don’t have to waste any more time clearing up misconceptions based on negative stereotypes developed from a hatred of anyone who doesn’t agree with him or others like him. Unfortunately, I think it will be an on-going daily battle. This battle should be fought fairly on a level battleground. E-mail Jake Womer (jakew@herald-mail.com) and respectfully tell him that the TEA Party deserves a voice. Love us or hate us, many of us are HM customers, we are a part of the community....and we are here to stay.

* I need to aknowledge that the HM article published about our Meet the Candidates for County Commissioner held last night (4/3/14) was positive and fair. It is the first time that there was not one negative implication or something that would make the public wonder if we are a legitimate organization. The attendance was a little understated, but usually the media grossly underestimates the turnout at our events. I don't think it was intentional. I just think it was a wrong guesstimate. We had seating for 100 and there were not many empty seats.


We promote patriotism, capitalism and free markets as well as personal and fiscal responsibility. We believe it is important to preserve and uphold the Constitution of the United States as well as the freedom and liberties granted to us by our Creator.