The media were right to dismiss our “Tea Parties”

I shouldn’t say “I told you so.”  So I’ll just say, instead, that being right has never done me any good at all.  In fact, it’s been a costly annoyance to both me, and to all my loved ones.  Being right is no advantage in the voting booth; it seems absolutely detrimental in electoral politics.  It’s no advantage in any way I can think of.  And it’s downright dangerous to be right when the government and its media are wrong.

I hope, in fact, that I’m desperately, completely and astoundingly wrong about what’s coming next.  I pray that I am very, very wrong.

So I’ll not say “I told you so” about all the warnings, predictions, admonitions and sermons I’ve written, spoken and kinetically harangued upon my friends in the ongoing battle for liberty and justice.  No, I will restrain myself by means of superhuman humility and magnanimous spirit…

But we should admit that the media got it right.  They have correctly portrayed the “tea party” hubbub, and the liberty movement in general as undirected, vague, and ultimately, pointless blather.

It pains me to say so, but my allies in liberty and justice are not just wasting their own time and money.  Rather they are destroying our combined credibility.  They discredit truth, and are, in effect, stealing from us all by spoiling the opportunity for those who’d do the right thing.

What is the right thing?  I’ve said it many times on these pages, but maybe it’s just too simple to comprehend.  Maybe it’s too basic to seem like a clever tactic or even a pragmatic first step.

We all have to agree to what it is that we want.  And there is only one thing that I am aware of that all of us actually want…Rule of Law under existing state and federal constitutions as written.

We’re out of time for all this fooling around.  We must stop thinking of tactics and games.  We must stop thinking of others as our enemies when we need no enemy other than ourselves.  We will never convince others of anything as long as we are ourselves such doddering fools that we can’t articulate for the media just what the heck it is that we want.

Before I go and say again what it is that we should be doing, here’s the setup:

“The media” are not anything other than people.  While these particular people tend very strongly toward soviet-style authoritarianism, it’s not their ideology that causes us problems.  It’s the usual human laziness, mental weakness and idolatry that plagues us all.  Like us, they worship celebrities and disparage those who attempt to become one, and fall back to earth.  They kick such people.  Trust me. 

They love excitement, but see it in all the wrong places (sports, celebrities…and weather).  And like the rest of us, it takes the firm administration of a baseball bat to make them change their ways. 

So when you get a microphone in your face, “the media” will try to label you as quickly and dismissively as possible.  If you offer ten minutes of Patrick Henry-like rhetorical brilliance, they’ll air the one point at which you stumble and say, “ummm…”  If you speak convincingly about something they don’t understand or don’t like (Rule of Law under existing constitutions as written), and offer, for example, income tax, you’ll be dismissed as a “tax protester,” and nobody will ever hear what you said about the constitutions, or the sweetness of politics on a leash.

This last point is my whole point.

We must, immediately and without any waffling, converge on a single message and deliver it without any side trips, divergence, hesitancy or missteps.  We must simply, firmly, passionately yet reasonably present the demand that politicians, policemen and soldiers keep their oaths to the laws that protect us from them.  They must obey the written constitutions, as written.  No “interpretation” from the bench, no caveats, provisos, ifs, ands or buts.

You must not protest government spending, taxation, or even overt oppression.  Do not mention Ron Paul, though this is his cause too.  Don’t talk about central banking or “The Fed.”  You must not write letters, campaign or speak to neighbors about the myriad symptoms presented by our collective social disease.  We must address only the disease.  Quit nibbling at branches; it’s time to strike the root.

What’s the root that we can all agree upon?

The existing state and federal constitutions are still the best, most practical, most proven, most fair and just social contracts ever signed into law.  So let’s agree that these are exactly, and only, what we want.

We have easy communication now.  We can still move freely.

Do not assume that this will last much longer.  And most definitely do not assume that a “revolution” will get you what you want if you can’t even agree now what it is that you hope to accomplish with violence.  The hour is late, and our side is losing.  Your choice is not up to your enemies.  It’s all up to you.  Personally.  Right now.


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  1. I respectfully disagree; the TEA parties DO matter. The problem is that their impact has not been felt.

    I attended two events on April 15–one in Terre Haute, and the one in Indianapolis (if the numbers generated by the media are correct, then that “2,500” at the statehouse yesterday means that no Indianapolis 500 has ever had more than 50,000 people in attendance).

    In Terre Haute, quite arguably the second or third biggest liberal county in the state, brought 225 people to the courthouse for the event. That is more than 7 years worth of war protests at the same site combined. In Terre Haute, we took names, addresses and phone numbers of the attendees, with plans for future events already in the works. At Indianapolis, there were several people doing the same thing.

    Getting together is one thing–a group of baby ducks walking across the lawn will generate a crowd–but when you start talking names, then you are organizing.

    I would echo what the DC Examiner poin ted out earlier in the week. In the early 1990s, Right-wing talk radio was dismissed by the left as un-important; two years later, the Democrats lost control of Congress, and Rush Limbaugh & Co., had become a “vaste Right-Wing conspiracy.” Two years ago, the Right ignored blogging, leading to Obama’s election.

    We have just seen the Overture of this movement; and criticism should wait to the at leastthe end of the first act.

  2. […] media were right to dismiss our Tea Parties The media were right to dismiss our ?Tea Parties? We Declare *From the blog of Andrew Horning (former libertarian Indiana gubernatorial canidate) The media […]

  3. Your opinion certainly has merit, Robert. But I’ve been doing this for decades, and I’ve seen all kinds of “movements” come and go. I’m amazed how events like those at Kent State and Waco just waft away in our collective memories.
    The one thing that’s been sticking in my craw for years is how we liberty-loving folk so adamantly refuse to converge. We make innumerable new organizations that ultimately oppose each other without opposing our common enemy…ignorance and sloth.
    I am certain that we humans have a self-destructive default state that we’ll get if we don’t oppose it vigorously. And we’re collectively batting at phantoms that can be easily swatted away as long as we don’t address the core issue of who’s in charge, how much do we trust them, and with what.
    As long as we ask for new programs, new laws, new tweaks on old laws…we lose. Because the basic problem here is anarchy! Our dangerous political powers are completely ungoverned.
    We must oppose that in unity, because our numbers still show badly in the voting booth…

  4. Andy, this is precisely why I suggested to our local Tea Party that our platform be the Constitution minus slavery, plus the Bill of Rights. It’s simple, it’s clean, it’s effective. Assailing it forces the other person to become the extremist.

    Once that suggestion hit the floor, everyone dropped their specific issues. It passed unanimously and enthusiastically. (Someone else brought up you, my friend, and your rule of law argument. They loved it and are dying to hear more.)

    There’s also the emotional side of this: By saying yes to our Constitution, it makes us modern-day signers to the most amazing political system ever devised. What a thrill!

    Keeping us on target is a far harder issue. There’s still a lot of ranting and raving, though it’s diminishing as they’ve had their chance to vent.

    We’ve been at this longer and got it out of our systems. They need the chance to do the same.

    I’m trying my dangdest to put out a hand and find common ground, no matter what party. Some of my fellow Libertarians would have a cow. Heck, I’d rather these folks all become happy Libertarians, arguing about what they’d do with the fruits of liberty that are growing on the tree. That ain’t happenin’ any time soon. So I will work to develop the common alliances we need.

    Will we succeed? Depends how you define success. If it’s getting everything we want, absolutely no. If it’s pushing back, maybe — but ONLY if we put aside our liberty destination requirements and insist only on the liberty portion. That’s a very tough part because too few people understand that part.

    And that’s our job, my friend.

  5. Thanks, Sheri. I hope people don’t take my arrogant rant as defeatism. I’m still hoping (albeit with increasing desperation) that we’ll unite and prevail. We would prevail if we’d unite! But I see so much ego and organizational fetish tied up in all this well-intended fervor. I bet I see a new “real” conservative group forming every day. We don’t need more groups. We need unity in vision, purpose, action and message.
    And I’m standing by. What happens next isn’t up to me.

  6. One more thing, Sheri…
    We don’t even have to say “Constitution minus slavery, plus the Bill of Rights.” Those things are already The Constitution for the United States of America.
    I’d even gladly accept the evil amendments (from 16 up), as even with the wickedness attached, almost all of our most serious problems would disappear.

  7. Andy, we all get defeatist. If this opportunity passes with liberty not moving forward, we’re in huge trouble. I do not kid myself. The chance of failure is extremely high because many of these people cannot get past their personal issues to see the whole.

    Some will never come on board. Never. They may scream for liberty, but in truth, they only want liberty for themselves. They’re totally unwilling to see the truth because it’s too damning. They don’t understand that they’re as dangerous to freedom as the people they rail on for being socialist.

    Some don’t understand yet, but are capable of understanding if we put it out plainly. It’s our own fault, really. Our own tendencies to pontificate get in the way, and it’s easy for those who want us to fail to twist our words.

    And some are already with us, but they didn’t know how to join us. We met one such man last night at the Tea Party. After serving in Iraq, he came to appreciate much more deeply what a wonderful system we have in the States and what it takes to keep what is good from turning into what is dreadful. He could easily bring 2-3 family members along, people who’ve decided they’re fed up with playing a rigged game.

    He gets it. More do, too. It’s reaching out to them that is the challenge. And it’s OUR challenge to introduce ourselves in places we may not usually travel.

  8. Andy, You may well be right. Let’s assume that we convince all Libertarians that the only cause worth addressing is that of written law. How then do we articulate it in a way that is more powerful than our opponents at the polls? In the past and today we represent the written laws in the Bill of Rights as not the perfect system of government but the best there is or ever was. And even in it’s imperfection we declare that straying from the Bill of Rights is far more dangerous than dealing with it’s few shortcomings. These imperfections are however fuel for our political opponents and we had better be ready to articulate our argument in a way more easy for the average voter to understand than we have in the past.

    For instance: When we defend the first amendment, are we defending all free speech or press? What do we tell the reporter when he asks us on camera what our stance on internet child pornography is? We defend the right to bear arms. So what arms are we referring to? All arms, small arms, or the arms that existed when the right was written. I have heard many of our answers to questions like these. Most of the answers were either vague (and open to scrutiny) or so complicated that the average person would loose interest before jumping on board.

    I have spent over 10 years of my life polishing my political arguments in the areas that you proclaim frivolous, a waste of time, and now damaging to our dream of self government. If you are right and I have been wasting my time, fine. Now I would like to see you write a blog on how better to answer the above questions and ones like them. Failure to answer them appropriately damages the argument for written law more so than if we ignore it.

  9. All good stuff, Guy. I promise to blog on this too. But the short answer(s):
    1. We don’t have to be perfect for two reasons. a. We need unity first, then our cleverness will appear. b. Our “enemy” sucks, as it’s no more than our stupidest default state. What do the socialists offer that anybody believes? It’s all utter pig sauce. There are no good jingles, no catchy songs…it’s all stupid. Surely we can do better.
    2. We answer reporters by saying, “Did you hear what I said? You have no rights either as long as politicians disobey the laws that protect us from them. We can amend laws if you think they’re faulty. But first we need Rule of Law!” Never, ever get dragged into a discussion of details when the basics aren’t even in place!
    3. You’ve wasted nothing. I would never call such arguments frivolous; only premature…or not for the media. Between individuals, we can educate. For the cameras, we must insist.

  10. I get it. Great answer. Looking forward to the next one.

  11. Yes, Andy, you’re right. Ignorance and sloth are our enemies. Education and motivation are the cure for ignorance and sloth. We know that. But a small mass of people, educated and motivated as they might be, cannot move the opposing mass. Success will come, if at all, from educating and motivating _many_ people.

    Prior to 2009, we had done the educating and the motivating – quite well, actually. We had not been able to achieve the “many people” part. We have always lacked mass.

    Regardless of the strength and veracity of the message, speaking on a soapbox to tumbleweeds will net us educated tumbleweeds.

    The tea parties are now attracting the types of numbers (assuming the growth continues) that might enable us to push back toward liberty.

    There are a great many people saying that the cause of liberty has, for some time, had a hard time uniting because of our own independent nature. I said that last night to Dr. Basso. That’s nothing new.

    Finding a way to coalesce is the key. The side of tyranny has found it time and again (even if the coalescent agents are merely apathy, fear, and hatred). And until the side of liberty finds it, we’ll continue to lose.

    No, scratch that. I’m going to re-word it. As we find ways to unite toward liberty, we will win.


  12. I would ask if you were at the events. I hope you were, but I suspect you weren’t

    Again, with all due respect, but little infuriates me more than anyone telling me, “i’ve been doing this for years (decades), therefore I know more about it than you).

    Such comments are defeatist and a tad bit patronizing. I ask that you not dismiss my experience simply because it is not yours.

    I am a member of the media; I publish three papers and edit a fourth. I’ve also been a candidate for office. I was a GOP state delegate and am a current precinct committee member. Now that we’ve all got our credentials out, let’s return to the events themselves.

    There were many Libertarians at both events, and I took the time to to meet them. I signed up to receive more information from the Ron Paul folks and from the Republican Liberty Caucus. People were handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

    I believe that the secret to winning this is the spread of information. The fact that thousands of people went home from these events with information in their hands is highly significant.

    This movement is not just about taxes. It is also about limited government, about a return to the Constitution, about a return to the core values of this country.

    Media coverage of these events should be dismissed. I have yet to read an article that wasn’t hopelessly biased from the start. One significant factor missed was the large number of families in attendance. Parents with their children. In some cases three or four generations. At the Terre Haute event, two high school girls spoke of their own groups that they have started long these same lines. In Indianapolis, most the media left before the speakers began. Or they circled overhead in helicopters.

    If you dismiss anything, dismiss the media coverage. But please don’t dismiss this before it truly starts.

  13. Robert, if my hasty replies in any way dismiss you as an authority, I sincerely apologize!
    No, I didn’t attend any events; for reasons I’d already discussed, as well as the practical fact that I simply could not. I’ve driven a stake into the ground that I will not attend any event that’s not completely and only about Rule of Law under existing constitutions as written. I won’t write about anything else, I won’t spend any more of my money on anything else. I’m done with every other political thing. I won’t budge. That’s just me. Yes, I am an uncompromising zealot. I apoligize if that’s offensive.
    On the other hand, one of the problems with blogs is that they’re too often quickly written and posted for the whole world to see without so much as a splle-chek. The advantage of blogging is the passionate, shotgun-splattered and unedited sturm und drang that can be very effective communication in itself.
    Well, I dashed off my last blog after listening to major media news coverage of the “Tea Party” events on Tax Day. The site meters spiked, and I got emails, Facebook/Myspace/blogsite comments …and lots of phone calls. Too many phone calls. I wish that had happened while I was running for Governor of Indiana!
    Anyway, it was something of a sinus-clearing jolt. I shall try to clarify my thoughts, subdue my ego and pseudo-righteous condemnation, and address the excellent questions and points raised by others (like you) in a blog sometime soon.
    But you do underline my my major thesis for me when you say “core values of this country.”
    This statement raises all sorts of Gay Marriage/Smoking/Ban It For The Children spectres.
    Americans are, sadly, human. We have no core values, as a mob, that raise us above the Soviets. We did have laws, however, that were steeped in what you and I would agree are wonderful moral principles; I want those laws back. We do still have echos of those laws, and I hope that we can amplify them into some real noise. Maybe you’re right that this is what is happening now.
    I pray that is so.


    Dear Ms Marshall,

    I recently watched interviews where you seemed quite confused about the validity of the Tea Party protests that took place on April 15th and you alluded that people were just upset over paying their taxes or this is some hijacked right-wing event to counter President Obama’s ability to do his job. The fact is, I do want Mr. Obama to succeed and it would be ridiculous to think anyone who is an American would actually want someone to fail.

    Let me first express that I come from a rather large family whereby we are literally split down the middle between Republicans and Democrats and a few of us, including myself, consider ourselves Independents and a vast majority of us on both aisles are very angry at both political parties. On Wednesday, I attended the tea party event in my city of Indianapolis. While it is true that some who attended the events were confused about the reason why they were there or they came with other objectives (such as Obama or George W Bush bashing or in regards to a very narrow special interest focus), the vast majority of people agreed upon one founding principle…that our public servants are not following the US Constitution or what is known as the written rule of law. That was the single greatest focus which was expressed by a vast majority of people I had interviewed.

    Now, getting back to your stated premise, you mentioned that you felt that most people were there because they hated taxes and you even expressed that Obama has only raised taxes on those who makes $250K or more a year. I must advise that you are missing the point and it deeply frustrates me watching others debate with you and not tackle the single most important issue in regards to taxation which is known as the inflation tax. Let me dig further into this topic for I truly hope I can help you understand the seriousness of the issues I am bringing forth to you as what is and has happened in our nation is nothing other than currency devaluation. You see, the US Government and our state & local governments are bankrupted. They are out of money and they have bonds (debts) due. So how does a government raise capital if they are broke? Where does the money come from? If you are not aware, the only way the government can raise capital is through three processes: 1. Raise Taxes 2. Decrease Spending 3. Print money out of thin air. Guess which one our government has chosen? If you guessed #3, then you are correct.

    Let’s dive a little deeper into this issue. We are not only dealing with the reality that our government passes bailout/relief/stimulus bills without reading them, but we also have witnessed the Federal Reserve, which might I add is not a part of the Federal Government and is a private bank, printing more money at will and without Congressional approval and dump it in the marketplace. What happens to the value of money when more money is printed–it actually decreases which means we all pay more for goods and services (see: This is known as an inflation tax and sets us up squarely in the sights of hyper-inflation. Couple that with the loss of jobs, decreasing wages, less profitability from companies and this spells BIG TROUBLE.

    If you’re not sure how this works, I suggest you to buy a stock with a company which just announces that they are going to raise capital by increasing the number of shares in the marketplace and watch what happens…the price of the stock goes down.

    Let’s take another look at how our government plans to solve this credit crisis. We area already bleeding profusely in debt and our government is telling us that they can solve debt by increasing spending and creating more credit (printing more money). Ask any business what they do when times are bad, the first answer you will receive is that they cut their costs (i.e. reduce their spending and pay off debts).

    On a final note, we are going through a deflationary cycle which I equate to being a sign of a coming tsunami. What happens before hyper-inflationary woes takes place is that the tide actually pulls away from the shoreline (called deflation) and builds into a massive tidal wave called inflation. Once this tide comes to shore, many many people are going to be wiped out and mass chaos will ensue.

    I expect the best out of you and I can understand your concerns about the problems we face as a nation, but like many others in our news media, you must learn how money works for what is about to happen is going to change the course of history in the USA and the world.

    Wayne Kirk
    Indiana Real Estate Broker
    (317) 966-7716

  15. Wayne, this is excellent. You make your point well, with respect and humility. Your opening sentence should grab her attention, but I doubt she’d read anything so long as that. She must get a lot of emails, and I’d expect she’d toss anything that doesn’t scan fast.
    I don’t know how to get around that. Then again, I apparently don’t know how to succeed in anything related to politics…

  16. Ahh Andy,

    Diligence brings about success. You are too hard on yourself and tend to put the world upon your shoulders. I believe we all realize that we have a massive mountain of ignorance to overcome, but I wouldn’t worry because I know the pressure is building.

    The American Revolution did not happen in a single moment, just as much as the Civil Rights & Women’s Rights movements. They took years to happen and spanned across many generations. We are trained as people to think of life in a fast-food mentality where we want everything now.

    I know you’ve been frustrated and down for a while and that some people have treated you unfairly, but just remember, they just gave you an opportunity to know who your real friends are… 😉

  17. Thanks, Wayne. But I don’t think I’m being impatient at all. If I saw us heading in the right direction, however slowly, I’d be delighted.
    But I see us charging for the cliff with nobody listening to the cries to STOP!
    Obama’s handlers have already figured out how to beat us; they’ll just do what they want by international treaty, which, by the wording of the constitution that I can’t really quibble, has the full force of “The Law of the Land.”
    We aren’t doing what we have to do, and the clock is ticking toward Game Over.
    I don’t think I’m impatient. I’m desperate. I’m scared.

  18. Andy,

    There’s a story (See Citation #1) about George Washington I wanted to share with you:
    “The best example of his leadership happened in March of 1783. Cornwallis had been defeated at Yorktown a year and half earlier, but a treaty had not yet been negotiated. Even though the fighting was over, the army could not go home, hostilities could resume any day. And the Continental Congress had promised money and supplies that had not materialized (imagine that, Congress falling short of promises to the military).

    His officers had gathered to contemplate mutiny. Some wanted to march on Philadelphia and take over. The United States had not yet been formed, and it was on the verge self-destruction. Washington walked into the room, and before giving a speech he had prepared, lifted a pair of glasses to his eyes. His men, who had been with him for years, had never seen him wear them before. He noted their surprise, and said, “I have nearly gone blind in service to my country.”

    Upon hearing this his men began weep. Officers who had survived years of open warfare were weeping. They remembered all they had been through, and why they had gone through it. There was no mutiny. With one sentence Washington had quelled it.”
    During the darkest of days when all hope seems to be lost, there is always an opportunity for great things to happen. I share in your understanding that things are going to get much worse here soon as our economy unravels. However, I must express that even though nearly a million people gathered this past Wednesday to express an array of concerns, the day has already arrived where we are no longer speaking in front of tumbleweeds. Opportunity will come when people feel the most pain and then tens of millions will gather across our nation for they will no longer have faith in either party and will be looking for constructive solutions as you have proposed with returning to the wisdom our founding forefathers prescribed when they signed the Declaration of Independence and then created the Constitution. In any regards, I know your idea is right, but the timing is wrong…

    Citation #1:

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