I attended the Tea Party held in downtown Tulsa on April 15. To tell the truth, driving to the event, I could envision myself standing around with five or six others trying to convince ourselves the turnout wasn't as bad as it seemed. I guess that's the way you feel after what happened on last November 4; you wonder if you are the only one who thinks and feels as you do. Has the whole nation lost its mind?
Well, all those feelings were washed away as soon as I turned the corner onto Denver Avenue and got my first look at the crowd already assembled a half hour prior to the event start time. No! The whole nation hasn't lost its mind. There are hundreds, thousands (maybe even millions) who feel as I do. This wasn't a tax protest. It wasn't a protest in the strictest sense of the word. I have listened to the mainstream media dismissing the attendants of the Tea Parties as a bunch of racist red-necks. Regardless of what they say, it was a group of people gathering together to express their concern over the direction of the country.
Through the news media coverage of the Tea Parties around our nation, I noted many signs denouncing "taxation without representation." While I agree wholeheartedly, we must face facts, we have representation, albeit shockingly bad representation. Of more concern, should be representation without taxation.
We have about 43% of the people in this country who pay absolutely no federal income tax whatsoever. I'm not going to fall into the trap of arguing payroll tax (FICA, Medicare, etc.); I'm talking about net income tax.
Why is this important? Many years ago, in this country, only property (i.e. land) owners could vote. I have heard this denounced as the government wanting only rich, white men to vote and perhaps to some extent that was true. However, if we can get beyond any racist or sexist overtones, we can see the wisdom of this idea. You see until 1913 there was no federal income tax. There was only property tax. This means that the only taxpayers were landowners. Our government, at that time, wanted to make sure that those who were paying the tax were electing the representatives. Now, we have a large number of people, who pay nothing, have no reason to be concerned about how their tax money is spent, but can participate in the electoral process nonetheless or, worse yet, have the ability to (through the representatives they elect) vote themselves a share of someone else's income.
Now, am I advocating that those who do not pay income tax be barred from voting? Of course not. But we must be aware that a tax increase or cut means nothing to these people. Further, all citizens should have some stake, some "skin in the game" as our President has said. The income tax must be applied equally, a flat percentage rate of income applied to all citizens and residents or perhaps a national sales tax. However, I would never agree to a national sales tax without first a constitutional amendment to repeal the 16th Amendment. Regardless of the means, the tax code should only be used to fund the legitimate, constitutional functions of the federal government, never for redistribution or any other idea of fairness.
Finally, I would like thank all the Americans who took the time to attend a Tea Party. Don't worry that liberals and the mainstream news media insulted or dismissed us as having no effect. They must do this because the alternative is too horrible for them to imagine, hundreds of thousands of conservative Americans taking to the streets, peacefully, in a grassroots movement to express their views.
But this must be a start, not an end. We must contact and stay in contact with our elected officials, Republican or Democrat, and let them know they are on notice. We must get involved. We must help conservative men and women running for local, state or federal office. We ourselves should run for office in some cases. We must have more Tea Parties and the largest Tea Party of all must take place at the polls in November 2010.