Monday, February 24, 2014

Please, Let Passionate Voices Speak!

Okay, so this is the fifth anniversary of the modern Tea Party movement.
And, I want to know: What's wrong with citizens giving public officials hell?
What's wrong with taxpayers raising their voices to elected officials?
What's wrong with ordinary people (seniors, taxpayers, vets, moms) coming out to meetings and speaking their minds?
What's wrong with afflicting the powerful?
What's wrong with challenging authority and being passionate about it?
What's wrong with passion?
Would we rather have a citizenry that's laconic, disconnected, apathetic? Is that what we want?
That's not America.
Our founders were passionate people. They cared. And the movement that created this nation was neither quiet nor particularly well-behaved.
Look at some of the trailblazing figures of American history: Patrick Henry, Ethan Allen, John Brown, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susan B. Anthony, ElizabethCady Stanton, W. E. B DuBois, A Philip Randolph, Walter Reuther, Samuel Gompers, John L. Lewis, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Betty Friedan, BellaAbzug, Harvey Milk. These people were not particularly docile. They were vocal. They challenged authority. And they were often disruptive.
Even many of our leaders have been rambunctious: Andrew Jackson, William Jennings Bryan, Theodore Roosevelt, General Patton, General MacArthur, Barry Goldwater.
Harry Truman gave 'em hell and he became an American hero.
And Ronald Reagan was considered a dim-witted novice and a tool of special interests before he and his ideas began to catch on.
Yes, the anti-war movement, the environmental movement, the women's movement and the civil rights movement have all embraced passionate, vocal and sustained challenges to the powers that be.
I know; I marched in those civil rights and anti-war marches and I shouted down a few opponents myself. I was there at the Poor People's Campaign and the Days of Rage. It's called free speech. The First Amendment embraces it.
And at the other end of the spectrum, the modern conservative movement upset the sleepy, dispassionate, country-club mentality of the Republican Party to unleash a cause that led to the triumph of capitalism and the end of communism. That was ignited by free speech, too.
None of it was quiet.
All of it was noisy.
Much of it was disruptive.
The people, the system, the nation can handle it.
Let all be heard.
God bless America!

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