“Facts are stubborn things”

“Facts are stubborn things;
and whatever may be our wishes,
our inclinations, or
the dictates of our passions,
they cannot alter the
state of facts and evidence”

John Adams 1770 Trial for the British soldiers
involved in the Boston Massacre.

The election of Donald Trump as president has had a terrifying effect on many of our fellow Americans.  One has to look no further than the plans that are being made to have a Protest Scream on Boston Common on the anniversary of Trump’s election and this summer 40,000 of our fellow citizens marched in a “Stand Up to Nazis” event, of course no Nazis were there.

This is the state of politics in our Republic in 2017.  The politics of self-destruction and negative campaigns that have gone on for decades, seeming only to get more vicious and more personal as well as less issue-oriented and less principled every day.  This has turned off a solid majority of Americans from being involved in politics and their government.  Those that are involved are blinded by partisan zeal.  They seem more interested in scoring political points than in effectively crafting policy that serves our Republic.

Such facts could make one cynical about the future of our Republic.  Happily there are other facts that can’t be ignored, hidden or forgotten.

America is built on big dreams, small dreams, and impossible dreams.  Those dreams became facts.  America is the place that people from all over the world come to dream big.  Without dreams not only America, but most of modern society would be impossible.  Without dreams there’d be no airplanes, no satellites, no cell phones, no computers, no movies, no music; what a blighted world this would be if we allowed our dreams to be overcome by our cynicism.

The WTP is made of equal parts dream and cynicism.  We believe that our current political leaders have lost faith with the Dream that America is founded on.  And we still believe in that Dream.  All that we do together is to turn that Dream in to a fact.  The work of the WTP is by necessity profoundly hopeful.

That is not to say that our work is easy.

I am confident that working together we will face all the challenges and overcome every obstacle.  But this cannot happen without you.  The WTP needs you to volunteer your time.  The WTP depends on your donations to support our effort.  Follow the PayPal link and give what you can.

Thank you for all you do in the cause of Liberty.

​In Liberty,
Matt O’Brien
President
Worcester Tea Party

No right to absolute arbitrary power!

In the fall of 1772, Massachusetts House of Representatives member Samuel Adams began to stir up some trouble in Boston.  The legislature had traditionally paid the salaries of the Governor and of judges, but the British decided that they would pay these officials directly.  This removed an important check on power, diminishing the power of the colony’s elected representatives.  Adams had had enough of dirty British political tricks.  It was time for action.

In November, he formed the Committees of Correspondence, effectively forming a shadow government that was not accountable to the crown.  Adams’ document forming the Committees of Correspondence consisted of three parts:

“First, a State of the Rights of the Colonists and of this Province in particular–

Secondly, A List of the Infringements, and Violations of those Rights.–

Thirdly, A Letter of Correspondence with the other Towns.-“

In many ways, it was a precursor to the Declaration of Independence that would follow less than four years later.   Samuel Adams’ declaration of rights goes further than our other founding documents.  He felt that no citizen could voluntarily cede their rights.  These were gifts from God.:

“If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce and give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the great end of society, would absolutely vacate such renunciation; the right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave.”

Can we look at today’s federal government and believe anything less than that we have alienated this gift?  While we fight over football players and statues and fake news, others fight to cede their gifts (and ours) to a bloated power in Washington.

Eight years ago this month, tens of thousands of Tea Partiers marched on Washington in the 912 March, demanding an end to the bloat.  Looking back, it seems that much of our effort was futile.  We can look at Washington today and we see little effective effort in Congress to deflate the bubble of bureaucracy.  Yet, many of us still fight on.  The fight is a lot more lonely today, but no less important.  Are we going to cede the gift of liberty through inaction and apathy?   We may not gather again in enormous crowds, but we can fight on alone, in our neighborhoods, and in our towns.  This was where Sam Adams brought the battle.  And, it is there that he helped spark the brush fires of liberty that we celebrate today.

 

​In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow
Worcester Tea Party

All this is what it means to be an American.

Independence Day offers us reason to celebrate and to reflect what it means to be free.  Looking to the revolutionary times of the late 18th century, we see a society where, for the first time in human history, the “common man” came to seize power from his aristocratic oppressors.  Today though, we should be looking beyond the “common man”.  We should all be uncommon.

Read more

The rightful masters of both Congress and the courts

Eight years ago, the Tea Party movement began, supposedly sparked by a ranting CNBC reporter.  Unlike the protests that occurred this month around the inauguration of Donald Trump, those rallies began more than a month into President Obama’s term.  It took until September before the first large rally occupied Washington, D.C.

Times have changed though, and power has shifted.  For many, hopes are flying high.  For others, fear grips them.  I have a hard time understanding those who are frozen by fear of the Trump Presidency, but I do not doubt that their fear is real.  The marches against Trump were planned well before he held any power, yet organizers were able to mobilize millions of protesters across the country.  As a veteran of the Tea Party movement, I say “kudos” to them.  They are doing what Americans should do when they peaceably to assemble, and  petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I think that one thing that has created fear on the left is the decimation that they have suffered at the polls over the past eight years.  They thought that they would be the rightful masters of Congress and the courts indefinitely.  They are not.  The incredible shift from an electorate that elected the most leftist President in our history, to one who promises to undo that President’s legacy, is something for the history books.  The left does have reason to fear a Trump Presidency, not because he is an evil man, but because after 8 years of perverting the Constitution, things are going to change.

I have my doubts about President Trump’s concern for the Constitution.  He never mentions it.  Some of his ideas seem contrary to the limits of the Constitution.  Until the power of the Presidency is rightfully diminished, we’ll have to cling to the hope that he is serious about shrinking the power of Washington, D.C.  He’s gone outside the box in his cabinet appointments.  The coastal elites are apoplectic about some of these appointments, but their fossilized idea of government has been rejected by the American voters.  This is the biggest hope for the Trump Presidency, that it is a transformational era, where new ideas are allowed to flourish, while the stagnant failed model of the New Deal, Progressivism, and “wars” on everything are once and for all declared dead.

We will forever have leaders who seek to pervert the Constitution.  Regardless of who is living in the White House, vigilance is a virtue always required of the patriot.  The task of the Tea Party is no lighter than when Barack Obama was President.  When we started this movement, I said that this is a decades long task.  Our problem is not with the leaders who pervert the Constitution, but with the voters who elect them.  These are the minds that we must win over.  This is your task.  Instead of badmouthing the left, we should talk about the power of the model that our founders gifted to us.  By creating more lovers of the Constitution, we can ensure that the road to real liberty is always open.

In Liberty,

Ken Mandile

Senior Fellow

Worcester Tea Party

It is less about Resolutions, and more about being Resolute in 2017

Welcome to Harvard everybody!!After the election, I spoke with a person from the other side of the aisle who asked what I would be doing now that the Tea Party’s mission was over.  He was under the impression, probably gathered from fake news stories, that the Tea Party’s mission was just to oppose Barack Obama.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  

The Tea Party Movement is a grass roots response to the corruption, and incompetence, we have seen at every level of government.  The Worcester Tea Party is an incorporated non-profit dedicated to education focusing on economics and politics.  As an educational organization, those that accepted a leadership roles are given the title of Deans.  The treasurer of our organization is our Bursar.  Previous leaders of our organization that have retired from most active duties are Senior Fellows.  The guidance and counsel of our Senior Fellows is very important to our organization.  I have the honor of being the President of the Worcester Tea Party.  The President is the spokes person and evangelist for the group and I help out in any other way I can.

Read more

Just Voting is Not Enough

As a Cub Scout Den Leader and Boy Scout Merit Badge Counselor I’ve taught young people that voting is a right and a duty.  Citizenship and age determine our right to vote.  This right differs from other rights though, in that it also demands duty.  Like jury duty, if enough people refuse to participate, the system fails.  It is a necessary component in the functioning of all democracies and, in particular,  our democratic republic.  We are taught from a young age that good citizens vote, but does voting make you a good citizen?

I can make a good case for not voting (“Even voting for the right is doing nothing for it.”), but there’s a larger message in Thoreau’s words, a call to action: “A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority.”  He is saying that voting alone is not enough.  It never has been, never will be, never can be.

“There is but little virtue in the action of masses of men.”  Leaving to chance that your principles will be represented by any person other than yourself is an absurd notion.  Even if your candidate were guaranteed to win, you often don’t even have a candidate to choose from that represents your side on many issues.

It’s very likely that your ideas will lose, so why would you just vote and not take another positive action to defend your political beliefs for another four years?  No, voting is hardly even the minimum requirement for good citizenship.  A good citizen must get up on Wednesday, November 9 and continue to be involved in the politics of their community.

What does it mean to be a good citizen, to be involved in the politics of the community?  There’s no one universal answer for all people.  For some, it means educating young people, either their own or others.  It could mean participating in your neighborhood, your church, your school.  It could be getting up and running for office or serving on a local board.  It could mean being a great mom or dad.  It could mean getting involved with the Worcester Tea Party and our efforts to educate citizens.  We remain committed to promoting the ideals of the Tea Party movement, limited government, free markets, and fiscal responsibility. We can always use more help.

Are any of these alone enough to make you a “good citizen”?

Probably not. Thoreau called for civil disobedience, advocating that people must do what they feel is morally correct, even if it violates the law.  He went to jail because he would not pay taxes that supported the Mexican War.  Do any of us have the courage to go to jail for our beliefs?  There are a few who do, but most of us struggle to find other ways to be good citizens.  The point of his essay was that voting must not lead to complacency.  We need to act.

Many of us are probably fatigued from the stress and emotion of the Presidential campaign.  Perhaps you’ll want to rest on November 9th, but when you are ready, choose your weapon and your battle.  Get back out there and do the work of good citizens.

Vote, then act!
In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow
Worcester Tea Party
Moses-Our Original Founding Father

Moses-Our Original Founding Father

This year, the Jewish Passover falls at the end of April (4/20-4/30).  Passover traditionally begins with a Seder, a ritual meal full of symbolism and the retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This is the story told in The Book of Exodus in the Hebrew Bible (what many Christians refer to as the Old Testament).

mosesSince the original story of Exodus, the same story has been lived out many times, by many people, in many lands. People seeking freedom from tyranny have suffered hardship and death over and over again, even to this day. Just like the Israelites of 3,000 years ago, refugees from the war scarred 20th century sought liberation. Today, we see the suffering of Iraqis and Syrians fleeing ISIS and Assad. We see refugees from war and terrorism seeking a better future for their families. Three thousand years after Moses, the thirst for freedom and safety remains unquenched

Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams proposed that Moses be on the Seal of the United States.  They considered him to be our real Founding Father. A quote from Moses appears on the Liberty Bell. The Pilgrims considered their story to be similar to the story in Exodus. Harriet Tubman, who just this month was chosen to appear on the $20 bill, was called “The Moses of Her People”.

Many of the “plagues” of today are easy to show on the evening news. It’s very graphic and heart breaking to see women and children driven from their homes. There are other plagues which are not so easy to visualize. For these plagues, we don’t see blood being spilled or bombs dropping or children being beheaded. They are no less of a threat to freedom. These plagues are propagated in legislatures and voting booths; in campaign headquarters and courtrooms; in newsrooms and college lecture halls. These are the places from which come the threats to freedom in much of the world.

Perhaps we could wish for boils and frogs and locusts to descend on Washington, D.C. to convince our modern day tyrants to set us free, but I’m afraid that part of the Exodus story won’t be repeated. Moses isn’t coming to help us this time. There is no Moses running for President this year, although Bernie Sanders may have been around for the Exodus.

The Jewish tradition of retelling the story of their liberation from slavery gives them an opportunity to give thanks for their liberation and to remember their suffering. We all should remember the bitterness of oppression and seek to eliminate it. It may take another 3,000 years, but it is our responsibility to carry on the legacy of those who worked for liberty before us and for those who will follow us.

Jews conclude the Seder with a hope for their Messiah “L’shanah haba’ah b’Yerushalayim hab’nuyah!”- “Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem!” It’s in recognition of an imperfect world, but a world in which next year may bring them closer to spiritual perfection. We do live in an imperfect world, yet this is the best time in the history of mankind to be alive. With your help, I know that the future will be better and freer. We don’t need Moses to continue the struggle for freedom that has been fought through the millennia. That struggle has been left to us.

 

We Drive on, Changed, but not Deterred

Seven years ago this month, the Tea Party Movement made history.  We became the most successful grassroots political movement in modern history.  Sparked by a rant, inspired by the Constitution, fueled by our frustration with an out of control government, and determined to act, we came together on April 15, 2009, and we are still making history!  I recently looked back at the text of the speech that I gave on that day.  Much of what I said remains true today.

“Perhaps we should have stood up many years ago, before our government became so bloated, corrupt, arrogant and greedy, but it is not too late to slay the monster that we’ve fed for too many years.
Think about what our country’s founders did. They fought the most powerful nation on Earth and defeated them. Today, we commit ourselves to defeating the monster in Washington.”

Our commitment has not diminished.  It has morphed from anger and confusion into action.  Millions of Americans who were completely disengaged from the political process have volunteered to help candidates, canvassed for petition signatures or even run for office.  Before April 15, 2009, many of us had never met an elected official beyond our local town board.  Now, we know a broad spectrum of politicians and potential candidates.  We have been educated in the Constitution.  We know the issues. We’ve learned a lot of history.  We’ve been inspired by resurrecting the words of Adams, Jefferson, and Madison, and words from people many of us didn’t know before; Bastiat, Hayek, and Rand. We created networks of patriots.  We have become the citizens we always should have been.

We gathered over 2,000 people in Lincoln Square, sent hundreds of people to rally in Washington, D.C., and made thousands of phone calls.  We’ve had wins and we’ve had losses.  The Worcester Tea Party has been mentioned in books about the Tea Party Movement and in Time Magazine.  We were even featured in a BBC America comedy reality show.

So, after 7 years, where are we?  It seems like we’ve made little progress, but the mobilization of millions of Americans is progress.  We are fighting a Leviathan, the likes of which has never existed in the history of civilization.  Despite the enormity of our task, we drive on, changed, but not deterred.   A quote that describes our motivation is one that has become one of my favorites, and one that we’ve heard many times over the past seven years.  Ironically, it comes from one of the Republican Party’s most notorious Progressives, Theodore Roosevelt.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Citizenship in a Republic, April 23, 1910 Teddy Roosevelt 

Some of us may have had our faces marred by sweat and dust (thankfully no blood, yet), but we strive on, knowing that the cause of liberty is a just cause.  Though it remains out of reach today, we stay in the arena because our success would be a “triumph of high achievement”.

Happy Anniversary to the Tea Party Movement!  Congratulations for surviving the brickbats from the left and the establishment!  Kudos for standing up to the IRS!  High fives for defending our Constitution!

It’s hard to say for certain how far we’ve advanced, but we can be certain that our republic would be in much more dire condition if we had not jumped into the arena.  In closing, I’d like to remind you of our mission and thank you for being part of this grand task.

The Worcester Tea Party was formed in response to the never ended intrusion of government into the personal lives of all individuals. Our membership includes people from all walks of life. Our members are united by their support for:

  • The return to our founding principles of individual responsibility and limited government.
  • Sound fiscal policy from Washington, Beacon Hill, and City Hall.
  • The reduction of the tax and regulatory burden heaped on businesses, communities and families here in the Commonwealth and across the country.
  • Transparency as the means to hold our leadership accountable for their complete disregard for American principles.

The Worcester Tea Party seeks to accomplish these objectives through recruiting, educating, organizing, and mobilizing the citizens of greater Worcester County.

In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow
Worcester Tea Party