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.

In 1954, a politician named Dean Alfange published “An American Creed” in The Week magazine. Alfange was very liberal, but served in Republican and Democratic administrations and also worked for the American Labor Party and the Liberal Party.  The fact that 70 years ago, a man with whom the Tea Party Movement would find little in common with could write a creed so powerful tells us much about how far the left has moved from American values.
Here is his creed in its entirety:

“I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon. I seek to develop whatever talents God gave me—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any earthly master nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say – ‘This, with God’s help, I have done.’ All this is what it means to be an American.”

This Independence Day, let us renew our commitment to be uncommon.  Develop our talents.  Take risks.  Dream.  Build.  These are truly American traits that built this country.  These are traits that are uncommon, but which, as Americans, we are free to practice.  Enjoy the fireworks and the parades and the hamburgers, but, most of all, let’s hope that we can all re-commit to American values.  If we can do this, then we can fulfill the promises of July 4, 1776.

 

In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow
Worcester Tea Party

 

Women in Liberty

Last month marked the 8 year anniversary of the Tea Party movement (TPM).  One of the remarkable characteristics about the movement that has been largely overlooked is the role of women.   From its beginning, the Tea Party was largely a women-led movement.

Think back to the beginning of the Tea Party.   Who were the faces of the movement?  They were women.  Two of the three founders of the largest (and only remaining) national TPM organization are women  (Jenny Beth Martin and Amy Kremer of Tea Party Patriots). More importantly, hundreds of local Tea Parties were founded and led by women.  Our own organization would not have survived without the involvement of several hard working and dedicated women.

In popular political culture, conservative women are usually relegated to the background by a media that doesn’t want to admit women can be conservative.  High profile conservative women are treated like pariahs who have betrayed their gender.  This year’s Women’s Marches made it clear that conservative women were not welcome.  Half the women in the country were being told that their voices should not be heard.  This message was no surprise though.

Gender politics has devolved into a brutal and divisive battle.  One side insists on purity of thought.  On the other side, “family values” seems to dominate, yet dissenting opinions are still welcomed.  Today’s conservative women are often pro-choice and/or pro-LGBT rights.  Their voices may not be loudest, but they are allowed to have a voice.  The left does not allow for this kind of dissent.  To them, your gender voids your right to an opinion that does not fit their dogma.

The Tea Party movement inspired many talented women to run for office.  These candidates have had a large impact on many issues.  More importantly, they represent a pool of talent that will shift the balance of power from a political system dominated by men, to one equally shared.  Whether it was for School Committee, State Representative, Governor, or U.S. Congress, the Tea Party supported and inspired women have stepped up to claim the power that is rightfully theirs.  They deserve our support and our gratitude for all that they have done and continue to do for our communities and for our country, not because of the incidental fact that they are women, but because they are patriots.

​In Liberty,
Ken Mandile
Senior Fellow
Worcester Tea Party

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.

Our Deans are self starters with a commitment to our core principles of Individual Liberty, Limited Government and Fiscal Responsibility.  Deans pursue different projects with the understanding that the goals of our organization are fixed, but the methods that we attempt will change over time.  We have Deans focused on Twitter account, a Facebook page and we are pod-casting with Spreaker.  We also have a YouTube channel a Pinterest account and a WordPress website which are doing well but could be improved if volunteers were committed to them.  There are no limits to the opportunities for volunteers.  

The true strength of the Worcester Tea Party is our members.  It is our members that hold the signs at protests.  It is our members that ask questions of scurrilous politicians.  Our members provide t the donations that pay all the Worcester Tea Partys bills.  2016 has been a year where we have endured painful losses and enjoyed surprising victories.  Through 2016 many of our members have stepped into new roles and have advanced our organization.  It is our members that do all the hard work of citizenship that our group is famous for.  

With a new president in Washington, change is inevitable but our core mission will not change.  The core mission of the Worcester Tea Party is to educate voters about the importance of sound fiscal policy and limited government. This mission has not changed with the changing of an Administration in Washington.  Our faith in the principles of our nation’s founding and our commitment to the truth will not change.  2017 will surely present the Worcester Tea Party with new opportunities as well as new challenges.  I am confident that we will meet these challenges and take advantage of these opportunities as we’ve done for all the years that the Worcester Tea Party has existed in the beating red heart of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  May 2017 bless us with prosperity and peace and I hope to see you at our next Free Education Event

In Liberty,
Matt O’Brien
President
Worcester Tea Party

 

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

What Is the Worcester Tea Party ??

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The Worcester Tea Party is a response to the abuses of our government by a corrupted political class. In ways both large and small our government has not been used to serve the vast majority of the people of our nation. The vast wealth of our nation has been squandered with little lasting good to show for it. A few connected individuals have profited while most of us struggled to keep up. In too many cases the rich and powerful have evaded justice while injustice has been inflicted on the poor and powerless. Our reputation in the world has been pockmarked by their feckless policies. Our friends no longer feel they can trust us. Our enemies see us as a joke.

The Worcester Tea Party is our commitment to a government of the people, by the people, for the people. Self-selected special interests have thwarted the will of the American people and brought our nation to the brink of bankruptcy and decay. It is this corrupted political class that has failed. They have failed our founding ideals. They have failed all of us. We believe that all of our problems can be solved, and will be solved by the American people.

The Worcester Tea Party is a free education organization Political correctness is a tool used by the corrupted political class to control and silence their opponents. We are committed to having the freest and most open conversations about the challenges facing our nation. We believe that the future of our nation depends on us forging solutions out of ideas. We do not hold some secret solutions, but a proven method by which we can determine solutions. We believe in the right of people to think for themselves and make the choices they think are best.

The Worcester Tea Party is an opportunity for all those that wish to take it. All are welcome to attend, listen, present and debate. Because we believe it free exchange of ideas we believe there is nothing that cannot be tested. Controversial opinions will be voiced and debated and when appropriate rejected. There can be no barriers allowed to block our pursuit of the truth.

The Worcester Tea Party is our duty to our children and our parents. As Americans we stand on the shoulders of giants. Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, all have contributed to elevating us by helping forge ideas into institutions. Today we are the inheritors of their labor and inspiration. We do not shirk from our role in making our politics and our government work. Quite the contrary we jealously guard our duty to this great experiment. Our actions are informed by the knowledge that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.” We received these gifts from our parents, we will make our contributions, and as mortal beings we will pass these great gifts on to the next generation of Americans.

 

Principles

Principles

“Independence is my happiness,
and I view things as they are,
without regard to place or person;
my country is the world,
and my religion is to do good.”

Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man

 

When Thomas Paine wrote these words in 1791, he was writing in opposition to Edmund Burke’s defense of the aristocracy and the corrupt system that they had built for their own benefit.  In a previous 100 years, the taxes imposed by the English government had increased almost tenfold (from 1.8 million pounds to 17 million pounds). By comparison, the budget of the U.S. government has increased to 14 times the U.S. budget of 100 years ago (after adjusting for inflation).  Much like U.S. citizens of the 21st century, English citizens were oppressed by a government gone wild.  The aristocrats were shielded from the taxes and regulations that were causing much grief among the lower classes.

Paine pointed out how useless the aristocrats were:

“The aristocracy are not the farmers who work the land, and raise the produce, but are the mere consumers of the rent; and when compared with the active world are the drones, a seraglio of males, who neither collect the honey nor form the hive, but exist only for lazy enjoyment.”

 Paine believed that the national character of the English had changed over the previous century and that this was why they put up with the abuse:

“It would have been impossible to have dragooned the former English, into the excess of taxation that now exists; and when it is considered that the pay of the army, the navy, and of all the revenue officers, is the same now as it was about a hundred years ago, when the taxes were not above a tenth part of what they are at present, it appears impossible to account for the enormous increase and expenditure on any other ground, than extravagance, corruption, and intrigue.”
Like the English of the 18th century, has the national character of Americans changed such that we continue to believe the lies put forward by Progressives for the past 100 years? Dismally, it almost looks so.
Many freedom loving Americans are confounded by the 2016 Presidential campaign.  If the polls are to be believed, we are headed for one of most bizarre choices in the history of Presidential politics.  How did we get here?  It seems like far too many Americans have lost sight of some of the most fundamental aspects of liberty.  We are being driven by personalities and policies, but lack the rudder of principle.
Thomas Paine was a man of principle, who had suffered much by the end of his life because he refused to compromise those principles.
“To me, who have not only refused offers, because I thought them improper, but have declined rewards I might with reputation have accepted, it is no wonder that meanness and imposition appear disgustful.”   
Some of the choices offered to us for President this year seem to be lacking principle altogether.  Can we survive?  Yes!  What is important is that the citizenry adhere to principles based on limited government, a free market, and individual rights.  These are the principles that the Tea Party movement sprouted from.
Do not worship those who fail to acknowledge the most basic principles of liberty, of the free market, and of our natural rights.  What is the most important characteristic that you are looking for in our next President?  Is it only that they beat the other team?  Is it that they are the least offensive?  Or, is it that your choice has the resolve to defend liberty?
As an organization, the Worcester Tea Party does not endorse candidates, but we do ask that you consider their belief in our principles.  Are they for limited government, Constitutional rights, and a free market?  It’s a tall order, but you should not settle for less.